Shifting Sideways: When work becomes play

I may have mentioned my dirty little secret: I love stationary. I adore it. I like cards, specifically, that have no printing on the inside. I write in them in portrait mode, whether the picture is portrait or landscape. Don’t know why I write in them like that, I just do. At least I don’t just sit there and look at them in all their glory, spread across my bed.. At least not all the time.

I do write letters. Copious amounts of letters.

I had started playing with pictures and words when it came to my stories:

The dragon burped, sending blue sparkles all

And then I had the post with Mel. The one with the visual poetry? Breaking Rythm can be found here if the link doesn’t work: https://wynwords.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/breaking-rhythm-tribe-tuesday/

And my brain has exploded within the past two weeks.

What if… What if…. I could combine two of my favorite things? AWESOME! Even if I only ever make the cards for me, this is something that I love love love!

Here’s the one I’m working on right now:

Poem Stone Multimedia

The title has changed, as has the font and color of the font. Still couldn’t get it quite right, so have sent it off to Leyla, my niece (who also sometimes admins my facebook page for me – Hi Leyla!). I’ve also done one for a friend, and will do another one for her.

This is play. This is fun.

This is joy.

And we should all have something in our lives that brings us joy.

What are you doing in  your writing life, or life in general, that brings you joy?

© 2015 Wynelda Ann Deaver All Rights Reserved

Shaming

This was prompted by a lot of tangled feelings having to do with my own body and my mother. It was brought on by watching a clip from “What would you do” where they had actors fat shaming another actress… The reactions? Perfect. But…

Can I ask a serious question? Why do we feel that it’s ok to shame other people? I’m specifically speaking of fat shaming, and it enrages me.

Yup.

Enragement. Dragon fire coming out my ears…

Here’s the thing. There’s no reason to make fun of someone because of their weight. All those words, those giggles? They aren’t cute. They aren’t funny.

You don’t know the damn story.

I grew up with a mother who looked pregnant. Every time someone said something, i wanted so desperately to go after them. She couldn’t win. “Oh, she’s eating a salad, but it won’t do any good.”  or “Damn, eat a salad!” I often wanted to punch people in the face. Strangers, making hurtful comments about a person they didn’t even know.

Turns out, she wasn’t “just” fat.

Turns out, when I went up 2 sizes, I wasn’t just getting fat either. I had what my mother had. A large tumor in my uterus. You wanna go there? I was so immune to people talking crap to me about my weight which I had maintained for 20 years… that when I went up, it didn’t phase me. I was just getting fatter and fatter. Two years ago, my father made me go get tested. Last year I had the surgery.

But that doesn’t matter. I didn’t know about that when I was growing up. What I knew?

I knew that some people were ass holes and no matter how much they hurt my mother, she would not let me go after them. I can remember walking down a parking lot aisle with Mom, Dad, and someone else (a friend? my brother?). We had gone to the mall to watch a movie and were on our way home. They thought they were funny.

I thought I’d turn around and plant my fist in a face. But it was my mother’s hand on my arm, her voice saying “please, don’t” that stopped me.(I never actually fought anyone outside my family– Mom wouldn’t let me)

Don’t be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Don’t be an asshole.

Quit shaming people over their bodies.

Shifting Sideways: Daydream Believer

Hello, my lovelies. This post took a surprising turn for me at the end. Let me know what you think.

As writers, we spend a lot of time in our own heads. Daydreaming, star gazing, muse courting in a thousand different ways. Some have rituals that have to be precisely followed in order to start writing. But even before we as writers, as artists, as creators, begin to start actively start our project…we are daydreaming our creations into existence.

But what happens when the daydreams stop? How do you get it back? Still writing letters, still sketching things out… until you aren’t. Until it’s you and blank paper and brain.

At first, I told myself I needed a rest. I’d been writing this and that, poems and micro essays, cranking them out, filling up the spiral notebook. And then I wasn’t.

A week. Then two.

Then I got bored with the talk radio I had started listening to. I’d been listening to it because it centered me, made it easier to get through the day at the real job. With all that was going on in my personal life, I needed it. My writing was all over the place, emotions rocking through me. I had to have something to get me through the day without loosing it.

But then I didn’t.

It wasn’t until I switched back to music, music that I love, that I realized the mistake I had made.

Often, while driving to work and rocking out, I get lost in a daydream. The music tickles a spot of creativity and I’ll go off on a tangent. Sometimes singing along, pretending it’s my song. Sometimes letting the story of the song move through me, morph, become a totally different story.

Bon Jovi is my favorite, but there are more coming up strong. Hoozier. Fun.  Ozzy Osbourne. P!ink. Sam Smith. If I start hitting the same daydream notes during a song, I’ll put it on repeat (all of the above are on my hated iphone) until I shake it loose.

And I’ve started shaking it loose again. Playing with the poetry in my last post, tuning it to say what I meant –even though the subject matter is heart breaking—filled my heart with joy. Joy, tenderness, grief, love and despair all rolled into three little poems and a blog post.

I don’t know where I’m going as a writer anymore. That daydream is loose. Even though I know what I want to do, I don’t know how to get there. I am off the map that I carefully drafted all those years ago while daydreaming my life as a writer. Since I didn’t get a bestseller and a mansion at the age of eighteen (without having written a novel), I was already off course.

So.

Hello,

My name is Wynelda Ann Deaver.

I am a poet who didn’t know it.

I like micro, macro, flash writing.

I am still finding out who I am as a writer, and trying to become.

I may be lost, but I can enjoy the journey all the same.

But I am always, always a believer in daydreams. You never know what stories they’ll whisper to you.

Have you taken a turn off your carefully planned route? Enjoying the new ride, or scared? Let me know how you’re doing!

©2015 Wynelda Ann Deaver, All Rights Reserved.

Little Boys, Elderly Parents & Friends with Depression

The Poetry Edition

I recently had a phone call, where I was told that I am a natural “mothering” type of person. I like to take care of everyone, nurture them, all that good stuff. But I also need to learn to let go, to remember that not every battle is mine to fight, and sometimes people need to grow on their own. Mother and Smother are very close.

Last weekend, I broke a glass. I told the Princeling to stay out. Except, he didn’t. He calmly put on his shoes, gave me mine, then went to get the big dust pan. I swept up, and he picked up the larger pieces of glass and placed them carefully in the dust pan. The entire time, I was biting my tongue trying to keep the words behind my teeth.

Don’t do that! You’ll cut yourself! I don’t care if I bleed, but I can’t stand it when you do! What actually came out of my mouth was Be Careful.

He took the dust pan out, emptied it in the garbage can, and we went on. Except, you know… It hit me. My son is growing up. Helping. Taking care of me, even when it’s not all roses and sunshine.

Roses have thorns, and sunshine can burn, so I guess there really is no safe way to allow him to grow and never get hurt.

It was a broken glass. No drama, no life coming to an end. But something happened, and he came and helped his mom. Even if my neck muscles tightened as he helped me.

Then there’s my dad. I love my dad. He’s my hero, and one of my best friends. He’s still regaining what he lost, but he’s home. He’s walking with the help of a walker, and starting out with a cane. He does his exercises regularly, and enjoys going out. Nothing’s going to stop him.

Especially not a paranoid daughter.

He went out to the garage to wait for my son’s bus (which was late). Ok, fine. Except… When he first came home, I was trying to get someone to make a dump run for all the crap in there that has to go. His old recliner (replaced with mine), and old toilet (I know, I KNOW!), some wood and a broken lawn chair.

And dad went out into that mess to wait for my son.

You know, the mess that I’m afraid will kill me, let alone my father?

I can deal with him walking out to the mail box. He’s doing more and more and more every day. But that garage scares me. Now, I know my dad is a tough old war bird. He’s 89 and of sound mind. I need to let go, and let him be. I also called and rescheduled that dump run. I’m done waiting for it.

Done!

So that takes care of the two closest to me. But then, then… there’s my friends. I’ve touched before on the fact that I have had situational depression. It is nothing compared to what they go through, their struggles. I have no idea what they go through every day, one still in the midst of it and one keeping the delicate balance of not sliding back in.

There really is only one way to try and express my feelings about it. As a person who loves someone living with mental illness.

It took three tries.

Three.

A magical number.

Poem 1:

Tell the demons I’m here to stay,
There is no playground
For them to frolic
I locked the gate-
Threw away the key.
I smiled at each
And every
single
one
as my blade
shaped by love
Conviction
Strength
Love
Friendship

Pierced them
One
by
bloody
one

Until all heed
My battle cry
Be gone!

Yah, I loved that poem. Kick ass, it is. It’s also patently false. I cannot see, feel or fight their demons for them. It’s what I’d love to do. But I can’t fight their battles. They have to fight them on their own. No matter how much it kills those of us that love them.

Poem#2

I will hold the sword
as you ready for battle
I will hold the line
as tightly as I can
while you don your
armour piece by piece
Don’t forget the heart
Never forget the heart

I will walk with you by your side,

step
by
bloody
step
through the garden of your demons.
Although~
I feel helpless
and afraid
for this is a battle
you must fight

Why can’t I slay
               them for you?

I will stand beside you offering what I may.

This second one feels truer than the first, but it is also a pretty lie. We can’t walk with them, can’t help in so many ways. I can’t make the fear and depression go away even if I’m right there with them. It feels like there is no way at all to  do anything to help our loved ones. We want the battle to be fought and won, but that’s not how it works.
But there is something we can do. Even though it kills us. We, the nurturers, the mothers, made by God to help…. It feels so often as if we are failing them, failing ourselves.  But we’re not…

Poem #3 Sojourn

I cannot wield the sword
To destroy your demons
I cannot walk this mile
In your shoes…

Nor any other.

The tangled leaves blowing
Through your depression
Are a mystery to me.

So I sit here,
Quietly,
Holding a candle
That it might…

Maybe…

Possibly…

Send a glow of warmth
On your cold sojourn back.

I love you, my friends. I’ll try to keep lighting that candle: whether it’s with notes or phone calls or visits. I will always have a candle going for you.

© 2015 Wynelda Ann Deaver All Rights Reserved

Shifting Sideways: 13 Nekkid Ladies

First off, mind out of the gutter. This is fine art, folks!

Nymphaum by William-Adolph Bouguereau

Nymphaum by William-Adolph Bouguereau

Shifting Sideways: 13 Nekkid Ladies

“One naked lady, two naked ladies, three naked ladies, more. Four Naked ladies, five naked ladies….” My son cooed in his sleep, snuggling into his stroller. Sunday afternoon, and it was time for The Haggin Museum, where we were sitting, and sleeping (respectively), in front of the Nymphaeum by William-Adolphoe Bouguereau. (For the record, there are 13 of them, along with a boy peeping at them and a satyr. Yes, I’ve seen this picture. A lot. If you follow the link, the boy and satyr are on the far right, but are not really visible. Hidden.)

Back then, the Haggin was my refuge. Me time away from my crazy life, moving from place to place. No worries about roommates, a crazy husband or what to do with my life. Instead, it was my infant son, me and the quiet of the museum.

Being surrounded by art allowed me to breathe again. My weird, shift to the side mentality started kicking back in. Some mothers count blocks, some sheep. We counted (almost) naked ladies.

I probably should not have been doing it out loud.

The Princeling and I came to the museum so often that the security guard knew us. At the time, the elevator was operated by Ray, the security guard. I ended up buying a year pass, because we were in there so often.

Now, not so much. Instead of cooing softly from his stroller, my boy has grown into a rambunctious nine year old boy. He’ll tolerate the large machinery, the jeep, the boat… But his heart was captured by the hall of swords. That’s what he calls it now. He thinks the life sized dioramas are creepy, the paintings are boring.

My meandering days are over.

I miss them.

Once again, my life is in turmoil. My mind is scattered, thoughts being tossed like litter in the wind. Art calms the windstorm, settles the thoughts. Whether it’s the Nymphaeum, a storm tossed sea, a piece of porcelain… it reminds me of the beauty in life. Even the potato farmer painting hanging in the same room as my nymphs. They are care worn, they are trying hard… but there is beauty in that struggle.

Walking through the halls, my heart start to slow. My breaths deepen. The soul relearns that it can fly.

##The End##

Shifting Sideways: Tree Watching

Shifting sideways is my own little experiment. They are all fairly short— and fairy odd. They capture my quirkiness completely. I hope you enjoy.

Because you’ll have one every Sunday!

Shifting Sideways: Creativity, Life and Love

Tree Watching

Most people have memories of laying on the grass, picking out shapes in clouds. It’s an activity that explores the boundaries of imagination and creativity. My son? He has never done this particular activity. Instead, he will have memories of picking shapes out of trees.

We drive a lot of country roads. A lot. The joke is that it takes 30 minutes to get almost anywhere, and 20 of those minutes are getting out of the country. California doesn’t have a whole lot of clouds right now, thanks to the draught. But trees? Trees we still have.

It started about four years ago. On Highway 88, between Eight Mile Road and Harney Lane, is a lovely tree that overhangs the pavement. Once I saw a dragon head in it, I could never unsee it. Quickly, it began providing entertainment on the drive home. The moment we drove near our new landmark, the Princeling would shout “Dragon!” He fought that dragon, conquered it, rode it across the mountains to visit Auntie in Reno. We drove through its fiery breath (“ewww… stinky!”), engaged it in battle all in an effort to stay out of it’s belly.

None of the other trees are quite as magical as that first one. However, it’s still exciting every time we add a new one to the mix. There’s a chicken on Austin Road, larger than life and ready to cross the road. On Harney Lane, there are two trees that look exactly like a cow, right in front of… a cow farm. On Jack Tone Road, a magical portal awaits us, ready to take us to another land. One filled with dragons, and knights, no doubt.

Cloud watching is dependent on the weather. Tree watching just requires a tree and a small shift sideways. No shapes in your trees? Find all the shades of brown, of green, how the light dapples through the leaves.

Your inner child will squeal in delight.

## End##

Copyright 2015 Wynelda Ann Deaver

Flash Fiction (Essay) Challenge

Do you read/follow Chuck Wendig over at Terrible Minds? Love the guy, love his quirkiness to bits. On Friday’s he posts a Flash Fiction challenge. This week… it’s not fiction. Yay! You can read his original post here

(PS Chuck, you said to drop the link in the comments, but… the comments aren’t open. Insert Sad Face).

Write an essay on the topic of: Why I Write.

This is something that I’ve been struggling with lately. I’d love to make my living writing, but that currently isn’t happening and it doesn’t look promising. I want to support my son and myself, by my writing, but it’s not in the cards right now. It does remain in the realm of dreams.

So. Money isn’t the reason why I’m writing.

I have been published, and I loved the accolades. When people tell me that they loved it, ohhh… my heart shivers. I haven’t made much money (see above), and I have received some wonderful reviews, but…

That isn’t what keeps me writing.

Not for money. Not for accolades. Both would be bloody brilliant, don’t get me wrong. I won’t lie.

I write because words have power. We can shape our worlds, and make sense of that world, through words. When I was writing fiction, I almost always work out a problem in my fiction. Something that’s been on my mind comes out in the theme of the story.

Still has my quirky voice,tho.

I liked fiction because it gave me a buffer between my feelings and what I was working out. Sometimes I need that space, the step back from the situation that fiction gives. In Dragon’s Champion, the heroine saves herself. And when she finds her voice… oh, the power she wields! In The Golden Apple and Other Stories, there were lots of strong women saving themselves… as they dealt with love, death, family and the perception of others versus reality.

Not everyone needs saving.

Except, perhaps, me.

I write to save myself, to save my soul. It’s how I pray, how I connect myself to… myself. It enables me to get the junk out and cross it out decisively and then get to the meat of the matter. I took a step back from fiction, and have been writing a lot of nonfiction and poetry, trying to realign myself. Essays mostly, some a micro shot of life as I see it. (One is scheduled for tomorrow, my shifting sideways series. Whee!) They are all full of my weird quirkiness, a lighter slightly twisted version of myself or the deep, dark and twisty. Apparently, my writing is like the water I love so much. Some is nothing more than a babbling brook—entertaining and will cool you off and refresh you. The other half is the middle of the ocean, deep, dark currents pierced by light.

I write to save myself. Because when I don’t write, I can feel it calling to me. Even my nine year old can tell when I’m not writing. A line of poetry that grabs hold until I write it down. An opening sentence will grab hold of me and won’t let me go until we go exploring down the rabbit hole.

It’s the only sure way to comfort myself, make my soul nice and tight with the world. If others get saved along the way, that’s a blessing. But I have to save myself first.