Saturday, February 2, 2008

I got tagged by Tamie

The tag is to: Write three writing tips and award three other bloggers...

Three Writing Tips
1. Read [I know this was one of your tips, but it really is the best tip of all for those who art is born in a vacuum, and engaging with other art is the best way to inspire your own creativity, and push your comfortable bits in experimental directions].
2. Watch people and keep a record of interesting bits in a journal you always keep with you...for example, that woman who always leans into your personal space at the counter of the coffee shop you like to go to, waiting for her turn to order...or the mom with fire engine red hair and sparkly knee socks you saw wiping her kid's nose at the playground...or the homeless woman who asked you for change to buy breakfast, and her eyes stuck in your mind because they were such a light blue as to be almost pale enough to blend in with the sclera...(these were all real people that I saw TODAY, and noted to myself). You never know when a note or a description or a colour may blossom into a character walking around on a page.
3. Write when you want to. Some people structure their creative lives, doing writing exercises or drawing exercises for so many hours in a day, and I have a great deal of respect for this. But it doesn't sound fun. You only live once: why beat the fun out of your favourite activities by doing them when it is NOT enjoyable? Of course, some days we are busy and can't write when we want to. In this case, that journal that goes everywhere with you comes in handy: bullet points, or a sentence or two, can usually be dashed down no matter what we're doing.
4. (I decided I must do four, since my #1 tip was one that Tamie also recommended) See your creativity as a journey, and not a manifestation of arrival. In a journey, there is more room for grace, growth, self revelation, honesty, mistakes, and true joy. We all look back at our 'early work' and kind of feel squiggly and sheepish, but why? What are we so afraid our early work will reveal? That we journey, too? That we weren't enough of a prodigy to publish a book at 18? Who are we impressing, anyways? In a journey, we don't have to be geniuses. Just honest.

I tag: Sara, Rob, Dragonfly.

Tamie also suggested asking a question and leaving it open for everyone to engage with...hmmm...pondering...Okay, I have a question. What is the thing you are most grateful to have received from your parents? This can be something tangible, or a life lesson, or anything: something you found essential to your positive well being, or personal wholeness, and are glad that they got right.
(I WILL be adding these to my personal arsenal as a parent, just so you know)

In other news, Brent did his first night shift last night. He came home smiling! He slept much of the day, but when he woke up he told me with excitement about the various things he did and saw during his first night shift. The weird people always come out at night (I know this from my job: they sleep in the day and lurk at night, rustling up all manner of weirdishness). He told me some of the 'excuses' people came up with for being in various suspicious circumstances, and people don't lie very well. So funny. "Um, yeah, I drove down here amongst these abandoned warehouses surrounded by fields at 2 o'clock in the morning in order to visit my friend who lives down here."
C'mon, people. Couldn't you do better than that?
I didn't sleep well. I couldn't relax without all my family members safe under my roof and presumably under my protection, though how I'm going to protect Brent from things that go bump in the night, I don't know. Partly it was sending my heart out into the line of fire, catching the bad guys and carrying a weapon. Yeesh. I've got a lot more night shifts to go. I've got to get used to this! At the end of the day I'm glad he came home with a smile on his face and sparkle in his eyes. I'm happy he's happy. It's good to see.

It's so funny how kids interpret our idioms. Ayden has been asking me frequently lately to define the idioms he hears. "What does "You're talking my ear off" mean, mommy? What's a chatterbox? Why am I a chatterbox?" I told him a chatterbox is a very nice person who people really like, and who likes to use a lot of words when they talk. ;-p Trying to soften the blow! I envisioned him imagining my ear falling off the side of my head.
He has recently taken up the "ants in your pants" idiom and believes it so literally that he's taking to stripping off his clothes in the sincere belief that there are ants inside. "Mommy, today at freeschool I had ants in my pants." Deadpan. Dead serious. How is one's mother supposed to listen to this and not howl? (and I WISH preschool was free, believe me).

Matthew has another ear infection. Poor kid. Luckily he loves his antibiotics. Wednesday when we went to the doctor to have her check his ears, he gave her a big hug as she left. He's the sweetest, most wonderful, affectionate, cheerful, lovable kid I've seen. Everywhere I go people tell me how cute he is. He really is. Of course, he pushes my buttons. Children do. He has the "I'm a wimp" routine down to a science. And definitely the "My mother is requiring me to eat POISON when all I want is a second helping of GRAPES, how does one LIVE when one's mother is feeding one POISON instead of GRAPES, I think I will chew my one bite of peanut butter sandwich for SEVEN MINUTES in a passive aggressive attempt to get myself closer to the GRAPES" routine. He could have a PhD in that one. I really do deal better with open defiance than with wimpishness, but one deals with the cards (or children) one is dealt. Today at the mall he charmed everyone by singing while eating an ice cream cone. He's not the world's best multi tasker, but he managed (this time) not to drop his ice cream on the floor. He really is sweet, swinging back and forth making up his own music to eat ice cream to.

#3 is still making me sick. But, incidentally, not fat. After that first three pounds I complained about at Christmas, I haven't gained any more weight. Whew! I gained too much last time, that's why I'm so worried. I know, pregnant women are supposed to gain weight. I know, Twiggy is not the goal. But moderate instead of extreme weight gain is what I'm after this time. Thank you #3, for not making me fat. Hopefully soon you'll let me get by without getting sick, too. I can't wait to meet you.

My cat is still fat.

I am not.



Sara said...

I am, gratefully, thankful for many things tangible and non that my mother passed on to me. Most significantly, reading. My mother shames me with her constant quest for knowledge and her incessant reading. My list pales in comparison. But I am also incredibly grateful that my mother taught me to be a good mother. She taught me the importance of respecting children and how no matter what you think you know, learning more about children and parenting will ALWAYS make you a better parent. I never think that I've got this mom thing done pat, I'm always learning new things.

tamie said...

awesome post, mel. thanks for posting your tips! i think that i will answer your question over on my blog, but i'll answer it here too.

i am most grateful to my mom for the deep and authentic faith she passed down to me. i think that my mom, more than anyone, taught me that faith and spirituality are the most important things.

i am most grateful to my dad for the way that he gave me an equal education in both matters of the mind, and matters of the body. under his teaching and example, i learned both how to work really hard physically, and how to engage really deeply and thoughtfully and intentionally with my mind. i love that i know how to do *both*, and i'm really thankful to my dad for this.

Ms. Dragonfly said...

I'm home... and the worst of the jet lag is behind us (I pray).
I see you tagged me... ok if I put it off for a bit? I need to think (you said the good ones), and I need to recoop still.
Might see you at school as early as tomorrow though....
Glad the world sounds bright in your corner of the world though...

Jenna said...

I love your paragraph about Matthew! Thankyou for making me laugh. Ayden is pretty funny too.
I still have your sweater. Maybe we could arrange a playplace morning.