I start by humming, midrange. There isn’t as much friction in my throat if I keep my lips parted as I was taught. But the point of hitting these notes isn’t for an audience, it’s to reduce the strangled feeling in the muscles of my neck. It always helps because I distract myself with the rather tricky melody and the frequency of the hum feels like healing fingers on all the is awry. Each tim, I start the pitch a little lower until I feel like a purring cat.
This is dipping my hands into toffee and watching as the sticky but welcome substance pulls away, staying with me. It’s crystalline chocolate that tastes great while flowing through me without stopping.
It’s the sensation of finally finding the note.
Here’s a little bit from the mind of a character I might want to develop.
Maybe it was time, she thought with a wince of irony, to settle into her identity. Twenty years ago, she’d seen herself as fit for only a life of forced leisure, perhaps as the wife of some rich man who would never expect her to get her hands dirty with the stuff of working, wages, schedules. She’d had immense help viewing herself in this way. If it had been her own idea, the intoxicatingly luring taste of real life wouldn’t have been so attractive, whispering its promises in her ear. Sudden discovery of her capability wouldn’t have filled her mind with dreams of being a real person one day. She wouldn’t have met with advisors to plot her course or figure out how to bring her desires to life. The flow of new words blossoming from her tongue would have been bitter, not sweet, but they were truly too good to forsake.
But here she was in the present, seeing that everything except the sugar daddy existed. There was simply nothing to talk about — no conversation– no words to share with the everyday people whom she ran across on rare occasions. It hurt deeply to know that she had nothing to contribute or tell anyone. At best, they tolerated her situation. At worst, they treated her as if she had come from an alien planet.
So bring on the watercolors, the music lessons, the multiple languages. These things would have made her happy in the context of a full life. But her identity was of an empty shell, the country club wife without a husband and no more profound or meaningful thoughts than the selecting a new body wash or how to procure the next great fashion. She never made the adjustment but the adjustment had certainly defined her. She had not made her bed but she had little choice but to lie in it. Maybe if she stopped resisting the changes, it could somehow build a better frame than the empty calorie emotions of nothingness.
A long time ago, I felt that I had to participate in every writing marathon that existed to prove I “really was a writer.” I suppose I’m not really any closer to answering that question than I was in 2005 but I started toying with the idea of sitting this one out when I opened my word pricessor app and saw the long, overwhelming pile of unfinished manuscripts alongside finished manuscripts in dire need of editing before I could ever dream of doing anything productive or public with any of them. I asked a writer friend if it would be too weird for me to skip this year, even perhaps extending the no marathon time until JuNoWriMo 2017 if I haven’t cleaned up my mess by then. (Even if my mess is still looming by JuNo, I’ll do June anyway because thus particular marathon has my heart and I’ll always do it, just because it’s that special…) Because she’s sensible and efficient, the kind of person who wisely manages her time and uses common sense where many of us (and by us, I’m referring to myself) do not. After our conversation, I felt a lot clearer and determined regarding my decision. I will dedicate the time that I would normally use to create just one more unfinished project that will languish in my word processor to finishing and editing the pieces I have already started. I’m definitely cheering for everyone who does undertake the challenge, though. It is a beautiful, frustrating and transformative month. Once you start, you will amaze yourself and never be the same kind of writer. Best wishes to all!
It’s corrosive, this feeling that penetrates to the deepest parts of who I am. Having almost everything ripped away from me has left my feet nowhere to rest, my soul no calm haven in which to allow itself to feel restored. But restoration, those drops of heavenly dew that might alight upon me if only I am still, if only I am patient enough to give the ragged pieces permission to heal, can be freely received into my waiting palm. Only then do I realize the gentle, tender, warm rain is already falling. The landscape before me is as brightly colored as it is in my memories; I had merely forgotten and imagined a black and white arid land, without comfort, compassion or freedom.
Today I choose to be free.
Today I choose infinite love.
Today I choose restoration.
The trees are swaying in the breeze and I try to stand steadily in the gale, but the only thing holding my attention is the hand that I hold. It’s an odd combination of sunshine and gusts. He is perfection and the sun appears to emanate from his eyes. Looking up, I’m not entirely convinced that I’m imagining it. The clouds of the past are gone and I know that it’s time to start thinking about all that is to come. Without words spoken, I understand how safe and loved I am in this moment and it propels me into forever. Anything is possible and I mean that in the best of ways. Someone used to say that to me in a menacing tone, but those memories are as over as the cloudy skies. Anything means everything good, edifying and life-giving.
I’m currently between projects but a little horrified at how long it’s taken me to post an update here. I’m so sorry for my lack of writing discipline.
Being part of the JuNoWriMo crew was everything I hoped it would be and more. I plan on helping on the crew every year. This time I worked on social media for the Twitter account, which basically meant promoting the project and finding new writers to join us. It was so much fun because I love meeting new writers and watching them experience the beautiful camaraderie that is JuNoWriMo. Being in a group with other creative people as we journey through our thirty days of writing madness is unlike anything else. I was rather disappointed when the month was over!
I would like to start a new project to keep things from going stagnant from now till NaNo in November but haven’t decided on anything specific. My summer projects were all smaller works blended together, so this might make a better platform than what I’ve done in previous years.
How have you spent your summer?
I started my summer writing journey in June with the fabulous JuNoWriMo and introduced my character, Corinna, to the world of Juno. It was so much fun to explore seemingly disjointed dream stories, much like I post here, within a broader arc. Corinna is a character who is genetically different from her peers, a fact which causes much misery in her life and carries nearly fatal consequences. But once she receives a visit from one of her DNA donors across nearly a century, things begin to change as Corinna’s dreams have healing power both for her and for those whom she meets in her nightly adventures.
For July CampNaNoWriMo, I’ve decided to extend Corinna’s story through the eyes of one of her newfound friends, a young woman named Charlotte. Like Corinna, Charlotte is also different and is hiding her true identity from everyone except Corinna. What is meant to be a fun weekend turns more than challenging as a third person who shares Charlotte and Corinna’s differences, a young child with a gift for writing, shows up on Charlotte’s doorstep, having run away from home. What follows is what keeps me writing about these characters every day!
I think my characters are all looking for a sense of home, belonging and family. All three of them have lacked each of these things in the traditional way but try to find it with each other. The July project has a different kind of energy than the June introduction because Corinna was battling life and death and finding the meaning in an existence which most people had told her was futile. This month, she’s empowered and ready to allow others to benefit from her journey even more than was possible in the first installment.