Thursday, November 29, 2012

"I hate myself for saying this, but it felt sad, not having a special man in my life."

(Carrie Bradshaw, "The Agony and the 'Ex'-tasy")

Yesterday, on my 41st birthday, with no special plans, I had a feeling that the day would end with me watching that episode. You know, the one where Carrie calls Big at the stroke of midnight and says "I just wanted to call someone" And she invites him to her "fabulous lite" birthday dinner. Which no one shows up to because "did you know they are paving Fifth Avenue?"

It's like the movie "Sixteen Candles." Molly Ringwald's character turns sixteen and everyone is so involved in their own lives that they forget her special day.

Or that line in "What would you say?" by the Dave Matthew's Band..."Mom, it's my birthday!!"

My dad didn't call. Marian the Librarian stayed silent. I sort of got a greeting on FB from my favorite pen pal, but not really. I took myself out to lunch and dinner, but not anywhere special, just the same places I go every other Wednesday. I got texts from my brother, my sister, and my aunt. TEXTS?? But that's the new way. I talked to my boss about hating technology and she told me about her grandfather who was born in 1878. He hated horses, so he loved cars. And you had to think, wow. There was a time when your only option was horses.

(Aren't you glad you stopped by for this birthday party?)

But the fact is that the episode I'm referring to (The Agony and the "Ex"-tacy), the Season 4 opener, which is the epitome of BIRTHDAY GONE BAD, at the end, Big shows up in his black town car with red balloons and champagne and it's like that moment at the end of a psalm of lament when the psalmist is done railing at God for how hard life is and says "and yet, I will hope in God."

My day did not end with balloons from a former lover, or a call from my dad. I did get a call from Kelly who is THRILLED to pieces about going to nursing school. And it was wonderful, having something to be squeeing about. And she could hear my pain, and she let me have my moment, and she soothed me. We made plans for dinner in a week.

Kelly's call and the art in the TV shows that I watched was the Selah, the "And yet I hope in God" moment. I fell asleep to the sounds of "The Bourne Identity." Which is a really good movie to fall asleep to, as I learned when I had the plague a week ago. There's a lot of music, not a lot of dialogue.

Today on Twitter, my favorite author Sara Zarr said, "'sitting with your feelings' isn't as fun as it sounds."

It's not. And this is a hard season. But I am learning a lot about myself, much more than I ever do in the "WHEE! THIS IS THE LIFE" seasons. I'll get one of those, maybe when the hockey season starts, if it ever does. For now, I will hope in the Lord.


To be clear, I celebrated a wonderful day on Saturday, the day my family dubbed my birthday. We went to the movies, we went out for dinner, we came back for cake and prezzies.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Morning pages...or an incomplete post on why I have a love/hate relationship with Julia Cameron

Who is Julia Cameron? Ages ago, she wrote a book called The Artist's Way. It's pretty much the 1990s version of Writing Down the Bones.*

A lot of people love it.

I want to.

But there's this inconsistency.

Morning pages.

They are what Natalie Goldberg talks about when she talks about practice writing. Just write, no rules.

But then Julia makes some.

"Morning pages are non-negotiable."

"There's no wrong way to do morning pages"

"Morning pages are three pages, longhand."

Call me crazy, but don't these three statements negate each other? If there's no wrong way, then why do they have to be 3 pages, why do they have to be in the morning, and why are they "non-negotiable"?

Also, morning pages are supposed to "feed the artist child." I HATE doing morning pages. So how does doing something I hate feed my "artist child"?

In the Artist's Way group I was in a few years ago, we talked about how it is actually harder for writers to do morning pages (vs. other types of artists.) So why can't "morning pages" become something else, something that is refreshing and DOES feed my "artist child"?

Last February, I was waiting to find out if I got into graduate school so I could start my PhD. On February 2nd, I decided I needed a project. So every morning, I made a collage. I often wrote something on the back of the collage. At the end of the month, I figured, I might not be on my way to the Midwest to start a PhD, but I would have 28 collages. THIS, I discovered, fed my "artist child."

So why do morning pages have to be three pages? I write big. Can't they be based on time? If I want to draw, is that okay too? What if I don't have time in the morning? What if I'm not a morning person? 

*Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg.