Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Kingdom for a Pen

This is how it always happens...they come to me when I am driving, or in the shower, or in the middle of a meeting.  Sometimes they whisper gently, other times they shriek out their truths.  My characters come unbidden.  Yet, when I beg or implore, they sullenly refuse to grace me with their presence. 

Today, however, as I drove the long trek from home, then to pick up our lovely carpooling friend, then to the eldest child's school, then to the bus stop for the middle and youngest child, then off to work...they came to me. 

Inspiration striking!
(...or perhaps the aurora borealis)
They were eager and anxious--a flurry of information and activity and drama.  They swirled like quicksilver; they struck like lightening.  It was electric.

And, of course...I had no pen.  No pen or paper to memorialize their dire warnings and their realizations.  Surely, somewhere under my wallet...and Epi-pen...and cell phone...and unpaid bills...and the single child's sock...somewhere there had to be a pen and a scrap of paper.  And yet my eager fingers that rummaged through my purse found nothing but loose receipts and change and half a mint.

So I did the only thing I could; I chanted the precious bits of new information like a mantra all the way to work.  I repeated it while stuck in traffic.  I muttered it while I maneuvered through the construction zone.  I whispered it while yielding for pedestrians. 

Then I drove up the six stories of the parking garage, found my self-appointed parking spot next to my dearest friend's car, and scurried in to work so that I could engage in a much-needed "information dump" at her desk before dashing to my own overflowing work space to scrounge for a pen and paper.

My characters tell me things in their own time...much like my eldest daughter, teetering on the brink of tweendom.  And, as with my daughter, when my characters finally relinquish some thought, or insight, or precious bit of their heart...I listen.  I relish it.  I store it away.  They are my children, too.  Their births were also long and  painful and memorable.

Like my children, my characters seem to want to talk when I am in the shower, or making dinner, or trying to do something else that requires my attention. 

But you make time, because they are worth it. 

You stop the world, if you have to.   

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dodge Ball...a Life in the Crosshairs

A friend of mine from grade school commented on her Facebook page today that her life was like a game of Mother May I?  She was forever taking one step forward and two steps back.  Then it dawned on me, that my life is rather like a game of Dodgeball. I never much liked Dodgeball.  The idea that people get to target you and pummel you with a ball while you dodge and weave to avoid sudden impact always struck me as rather cruel. 

I loved elementary school growing up.  Loved it.  I even liked PE.  I did not, however, care for Dodgeball.  It always made me anxious.  It made me feel like I was in the crosshairs. 

In a lot of ways, I guess I still feel that way.  Even though I am forty, I still worry about juggling all of life's commitments and requirements and necessities.  I still get that anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about something I needed to do...or can't afford to do...or simply wish I could do (but feel like I crappy mother/wife/sister/friend because I can't do it).

I was talking to a dear friend the other day and I mentioned how in some ways, with some people, we would always be 10 years old.  Like when you go home for the holidays and no one takes you seriously, or recognizes your accomplishments, or that you actually do know what you're talking about.

For some people, I will always be ten years old--with hair forever in need of brushing, and braces, with her nose stuck in a book.  In many ways, I guess I still see myself that way...

...and I can hear the whiz of the ball as it just barely misses me.