Something to say

Recently, I’ve been busy, not really crafting but rote writing: notes to students, essay and novel critics, power point presentations, technical reports and email proposals. Thus, I’ve begun to crave the craft of writing, not other people’s stuff, but my own writing. I want to sit down and weave new stories and re-spin old ones. Yet, I seem to put other things first, staying too busy to focus on my goal longer than 15-minutes; although 15-minutes of writing is better than no writing at all. And half of that writing has fallen into my striped purse journal, which is why I have not been blogging. I shouldn’t complain, I have written more stuff in 15 minutes than two hours and according to Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, author of Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide To Igniting The Writer Within, 15-minute spurts of writing is ideal for the active woman.

I had begun to wonder when this writing (the actual writing not the writing-in-my-head) would come to fruition or keep me inspired until completion. At first, I had planned to stop thinking about the writing projects and focus on my role as an adjunct until the semester was complete. I did the planner thing: made a list of projects and dates to be completed and found at least six contests I should enter. Then two students asked if they could meet with me to talk about creative writing: writing as a profession, sharing their stories. I couldn’t resist molding and encouraging budding scribes. However, if they asked about my own writing I would have to pause. A few days later, after Sunday school one of my church brothers approached me.

“Angela,” he said. “Are you planning to publish another newsletter? I have some article to send you, but I don’t want to send them to you in vain.”

I was startled for a moment. He and I both knew the readership was less than five percent, and after 10 years, I had grown a bit tiresome of publishing, writing and editing the newsletter, sometimes as small as four-pages and other times as voluminous as twelve.

“The newsletter is my place to vent,” he said.

Of course, since we had published one online issue and a PDF copy was always available, I had a plan. (Me and my plans.) I told my brother that I had planned to publish two print issues and bimonthly online issues in 2009. And although I had skipped the September issue, without any back lash, a December copy would surface. He was pleased and understanding. I was mortified. As a writer of more than a decade, how could I limit the voice of a writer? Publishing was hard, writing even harder and harder editing without changing the writer’s intentions. My church brother had trusted me to take him on this writer’s journey, just as the two students had.

As we parted, I realized what had happened to me, why I was only writing in my head: in the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”

I took on the mentorship because these students had something to say. I published the newsletter because my church brother and others had something to say. And finally I not only had begun to crave the craft but I also had something to say.


Entry Lost in Blogged Mind

At the end of my two-week road trip in August, I sat down on the couch, so glad to be home to blog the places I had gone. I remember that evening, slowly penning the right words and selecting ideal photos. Oh, yes, the entry described family and clothes shopping Burlington and Greensburg, North Carolina and the exquisite visit to downtown Atlanta, my favorite. In Atlanta, I tasted 70 Coca Cola flavors served worldwide and toured the Coca Cola factory. Like a child, I was anxious to take a picture with the big white polar bear; but once beside him his size and fuzz gave me a fright. Oh, what a sight. My girls enjoyed “Mommie being scared.” Inside the Pop Art Museum oversize drawings and paintings amazed and dazzled me. Of course the retro signs brought back memories of the green glass bottled coke, which cost a dime, housed in a bright red soda machine. However, I had no memory of a Black family in commercials or advertisements; therefore when I spotted one: photo op. Despite the 100 degree weather, the girls and my cousin traipsed through the Olympic Park. And it would not be the same without visiting Dr. MLK’s home. “Let Freedom Ring.” Another reason I know I blogged the vacation, I wanted to spread the word about Thumbs Up Diner: the best, fresh, succulent fried catfish and oversize pancakes. To top the palate, next door a sit down bakery shop: slices of red velvet, pound and chocolate cake. Mmm.

grandma and me

From Atlanta, I visited my 90-year-old Grandmother. I didn’t have enough time to spend with her. I’m not sure if its age or maturity, but every year I see her I want to spend more time listening to her stories. This year when she looked at my 15-year-old, she said, “Hold on to your youth.” My daughter smiled and darted out the door to play with the cats. At 15, I would have done the same thing. I turned to my grandmother and she said, I rushed, I did not know what it was like to be a teenager. My grandmother, Mary Alice Hooks, married at 14 and bore 10 out of 12 children. I needed to hear her story, I could tell she was a

a past
juicy enough that she’s looking forward to
retelling it in her old age.

With that a horn blew and I had to leave the storytelling lips of my grandmother, who I know is waiting to burst forth a story just for me.

Nemo world

Next we headed to Orlando for a week’s rest and relaxation. And if you have been to Disneyland, I need not say anymore. OK maybe just a word or two about my favs. I’m not a fan of roller coasters. However, my girls and my cousin (who taunted me as if he was 10-years-old) were relentless when it came roller coasters, so I ventured out and rode more stomach-churning, nerve-wrenching rides than I imagined. Four days and five parks we stood on long lines, baked in the Florida sun, and indulged in tons of family fun. When I return, two absolute repeats are: Planet Hollywood’s House of Terror and Universal Studio’s 3-D Spiderman explosion.

Running in the Garden

On the way home, (nonstop driving never to do again) we also detoured into South Carolina to tour Mr. Pearl’s hand sculpted garden. Worth the bypass.

This is why, when a friend of mine said, “Angela, I noticed you haven’t been blogging.” I was mortified. I knew two-months had lapsed, but not the road trip. Hence I digress and retrace my steps for the entry has been lost in the Blog Triangle.