Appropriate and Acceptable

Can I be real a second?
For just a millisecond?
Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?
Now I’m the model of a modern major general
The venerated Virginian veteran whose men are all
Lining up, to put me up on a pedestal
Writin’ letters to relatives
Embellishin’ my elegance and eloquence
But the elephant is in the room
The truth is in ya face when ya hear the British cannons go…
Boom!
~ A very frustrated George Washington as written by Lin-Manuel Miranda

I’m not even going to discuss Hamilton right now. It is pure genius and folks will either listen or they won’t, hear it or they won’t, get it or they won’t. I don’t really have that in me right this second.

I don’t really have a whole lot of anything in me right this second and it’s getting a bit tiresome.

Let me be real a second. I get encouraged to write on a regular basis by folks who genuinely enjoy what I have to say. There’s like six of y’all and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. And if it were only you half dozen or so for the rest of my life, I would like to think I would keep pushing publish. I would like to think I would still fancy myself a writer.

I don’t feel like a writer much of the time and I am pretty sure that’s because I approach this whole thing all wrong. I have this idea about what it is supposed to look like. I am supposed to have a guided topic. This blog space is supposed to be more cohesive. I am supposed to have a plan. I am supposed to, supposed to, supposed to.

And it I haven’t checked all the “supposed to” blocks, well, then…

And I am definitely not supposed to get onto this super public space and just let my guard down. It is indulgent and basic to be in a public setting – even if it’s just the six of us – and have the audacity to believe that these nouns and verbs, my nouns and verbs, are any more legitimate or time worthy than anyone else’s. That’s next level arrogance and who am I really to think that I have the right?

So, I go back to being small. I try to do the things on my list, the things that make me feel real, but in an “appropriate” way. Seriously, even as I am typing that I don’t even know what the hell that means. You are talking to a person that has a hard time cleaning the house if the radio isn’t super loud, who has a hard time psyching herself up for a run if she can’t go fast(ish) for a billion miles, who is 41 years old and is fixing to get married in a white dress to the hottest man she has ever met with a wedding suitable for a 25 year old blusher. My life isn’t small. I don’t live there. It isn’t who I am. It isn’t who my family is. We have a reoccurring joke about our individual and collective extraness. But I am a person who is still ridiculously and frustratingly aware of what other people think.

Yeah, don’t say it. I already know. You aren’t supposed to care about what other people think – especially those who, in the big picture, have opinions that don’t matter. I get it. I also know that chocolate pudding and whipped cream for lunch isn’t a healthy option, but you can bet your ass I get down with that too.

It has just struck me as funny that I have been in this situation bunches before. You probably have too. It isn’t a writer issue, it’s a whatever part of you is important issue.

The mommy cartel is a fierce one. Do you work, stay home, vaccinate, homeschool, engage in sports, pay for piano, buy the dance costume, travel with the team, fix organic snacks, limit screen time, post pictures on social media, co-sleep, spank, entertain Santa Claus, buy Lucky Charms, volunteer as room mom, schedule playdates, breastfeed, understand the progressive parenting strategies, helicopter, tiger, free range, hide in the bathroom with a great bottle of Malbec…. are you an appropriate, acceptable mom?

Life partner? Do you have date night, authentic conversations about your feelings, too much sex, no sex, joint facebooks, separate friends, independent bank accounts, a five year plan, the same last name, never go to bed angry, the same waistline when you met, regular phone calls with their families, close the door to the bathroom, sexy texts, copious amounts of quality time, detailed coparenting strategies, lady in the street, freak in the bed, dinner on the table, 50/50 household responsibilities, gender roles, traditional home, hide in the bathroom with a great bottle of Malbec…. are you an appropriate, acceptable life partner?

Professional? Do you have the right credentials, love your job, tolerate your coworkers, participate in office fun, voice your opinion in meetings, reinvent yourself to fit the culture, considered assertive, aggressive, overly ambitions, qualified, on your way up, watching the clock, moving into a new field, living your passion, selling out to the grind, hiding out in the bathroom with a great bottle of Malbec… are you an appropriate, acceptable professional?

If you couldn’t tell, all this “appropriate” and “acceptable” juggling always leads me to hiding in a bathroom with a great bottle of Malbec. People aren’t supposed to live that way.

I am not supposed to live that way.

So here is the habit I am going to attempt to put into practice – just writing the shit and letting the letters fall where they may. Maybe that appeals to my six folks, maybe it gains more, maybe I end up pushing publish for no one other than myself. Whatever the outcome is, I have at least identified the elephant in my bathroom. And look – now there is more room for you to share that bottle of wine…

What I Learned from Hamilton

Writing a book is something I’ve always wanted to do. I could go into all the reasons I’ve never seriously sat down to write one. I won’t. There’s no point. They are all just excuses. At the end of the day, the real truth is I have never felt worthy enough to have a story to tell and I was scared.

I am still scared. But I am worthy.

In October 2016 the children and I evacuated to Alabama during hurricane Matthew. I braced myself for the worst. The car was packed. The Volkswagen was busting holding the five of us. We knew we would be like that for about six hours – if the route I chose wasn’t crowded with other evacuees. Fun right?

Turn out to be a blast!

I had heard of the Broadway play Hamilton before in passing. The cast performed for some award show I watched. The accolades, awards, and Pulitzer news had made its way to me. My oldest daughter had mentioned it and was a fan.

Once we were on the road, she asked if we could listen to it. The other children seemed excited. I agreed.

It would be the only thing we listened to for the totality of the 12 hour, round trip car ride.

For the next month, I rarely listened to anything else. I almost felt guilty turning some other type of music on. As a writer, I already knew how hard it was to take nouns and verbs and put them together in such a way that is meaningful. It’s really fucking hard. Sometimes, it seems impossible.

Lin Manuel Miranda did it – within the boundaries of history and the restriction of musical movement in the art of storytelling without crutch and with passion.

The body of work struck me as genius in its entirety. I ranged emotions. I was engrossed in the story. I moved, felt, wanted, loved, feared, rejoiced.

Over and over again a thought kept coming into my head. “How in the hell did he do that? How did he birth a body of work into existence? How did he manage? Why can’t I?”

And the answer, when it occurred to me, was so simple. He just did the work. He allowed the process. He encountered a piece of work, Alexander Hamilton’s biography, found inspiration, and worked it out. Six years he did the work. Sure he had help, collaborators, supporters. But he did the work and this is his reward.

I do not do the work. I want to do the work. I want to want to do the work.

Nina Crespo once told me that writing is a muscle – you have to work it out or it gets soft. I have neglected the gym for a while. I have played with it like the bench sitters that go to the weight rack to be seen and not sweat. I have held the fear of failure and fear that the work will be too hard. I worry that it won’t be good.

Unfortunately what I have managed to achieve is worse. It won’t be anything if I don’t commit to the process.

NaNoWriMo 2018 Update (Warrior vs. Fairy)

I was/am super excited about participating in my very first NaNoWriMo. There is a lot about it to be excited about. What a neat little concept to challenge writers and want to be writers to commit to an average of about 1,700 words a day in the month of November to hit a 50,000 word count goal that looks something like the first draft of a finished novel.

Except I am averaging 281 words a day.

Well, in all fairness, my overall word count is much higher, they just aren’t all book oriented. I’ve done a ton of work with things I had already written, published a few more things here, and made headway on this writing thing actually paying bills. While those do not count for this particular project, I have decided they do count as considering this first full month of answering the question of “What do you do?” with “Writer” a win.

The actual act of book writing itself has not been the scary monster I thought it was going to be. It is true that the more you put words together, the more you are able to put words together. Writing follows the same rules as everything else in the world; inertia and practice payoff are really things.

I gave more credence to the power of what I didn’t know to what I did know. I have been so hesitant to write outside of my comfort zone (long form fiction) because I just couldn’t imagine how I could pull it off. How would I describe places I hadn’t been? How would I make real things that I knew little about appear authentic? Could I create a whole story of people and places I totally made up in my head? The answer is yes. I give credit to the guys over at the Self-Publishing Podcast for turning that lightbulb on. They talked about “writing around” those things you weren’t an expert on or that felt unauthentic. Eureka!

I thought that would be the hard part and the actual act of writing would be the easy part. Turns out I had it exactly backwards. Figures.

For nearly 18 months I have been trying to figure out the new rhythm of my life. I had grown very accustomed to the steady, waltz like beat of 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, of the time before. I woke early in the morning, if I was writing, I wrote. If I wasn’t, and there were long periods of time when I wasn’t, I filled the morning hours with other things to distract me from the fact that I wasn’t writing. I handled my regular life during the day – work, kids, house. I went to bed. 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3.

I now function more like an alien on milk at my first rave. My calendar has given up the ghost, I can’t even fake a schedule, and making sure the kids are getting everything they need to be successful is the only thing I can absolutely guarantee. Most days I can’t even tell you what state I’m going to be in. Learning to write outside of a set time or place and becoming accustomed to finishing projects in pieces versus one sitting is taking some practice. I’m kinda getting the hang of it, but learning that talent while working on a totally different type of project (i.e. a book) is a bit of multitasking that is not going well.

The way I write is a bit different too. Or at least it is becoming different. I am working on being more open and confident. I am attempting to become a more fearless writer. Sometimes nouns and verbs go together in ways that are a bit scary to own. In my life from ago, those things would be immediately deleted. Today, they are thoughtfully considered and sometimes allowed to breathe whatever air they need to work themselves out. This process has made it more difficult to switch to projects that aren’t real (fiction writing) or not about the work I am doing (that wedding toast that I swear Ann is going to be great).

So while I am finding greater peace and enjoyment, the clock suggests a bit of a challenge. I need to write about 7,200 words a day to “win” NaNoWriMo. Gracefully, the folks over there also offer another cute little stat – at my current pace I will still finish on April 27, 2018. And honestly, that doesn’t sound so terrible.

The warrior in me balks at that, chides the fairy side of self on settling for the out, finding the justification where ever it may be to give me comfort in accepting defeat and failure. I own that. I think there is some truth to the fact that I could have been more disciplined in the the task. I could have taken the whole thing more seriously and been more confident in just getting words on paper. There is a piece of this project that is a failure. I do not expect a trophy for simply showing up. And, while admittedly unlikely, who knows what magical word count feat I’ll be able to pull off at the end of the month. Ever seen Rocky IV?

But the fairy wins today. I will not apologize for taking the time I need and doing the things I need to do. I will not feel guilty for the mornings I chose to steal minutes in bed when I could have been up putting words on paper. I will not begrudge the chaotic because I am all too grateful for both the chaos creators and the freedom of life to rock the rave.

 

*Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

440 Days Later

August 15, 2016

When I first got out of the Navy and into real estate, I was operating on little start up money for advertising. But I wanted to make a go of it in a big way. While my funds were limited, I did have one big advantage – I was tech savvy.

In 2006, this was a huge deal. Websites, search engines, social media – this stuff was just gaining steam. I was easily adapted to this new changes and embraced them early on.

That and I really like the attention…and some part of me believes that putting all these words out into the universe will make me an accomplished writer some day.

(Look at me attempting to write more honestly without the fear of other judgement and side eye)

Therefore I have been on Facebook and Twitter since almost the beginning. As of this writing, I have well over 2000 pictures attached to my Facebook account. I’ve been adding pictures for a long time.

I met my ex-husband in 1998. We married in 1999. For those who don’t know, this was back when you had to take film in to get developed before you could see them.

Every single picture taken since the inception of Facebook has been taken while I was married.

I had not considered this until a conversation with a friend during my divorce included a general remark about processing, separating, and moving on after a divorce. The remark included the pruning of Facebook photos.

My first reaction was, “I’m not going to do that.”

I still feel that way.

First of all, what a monumental pain in the ass that has to be. To go through all those photos…the time, the emotional energy…yeah, fuck that.

Second, many of those pictures have our children in them. So there’s that.

But most importantly I just don’t feel it.

He was my husband for 17 years. While being married was something we could no longer do, we are still parents. I hope we can even be friends. Erasing pictures just seems dishonest somehow.

I had all the different thoughts go through my head…when I start dating, when he starts dating, when the last glass of wine makes my heart hurt, when the temptation to wallow gets too strong…what then?

Then I deal. Do you for two seconds think that taking down pictures changes any of those things? That somehow new people we meet won’t know we spent the better part of our adulthood married to each other? That it changes one single thing about what’s going on and how that fits in the story of my life? I don’t.

Honestly, I’m way more concerned about the “On This Day” feature…but I’ll think about that later…

So the pictures stay. Maybe I’ll think differently about it tomorrow. Maybe he’ll ask me to different one day and I’ll think about it again. But today, this is what it is.


October 29, 2017 (440 days later)

I did think differently about it tomorrow. I think about a lot of things differently. A lot of different things have happened.

As you can tell, I never did publish that little bit from up there. I didn’t have it in me yet and it just sat, along with quite a few other things in the draft file of uncomfortable things I have written and haven’t quite decided what to do with.

But it is time for me to discuss what is going on with some of this “push publish” business and address some of the really old stuff that is being republished.

My subscribers are going to get quite a few emails. I looked for a way to turn that off. I can’t find it. So you’ll just have to forgive me, maybe enjoy some old stuff or just hit delete. But I needed a new space. And I needed to, for the first time, wrangle all the pieces of me and my words in one place.

That’s not the easiest thing I have ever done.

  • Some of it is irrelevant. I’ll just retire it.
  • Some of it is really bad. I will either retire or rewrite it.
  • Some of it is untrue, no longer true, or whitewashed to suit the situation of the time. I will either retire, rewrite, or amend it.
  • Some of it blessfully, is fine the way it is and I’ll just republish it.

But there is a lot of it and I am trying to both create new content, complete projects for clients, and give the old stuff careful and due consideration. Oh, and I have committed to NaNoWriMo starting Wednesday. It’s a lot. I am hoping most of the reconstruction is mostly unnoticeable. But if you see it, your patience (and maybe a bit of encouragement) is appreciated.

Take that unpublished post from 440 days ago. I considered it. It was how I wanted to feel when I sat down and tried to figure out how I feel. But if you ask anyone who knows me even in the most cursory way, I am not the same version of myself I was 440 days ago. It is not the way I feel today.

Therefore, this post fell into the “untrue, no longer true, or whitewashed” category.

I considered what to do about it. I have decided that just because it wasn’t a completely accurate representation of how I felt then, isn’t at all the way I feel right now, it is a completely appropriate way to feel. Figuring out what to do to with the mountain of “stuff” left over after the dissolution of a marriage is overwhelming. Deciding what works best is such a nuanced and individual decision, I can’t imagine the gall it would take for one to declare the “wrong” or “rightness” of process. Whatever that amount is, I don’t have it. So I left it as a testament to the truth that people to the best they can with what they know. I know something different today than I knew 440 days ago.

But I obviously could’t just post it as it was. So here is the amendment. Where I am now. Why there is all this dust around the construction of my new space.

I am excited about the new turn the adventure has taken. I am looking forward to having the space and freedom to work out all the neat things that go on this beautiful world around me. I adore the sense of community it is already creating among folks who read something in the words, feel something in the spaces, and say, “Yes!” The biggest gift has been the freedom to just be April. To be able to sit down at this keyboard, do what it is I do, and know that my world is secure.

It took a little demolition to get here. The construction process is ongoing. You’re welcome to peek behind the curtain.

On Writing Rules

Just start with a word and see what happens…that’s the rule.

Write a little everyday, it should be a habit…that’s the rule.

Don’t censor yourself when you are writing; speak your truth even when it scares you…that’s the rule.

When you are writing, don’t worry about what other people think…that’s the rule.

I consider myself to be a person who does pretty well with rules. I am not typically a rule breaker. There was that one speeding ticket…and the way I refuse to run with traffic…but outside of that I am a pretty stick to the straight and narrow kind of girl.

But writing. I find it super hard to follow the rules when it comes to writing.

First of all, I really like to write about writing. I don’t know if that’s breaking a rule or not. But I am certain you are probably supposed to expand your field of subject matter outside of the very action itself.

Except there is something about the very action itself that is at the core, for me of all other subject matter. There is a ribbon through all the things that I am, see, do, taste, love, fear, dream, denounce and that thing is writing – putting words to my chaos to give that chaos some order.

Writing, for me, is the act of taking out the brand new puzzle, hunting for the end pieces, making some sense of the outline, sorting through the middle, and then hoping like hell all that work takes some kind of shape. Often times that happens for me and I get to look back on what I have written and think to myself, “There is is. That’s what I think today.” Life then moves on, sorted and in order so that I can continue experiencing and being a part of this journey that belongs to me.

Then there are the other days.  Forget finding any end pieces. It takes all the energy I possess just to open the damn box. Once I finally do get in there, there aren’t any end pieces, some of the pieces are already missing, and extra pieces that don’t even belong have been thrown into the mix. My brain hitches. Thoughts swirl. These days require significantly more effort to remain engaged and present as there is no order to experience. The ribbon is knotted.

Eventually the knot loosens and the order comes. There is always a first word, that beginning match of two end pieces.

Just start with a word and see what happens…that’s the rule.

There is no such thing as Writer’s Block (Take 2)

Alrighty, now that I got all of THAT out of my system (I think), let’s try this again, shall we?

“I don’t believe in Writer’s Block…Writer’s Block is something that people tell themselves; it’s not something that really exists…if you give them a writing prompt and tell them to write as many words as they can in five minutes, they will all write words. One sentence breeds another sentence.”
~ Grant Faulkner, Executive Director, NaNoWriMo

I know that I have said “damn Writer’s Block!” before. In fact, just yesterday I stared at a computer screen on and off for probably two hours just trying to figure out what word to write next.

I know what it is, firsthand, to feel the creeping anxiety that you will never be able to come up with another cohesive sentence again. To feel like every idea that you have ever had is used up. That every phrase you turn has been turned so many times before that you are one cliche away from being a fabricated pop song. I know what all that feels like.

So it is probably fortunate that Grant’s little declaration that Writer’s Block isn’t merely a myth, but a situation of our own creation, therefore controllable and not really a thing occurred deep in a conversation that had already cemented my opinion of him as someone to listen to. Otherwise, I am certain I would have dismissed the notion straight away.

As it is, I considered it. And considered it again.

This will shock you…but I have been known to be wrong. I know. Even more unbelievable is that I am pretty okay with admitting it. In fact, I will over analyze some situations just to ensure I haven’t overlooked the way in which I am wrong even after I have determined that I am, in fact, right. That’s the tactic I employed today. Convinced as I was that I myself could vouch for the validity of Writer’s Block, I needed to give the contrary its due.

“I feel like I have experienced Writer’s Block.” – True
“Writer’s Block is a subjective concept” – True
“I can 100% say that my feelings are always objectively correct.” – False

A subjective label determined by subjective methods cannot be objectively verified; I had to consider the possibility that what I had experienced was not Writer’s Block.

What would be characteristics of true writer’s block? The inability to put words on a paper. If someone offered me a huge sum of money or threatened some terrible consequence, could I, even at the height of the perceived block, put words together on paper? Yes.

Shit. He’s right. What I experience is not Writer’s Block…it’s Writer Refusal.

There are times I just refuse to write. Ranging from mismanagement of time to fear of rejection or consequence, I was immediately able to identify a myriad of reasons why I couldn’t get words on the paper. Not a damn one of them had anything to do with being unable and everything to do with being unwilling.

There’s a huge difference between unable and unwilling. Frankly, I can see why my soft self prefers the former. That one can’t be my fault. That one can’t be chalked up to my failure or my accountability. It just is and I’m off the hook. That’s a much cozier feeling that the latter – the choice, the willful neglect, the culpability.

So I find myself here, and it’s a pretty serious gut check. I have quit my job. I have declared myself a full time writer. I have insisted that there is a better than average possibility that this will not only make me happy, but can parlay into a dream career. The obstacle that stands in front of me is not one, despite previous declarations to the contrary, that I can shovel into the “oh well that just happens sometimes and I’ll just have to play Candy Crush until it passes” pile.

The obstacle is created by my own doing and it will only be moved the same way. There is not Writer’s Block. There are only Writer Choices. As I have declared myself the writer, it’s time to start declaring, and owing, my choices.

Thanks Grant.

*Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

There is no such thing as “Writer’s Block” (FanGirl edition)

“I don’t believe in Writer’s Block…Writer’s Block is something that people tell themselves; it’s not something that really exists…if you give them a writing prompt and tell them to write as many words as they can in five minutes, they will all write words. One sentence breeds another sentence.”
~ Grant Faulkner, Executive Director, NaNoWriMo

Before I get into the barrage of thoughts that this excerpt created in my brain, let me first tell you where it came from. Actually, in true “one sentence breeds another fashion,” the telling nearly spurred me into probably twelve different next sentences. Let’s see if I can keep this stream of consciousnesses thinking out of the ditch.

You may have heard that I recently turned loose my pretty amazing corporate job to be a full time writer. There may or may not be correlation between the timing of that and NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is this crazy little idea that suggests if you start on November 1st and write roughly 1,500 – 1,700 words a day, you’ll end up with a 50,000 word novel at the end of the month. Crazy? Maybe. But have you ever heard of the Robert Pattinson / Reese Witherspoon movie Water for Elephants? Well, it was originally a book…a NaNoWriMo book. So, there’s that. And there’s more.

I decided to do what I always do when I am trying to get my bearings straight – I google related podcasts. I happened upon these three guys over at the Self Publishing Podcast. The content itself is great. But the delivery is where it’s at. I could go on, instead just hop over there and check it out and I am going to try really hard to stay on topic.

As luck would have it, Johnny, Sean, and Dave had Grant on this week’s show. It’s one of the few podcasts I’ve ever listened to twice.

Ok, nevermind. I have some things I really want to work out about this writer’s block business and it just isn’t going to work right this second. So I have added “FanGirl” to the post title (which also happens to be a NaNoWriMo work) and I will continue with my love of what happened during this podcast.

Grant Faulkner and I are facebook friends now. Yeah, no big deal… (!!!!)

So the podcast first. I haven’t been listening long obviously, but the thing that keeps me coming back to it is the lack of pretense (and Dave). Because I have never had the opportunity to belong to or immerse myself in a writing community, listening to these guys discuss their craft, work around topics, move through the weeds, has been invaluable. These guys just write. As a great side benefit, it makes me wanna just write.

If you are not a writer, “just write” is not easiest thing on the planet. Probably because when you say it, what I actually hear is “just write really great, earth shattering shit all the time and be consistent and wonderful and productive and published and income producing…” Yeah, it’s a thing.

Except for when these guys say it, it really sounds more like “just write.” Period.

Now to Grant’s episode. There was so much real stuff in there. Mostly, Grant just sounded like a really good dude. If I wasn’t excited about NaNoWriMo before, I am now. Reminds me of the time I saw Andy Grammar in concert. I walked in sorta liking his music. I walked out a fan. When today’s podcast was over, I am a Grant fan and a NaNoWriMo advocate.

He called the process “improv writing.” He discussed the “yes, and” when moving through a story. They also talked about the “time hunt” – that process of finding the time (because it is there) to cater to that creative side and just write. There were talks about community, support, accomplishment, goals, expectations, and just being a writer.

Did you know Toni Morrison wrote her first novel in the small time she had among all the other things she had to do in the day? Me either. Grant breaks down the math … roughly 300/day … 10,000/mth … 120,000/year … boom!

I was in for November before the podcast…I am all in now. Thanks guys.

*Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Turn Around Tuesday Tailgate Party (aka Help!)

Nope, it ain’t Tuesday yet.
But I have some housecleaning
and decorating to do
and I need your help.
~April

I have transitioned to a full time Writer, StoryTeller, Content Creator, Consummator of Nouns and Verbs. It’s amazing and scary and wonderful and wild. Having the love and support available for this to even be an option for me is mind blowing.

I have been here before – writing for others. But it was always as a side hustle. As much as I enjoyed it, it had significant disadvantages – stress, missed deadlines, loss of focus, inability to produce quality work.

There is no more side hustle. There is only this. And I could really use your support.

1 – Let’s reconnect if we haven’t in a while. I know my life has changed a lot since the last run of TATs. I am sure yours has too.

2 – Share my stuff. The newsletters, the Facebook posts, the links. Check out other places here at See the Butterfly. You’ll see familiar stuff there as this is both a consolidation and the place for new stuff. If you enjoy it, share it. If there’s something you’d like to see there, suggest it. Subscribe to it.

3 – Recommend me. Been on LinkedIn lately? Check it out. Leave a review, click an endorsement. Met somebody who is looking for a story to be told, content to be created, copy to be produced? Let them know. Let me know.

4 – Keep me posted on how I can support you. I believe a rising tide lifts all ships.

Thanks for the coffee, the support, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

~A

Living in the Thinking Chair

I live in my Thinking Chair.

I don’t mean, obviously, that I am confined to or spend all my time in said chair. 

So, I just gooogled “live” in preparation for my next sentence after the crossed out one above. Funny how concentrating on semantics will lead you to a really neat insight. This. This is why I love to write.

 

I remain alive in my Thinking Chair.

Nearly my whole life I have desired a space, a corner, a chair. It would be only mine and it would be a safe haven for those things that restored my heart. It would be uniquely me with purpose and obvious function and feeling. It would remind me of those great movie scenes where the self assured, self confident, successful woman wore her too large, off the shoulder knit sweater that still made her look amazing and not frumpy, with her piping hot coffee sending steam in front of a beautiful non makeuped face and impossibly put together bed head, as she settled in to her well deserved Sunday morning in her space. I don’t even know if that’s a real movie or one I created. I’ve played it so often in my head it’s hard to tell at this point.

In this, the last year of my 30’s, I got my space. I got my Thinking Chair.

The search for the chair started out as a hunt for a reading chair. I wanted something that would fit nicely in the empty bedroom corner and was designed for long periods of comfortable book snuggles. I had a decent budget. So I started sitting in chairs. My older children joined in the hunt. The giggles at mom as she sat, lounged, floundered, threw legs over chair arms in the middle of furniture stores were plenty.

“Mom, seriously?”
“She has to make sure it’s comfortable!”

I indeed did.

Let me tell you there are some beautiful reading chairs out there. Round ones that swivel. Super soft ones that recline. Convertible ones that turn into a bed. And I loved many of them.

But I couldn’t pick one. While they were all within the budget, they were the whole budget. And while they were all beautiful, they all felt manufactured. It’s weird trying to describe this inanimate object as lacking because I felt it had no heart, but that’s exactly what was going on. I couldn’t find a chair with personality. I have a hard time spending time with people without personality. I guess that spills over into my chair preference as well.

Declaring the search over for the day, we stopped by the mall on the way home so the girls could get some craft stuff. I rarely find myself at the mall, so I had no idea that a large, second hand shop had opened up there.

And there it was. My chair.

I sat, laid, lounged, curled. I asked the associate if it was new as it looked like it had never been touched. She said technically no as it had come from an estate sale. However, I pulled cushions and unzipped covers; the thing looked brand new.

“Momma! It’s the Thinking Chair!”

 

Madison was absolutely right although I had not noticed originally. But her childhood nostalgia registered the similarity to the famous Blue’s Clues staple immediately.

And now, the Thinking Chair helps me put my clues together.

In this space I have my space. Just sitting in it suggests that I have made time for my soul and that is good. Being here gives encourages freedom from responsibility, permission to let my mind wander, safety to let my thoughts roam, comfort for the exercise of The Many.

I remain alive in my Thinking Chair.