An Hour of One’s Own

Forget about A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf, I simply need an hour of my own. Truly, my brain could exhale all of the thoughts swirling around and I could sort them so much better if I had uninterrupted time.

Reading A Room of One’s Own shaped my feelings about writing. Although I knew, even in fourth grade when I attempted my first “chapter” that fiction wasn’t my jam, Ms. Woolf helped frame my need for creative space. And that, as a woman.

roomofown_write31days_missindeedy

As I’ve gotten older, it’s not money I need to be able to write, though. It’s time.

And not only time, but then, I need to be able to explain myself correctly. That can be difficult to do. Especially when I’m carving words out of my soul space. It takes an hour (or eleventy-hundred) of solitude to do justice to the feelings that are attempting to worm their way into words.

Woolf knew that truth finds its way into words (written or spoken) too. And she knew the power of it, as she shares here:

“Be truthful, one would say, and the result is bound to be amazingly interesting.”

In a world where so many are vying for room on the grand platform of social media, being truthful isn’t always exciting. Or newsworthy. Or sensational.

But, Woolf was able to see beyond the illusion of it all. Even back in 1929.

“Why, if it was an illusion, not praise the catastrophe, whatever it was, that destroyed illusion and put truth in its place?”

Heeding the call to write, no matter the subject, is easier to do after reading A Room of One’s Own. And, while I don’t claim all of the things that Virginia Woolf espouses in this book, it was an incredible encouragement to this woman to just write.

Even if only for an hour.

Yes indeedy.

To see other posts in the Best Books Ever series I’m writing for the Write 31 Days Challenge, click the button below. 

missindeedybooks31days2016

 

A Whale of a Tale

If you’ve read around here for any length of time, surely you guessed I’d be touching on the next book? Moby Dick, by Herman Melville is still one of my all-time favorite stories. We call my dad “Ahab” for a reason, you know. 

mobydick_write31days_missindeedy

Plumbing the depths- whether of the ocean, a whale, or the human psyche – is what this story was all about, for me. I can’t remember if I devoured this book in high school or college, but it had me hook, line, and sinker! And that opening line is iconic, “Call me Ishmael…” (Although, that line doesn’t come until after the first two “Introductory” chapters.)

The character names were fascinating. Upon moving to New England after college, I began learning the backstory on some of Melville’s name choices. The name of the boat, Pequod, for example, became a sad revelation to me.

This book also confirmed, in my mind, that there are limits to human knowledge. You can only see so far into the ocean. You can only understand what you can see and hear about a person, but never really the whole of their heart.

And then, we only know what we think we do.

One of my favorite quotes, though, is this:

“See how elastic our prejudices grow when once love comes to bend them.”

Indeed.

Having to share a room at an inn with a stranger, a foreign-stranger with tattoos every which way, no less, Ishmael’s initial prejudice towards Queequeg changes as he comes to know this loyal and generous man. Let’s just forget that he was a former cannibal, kay?

I live, though, as if I were second mate, Stubb, who said:

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”

That reminds me of a Proverb in the Bible:

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

May it ever be true of me!

As I neared the end of Moby Dick and Ahab’s pending death became obvious, I felt compassion for him. I identified with this man’s willingness to throw everything he was into what he deemed important. Unfortunately, that included the crew aboard his boat.

I know how that goes.

Crusty captain seeks vengeance on ever elusive white whale to the detriment of all that go with him.

Oh Ahab

He did as humans do: we make mistakes.

And we pick up the pieces as we move along from them.

Sometimes, in the form of others.

Yes indeedy.

I can honestly say I didn’t think I’d have all that much to say about each of these books. I’m going funny tomorrow. Click here to check out the Write 31 Days Challenge. Click the button below to see all of the posts in my Best Books Ever series.

missindeedybooks31days2016

I’d Edit Chapter Fourteen

If the years of a life were chapters, I’d edit chapter fourteen.

A bunch.

Anyone else?

The hair description, alone, could use major tweaking. I’d retract the braces.  Relationships would need some serious cleaning up. Social status could definitely use some embellishing, too. Angst and awkward would be prominent characters, throughout.

I think I covered some of that back here on day One.

“You think too much,” I heard on more than a hundred occasions. Followed most closely by, “You read too much.”  Both of these statements were directed at me by family, friends, and frenemies (although, we didn’t know to call them that, back in the day).

It wore my spirit down.

Ahab would tell me they were just jealous. That they didn’t have the strength of character to march to the beat of their own drum. And Lord knows that if I didn’t hear “She marches to the beat of her own drum,” at least once a week, then I’ve completely misremembered some of my most painful growing up experiences!

He did his best to soften the amount of awkward that I felt. But, at that tender age, negative words seemed to carry triple the weight that any encouraging ones did.

I can look back now, and see many instances where the ones complaining about my over-thinking or excessive reading were feeling just as lost as I was. Grace does that. It both softens the lens of reflection and provides an overlay of compassion for the very ones who caused some of my angst.

What grace also allows me to see, looking back, is that there were glittering truths about who I was created to be all around me. Some, even in the ugliness I felt like I wallowed in.

I can pick out entire paragraphs in that chapter that held expectancy and treasure. They are paragraphs that you couldn’t pay me enough Devil Dogs to edit out, now!

But, instead of parking my mind in the past, I’m skipping ahead to chapter forty-something. I’m taking a good look at the characters around me and focusing in on how I can contribute to their character development. Where can I liberally apply some of the patience, gentleness, and kindness that I desperately needed decades ago?

Grace is like an eraser. It softens the hard edges of a story angle and smudges the darkest spots.

Even better, it allows for rewrites in our hearts.

Oh, how it does!

Actually, I wouldn’t need to edit chapter fourteen all that much. Grace has already done that for me.

31days_of_grace_button_missindeedy

This post is day 14 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

They Will Come

When I look for the best ones needed for a situation, they will come.  Often, though, after far too much time has passed to use them to any effect.

If I attempt solitude, I can assure you that they will come, and fast and furious.

The right ones will come at the wrong time. And the wrong ones…

Too often.

They hover, menacingly, when I most need to swallow them down.

They scatter and float just out of reach, when I most need to push them out.

And sometimes, I it’s a grace to write them down in honor of the thoughts behind them.

But always, always, I can count on my words to speak for themselves.

When they are good and ready.

I’m linking up with my brave Writer friends for Five Minute Friday over at Lisa-Jo Baker‘s online home. We commit to getting those words out for five minutes, unedited. Click the button below to join in or to read along.

5-minute-friday-1

The One Where I Write

for five minutes.  Uninterrupted and without editing.  And then, I join in with so many others over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s place to share and read and say, “Me too!”. Join us?  Click the button below to do just that.

5-minute-friday-1

Write

Go…

Without fear of perfection, I am allowing myself to dig into what’s percolating in this brain of mine today.  I consciously choose to shoosh those little demons of despair and tell them Who’s Boss.  (And it’s not me!)

I live in a fast paced world that is on the constant prowl for the next snippet of Interesting to consume.  It seems like too much, too much, too much.  Maybe if I allowed myself the peace that comes with being still, I could discern between which of those snippets to really dig into.

The one about ditching the devil dogs in favor of more exercise. (The yoga pants have been talking to me again!)

The little tidbit about Perfectionism and how it taints even the good things that are emerging from my soul-deep places? (Those demons of despair – they can be so loud!)

How about the friend that longs to connect and leaves phone messages and texts and encouragements but doesn’t have a life in the same time and space as mine; and so, doesn’t ever seem to make it to the top of my priorities.

And the guilt.

All The Guilt. It sets in and I realize that what I really long to write about is weeding through the mess to the still.

And that’s how I end up drinking a cup of salted caramel coffee and enjoying a luscious gooey chocolate croissant.  It’s in the moment, right here, that I find the stillness. Other than the chewing and sipping sounds my mouth makes, I hear nothing. And I end up writing about just that.

Nothing.

And everything.

Right here.

cup_of_coffee_missindeedy