Wednesday, June 4, 2014

IWSG: Straight from Notting Hill ~ I hope!

Yesterday, May 7th, I posted my first piece
as a member of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Today, I am writing my piece
for next month's First Wednesday IWSG post.

Portobello Road, Notting Hill
Source:  Wikimedia

If life goes according to plan,
on Wednesday, June 4, 2014,
I will be waking up in a flat 
in Notting Hill, London,
where I don't know 
how I will charge my computer,
let alone make it work.

Computers and I 
have a troubled relationship,
so I'm making
a preemptive strike.

If you read this, I was successful!

I'm a bed spinner.
And the night of May 6th
had a lot of twists and turns.

I'd twirl one way, 
worried I'd die
before I got my memoir written.

Then I'd twirl the other, 
worried I'd crash and burn 
when I posted my heart and soul
for the IWSG when the sun came up.

I didn't post when the sun came up.
I have many personal challenges,
but these three were carrying me along full bore
in the morning glare:
fear of failure,
and procrastination.

So I niggled over my post
and drank coffee with sweaty hands.
Finally, I took a deep breath
and clicked the Publish button.
Zing ~ Into the Universe went my IWSG post.

How animating it was to read the comments
that zinged back.
Zing ~ supportive!
Zing ~ encouraging!
Zing ~ goosebumps galore!

If you are a writer
and are not a member of IWSG,
go there and sign up right now!

Don't worry if you're not insecure.
The most secure writer I know
is a fellow IWSG member.

Heck, he's not even a person!
He's a taskmaster cat named Orlin ~
who cracks his whip
and makes housemate Pat
hop to and scribe his funny rhymes.

And that demanding Orlin ~ Snap! Crack! ~
makes Pat answer comments on Orlin's blog posts
and on the blog posts of Orlin's readers.

Advice from the Cat:
Have to sit down and write away at your bay ...

Softened by the scribe: will sure come out I bet.

So with the Cat's admonitions 
driving me to my study this morning (May 8th),
I opened up my latest manuscript document  ~ and reread.
That's what third grade teachers say to their students
when they stare at that unfinished draft ~

A couple of weeks ago in a fit of inspiration, 
I had dropped the vegetable peeler, 
abandoned the potatoes, 
and run down to my computer
to type this latest beginning sentence.
Poor Ever-Patient Terry.  
Another late supper in the works.

I've been trying on different beginnings to see how they fit.
This morning this fit.
And out flowed the words onto the screen:

Sometimes a place and its people will grasp your heart and never let go, even with half a continent and half a century separating you in space and time.  They whisper in your heart as you move through your busy days.  They haunt your dark nights as you twist in damp sheets through long hours.  You may silence them at times, burying them deeply in the muskeg of your mind; but when you least expect it, their voices come bubbling to the surface to remind you that you have still not given voice to what has been lost in death.

So I will try, with the best that is in me, to write the story of my family’s sojourn in The North.  But my family’s story is many stories:  of Fritz and Kokum and Maurice and Simon.  Of the unforgettable others who moved in and out of my young life.  Of John.  Most importantly, it is my father’s story.  I’m searching for my father in the pages of his letters written so long ago.  All this is colored by my experiences and memories of that time.  As I cobble these stories together, I’m trying to honor and balance my father’s voice with mine.  I’m searching for the truth and wondering what I can reveal.

Our lives turned on an advertisement...

So I'm off and running with my latest garbage draft ~
another third grade teacher writing term.
It can always be changed,
just get it down!
I hear you, Cat!

I'm not sure why I've been so hung up 
on the beginning sentences for so long.
I have thousands and thousands of middle words written.

I can hear myself talking to my third graders about voice:
"Voice is the heart of the writer 
surfacing through the words written:
unique in tone and flavor,
unlike any other's.
There is only one you
When you care about your topic
and write your truth,
your special voice will shine through."

Of course, with third graders,
one explanation leads to more and more!
They struggled with the concept of voice
more than any other.
It's not any easier when you are big and older.

A Small and Young Writer
Source:  wikimedia

I think I've found the beginning of the right tread
to untangle my past ~ 
At least enough to get me moving beyond
that perfectionist, fearful
procrastinating, maddening block.

I promise; well, at least I'll try,
not to be so self indulgent when I write my IWSG posts.

I'm an extreme Myers-Briggs INFJand I fight this daily.


  1. Sounds as if you are finding your "voice" indeed. Very introspective post here! "Sometimes a place and its people will grasp your heart and never let go" - isn't this the truth?? It's funny how life works sometimes...

    1. Thanks, Keith! It is funny how life works. I can look back and see times when my life turned on a dime, no matter what planning and goals I set! Thanks for commenting! Take care!

  2. Pat's cat will get you!!
    Voice is a difficult thing, but when you get it, you nail it.

  3. I hope Orlin has his claws in! Thanks for commenting, Alex! I hope you have had a good day!

  4. haha all worked out, the post posted and the cat got boasted. Nothing wrong with that at your sea and write away, can change it in the end, or throw it around the bend, but have to write for it to get done. The cat just has fun

  5. Hey Pat! Sometimes I think cats have figured things out better than any other living thing! They certainly know how to kick back and take it easy! And stretch ~ OMG! Have a good one!

  6. Well, it seems you did triumph over technology. Now the question is can you triumph over that cat and the twisty-turning nights? Let's hope so. Greatly appreciated your post and I'll be back to say hi again. Will you still be at Notting Hill, so I can find you?

    1. Thank you for your kind comment! Sadly I have just one week left in beautiful Notting Hill. I'm a master at twisty-turning nights, so we'll see! Have a good one!

  7. Don't you love it when lines come to you like that?

  8. Oh yes I do, Melanie!!! Thanks for visiting! Take care!

  9. I am so proud of you. You had a burning desire to write and are taking steps to put your writing out there it is so brave of you. I'm looking forward to your stories.

    1. You have a lovely and kind heart, Peggy! Thank you for the wonderful encouragement!

  10. Too fun! Notting Hill? I want to come!

    1. It is so much fun, Donna! Such a cool place. I'm so glad we get to stay for two weeks at my sister-in-law's and BIL's flat. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity!

  11. I, for one of many, love this post. Notting here you come. If you're still there next spring, we must have tea. High tea. Though I'm not sure if it's better than low tea. Happy IWSG, Fundy Blue!

    1. Thank you for the wonderful encouragement, Joylene! I wish I would still be here next spring ~ It is a fascinating place! Take care!

  12. Okay you made it. Well insecure writers have a place to call their own, eh? Your writing is so very amusing and worthy it is hard to believe you are insecure - but things aren't always as they seem!

    1. Thank you for the kind and encouraging words, Francie! I sweat and niggle over most of the words and punctuation ~ everything! LOL But it is a passion!
      I've seen your wonderful pastels, and I know they are filled with your heart and soul, so I'm certain that they go down with some angst and sweat too. And sometimes, when we're lucky, we get in that incredible flow and we're in a magical realm! There is no better feeling!

  13. When I clicked on your link to the IWSG, I was struck by the ocean imagery. It's perfect for a certain Fundy person.
    So interesting that the middle words come easier than the beginning. I would have thought it was the other way around.
    Congratulations on your IWSG post.
    I hope Notting Hill is all you dreamed, and more.
    I'm rambling. I'll stop now.

    1. This is a lot of words for you, Terry, but I enjoyed every one! Every writer is different, and for me beginnings are tough. Endings too. I usually have an emotion, often connect to the setting, that pushes me into writing something. Then I flounder around with drafts trying to figure out what I need to say. Then it clicks together, like when two fossil fragments suddenly fit just so and you know you've found a match. I always had to write my outlines for papers and such (for teachers and professors) after I wrote the piece! Notting Hill is funky, fun, and so very different from the High Plains!

  14. 'Voice is the heart of the writer. Unique in tone and flavor.' I love that.

    1. Thank you, Sandra! It's funny how often what I said in the classroom comes back to me now that I'm out of it! Have a good one!

  15. Yay! You did it! (Okay, I gotta admit, your post title makes me want to watch Notting Hill AGAIN)

    1. Hey Julie! I'm going to watch it again when I get home. Is been long enough ago that the details of the movie have faded. I wanted to experience NH with my own eyes first! Take care!

  16. Keep going with your manuscript. It will get done. Congrats on successfully posting.

  17. Thank you, JL! I am plugging alone, although I haven't been working on it while I'm in Paris and London. I waited over forty years to get back again, after a very brief pass through so long ago. But my point-and-shoot photography is on overload!

  18. I echo J.L. Campbell's comment. Sending you a hug. :)

    1. Thank you, Linda! Sending a hug back to you!

  19. Hi Louise, It will come, it will definitely come.....because it obviously means so much to you! I hope the trip is providing some inspiration. Maybe I will watch Notting Hill (for the gazillionth time) tonight in honor of you! I miss your words and look forward to hearing more about your trip. XOXO Audrey

    1. Thanks, Audrey! We're leaving for Iceland tomorrow. I hate to leave London. It is a special place! Hope all is well with you, Alain, and the girls. XOXOX

  20. Beautiful prose. You know, sometimes I find it good just to jump into the middle of the book--start writing a scene that's in my head that may or may not make the final cut. It doesn't matter if it's perfect. It doesn't matter if it makes sense for the characters to be there. It just matters that I write.

    Here's wishing you the best!

    1. Thanks for the encouraging words, Crystal! I've just returned from our trip, so I'm catching up on comments I missed when I had a computer glitch in Reykjavik. I hope all is well for you!

  21. Thank you for your kind encouragement, Sorry!"


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.