Posts tagged ‘blogging’

January 22, 2012

Deb Margolin inpires me AGAIN!

Can I tell you something?

Every time I write something, I have this fear. I have this fear that it will be the last thing that I ever write. I am afraid that I will run out of ideas. Or, that my ideas will become a THING. I do not want to be part of the next big thing. I want to operate outside of that whole framework, outside of that flow of flashiness that comes and goes and before you know it, it’s on to the next big thing.

So this is not “shit writers say” or “shit widows say” or “shit mothers say” or even if it IS shit, it’s just shit because it’s shitty, not because it’s “the shit.”

Again, I am deeply inspired by Deb Margolin. Again, I have heard her play, “Good Morning Anita Hill It’s Ginni Thomas I Just Wanted To Reach Across the Airwaves and the Years and Ask You To Consider Something I Would Love You To Consider an Apology Sometime and Some Full Explanation of Why You Did What You Did With My Husband So Give It Some Thought and Certainly Pray About This and Come To Understand Why You Did What You Did Okay Have a Good Day.” (Yes, that is the full title.)

Only this time, instead of seeing her perform it in person, I just listened to her perform it on the radio. Live on wbai.org, just a few minutes ago. Just her voice in my headphones over my i-phone, taking me through this journey of frustration and yearning and bittersweet loving and aging and lamenting and poetry (oh, the poetry), while I washed the dishes, my son watching his cartoons in the background. And I didn’t think I could wait until the end of the piece to sit and start writing this. And at first, I tried to do both things at once, listen and write, but of course, I couldn’t.  So I settled instead for the listening and the warm water flooding over my hands, which seemed to make so much more sense.

Because you see, the words are flooding out of me. I am writing, then breathing a sigh of relief, and then a few minutes later, I want more. I need more. Like a sex addict, I just can’t be satisfied. I can’t get enough. I must put down more words, I must trace another path, another journey, another story, another wave of release, of sharing, of comparing, of touching you, whoever you are, just to connect, to know that I have been heard, to know that you know, that you recognize, that maybe you also feel what I’m feeling.

And I’m afraid. Deeply afraid. Afraid to want this so much, to need it so much. And yet, more afraid NOT to do this thing which frightens me deeply. Because really, when I take a little step back, I realize, I have already survived some of the most frightening things imaginable. Terrible losses, shocks, tragedies, disappointments, frustrations. And of course I have imagined even worse. And I know that there are people who suffer so much more awful and unthinkable things every single day, so really, what could be so bad about writing down what I feel and letting others read it?

Really.

What is the worst thing that could happen? You might not like it. You might not like me. You might not think I am a good writer. You might not enjoy my style. You might think me self-indulgent, maudlin, sarcastic, or even irrelevant. You might feel bothered, imposed upon. You might say, please, stop torturing me with your damn feelings, FEELINGS, blah blah, whatever. Shit, tell me something I don’t know.

Deb Margolin is brilliant with this play, because in it, she says so much of everything, but in a very particular, specific way. It’s a story about the experience of this one woman, Anita Hill, in this one moment in time, but it’s also the story of all women who have been harassed by men and then been powerless to have their voices heard and then ACTED UPON in the right way! And then it’s the story about her, Deb, but it’s also the story of mothers, who watch their children grow up and become their own people who don’t need us anymore, and then must contend with this world where terrible things happen. And other stuff about too many gadgets and dead birds and Bristol Palin…

I experience a strange thing when I hear this play of hers. Part of me is so filled up with the completeness of the experience. And yes, it is complete – this play is solid, and it is thorough and tight, and I can hear that it has been tightened up even more since I saw it performed in person (kudos to Deb and director, Merri Milwe). As I listened to it this morning, I felt as though it was saying everything there was to say. That there was nothing left. And I cried for being touched like that. For my own experience (yes, I identified with it so deeply) being so heard and so well articulated for others to share.

For example, “I don’t have time to dream things; I just need to do them. That’s how late it is…”

This speaks to me in a deep, deep way.

And so here I am writing about writing, and about Deb Margolin AGAIN. Because when something inspires you, it’s OK to let people know, so they can also be inspired. (Please listen to her play. I am sure it will be archived at wbai.org. If I get a more specific link I will post it in the comments.) Because I am realizing that I can write whatever I want, and that it’s OK if I posted something yesterday and now I’m posting something again today, because if it’s too much, or you don’t like it, then you won’t read it. And it’s OK if I put my feelings out there for you to share, because you might actually feel something similar.

Oh, and I think I’m going to change the name of my blog soon, because I’m pretty sure that this is original.

PS – The broadcast of Deb’s play has been archived! You can hear it or download the entire program from January 23rd, 2012 here.

January 21, 2012

Snow Time Inside

I love this winter snowstorm today. It is soft and gentle, like snow is supposed to be. Not so cataclysmic that I couldn’t go out if I really wanted to or had to, but enough of a motivation to make me want to stay inside at least for now. Somehow being enveloped in this white swirling cushion from the safety of my warm home gives me permission to let my mind wander and the thoughts flow unobstructed…

Life is so mysterious and complicated. I don’t know of any easy way to make sense of it all. Formulas that wrap things up in 10 easy steps, later seem more like platitudes, perhaps incomplete, vague or even empty, devoid of any meaningful resonance. Rules are broken, patterns become erratic, and contradictions upon contradictions render even our most solid assumptions doubtful, at best.

So what do we rely upon for guidance and truth when even our most reliable sources can fall apart under scrutiny? Even seeing is not always believing. Eye witness testimony is hardly considered dependable evidence, pictures can be photoshopped, video can be morphed into anything.

I suppose wisdom is an especially idiosyncratic body of thoughts. One person’s gospel is another’s blasphemy, and everything is completely subjective and relative.

That being said, there are a few things that I have learned from my peculiar body of experience. They work for me.

For example, I know that it’s OK to learn the basic rules and then go off and experiment. Once you hit a wall, you can go back and learn some more to facilitate your continued growth. I studied the flute for many years, and at a certain point began to enjoy just improvising along with recorded music. I would find new harmonies, countermelodies… much of the time I was stumbling along, but sometimes I’d find something that resonated rather deeply, and it would be so very fulfilling.

My son is just learning to play the recorder in school. He has learned a few basic tunes, and is still getting a handle on keeping his fingers on the holes to maintain clear notes. He’s so excited to be playing the same melodies over and over again. This morning I heard him playing along with a song from one of his favorite cartoons, Phineas and Ferb. He has the rhythm down – the melody not so much, but he’s slowly finding it. I did notice that his notes were very clear, and his tone is so much smoother. He seems to be gaining facility in keeping his fingers fully covering the holes. Progress.

Broken plans are not the end of the world. This is another one I have learned. When my husband was alive, we cancelled plans on a routine basis. The impermanence of scheduling was drilled into my head. He might have every intention of attending this party or that engagement, but on the day of the event, his body might have other plans. Sorry, we won’t be able to make it. And then we deal with the disappointment and reshuffle our expectations and move on.

Now, I make it a point to keep my commitments to the best of my ability. I might be a few minutes late (a different story altogether), but I’ll make it there. I will often go over and above to show my loyalty. Again, I may show up late, but I will bring everything I have when I do arrive. The fluidity of time and the ability to fulfill an intention in an unconventional manner are concepts that seem particularly suited to the complexities of modern living.

I sometimes think that my rapidly expanding universe only serves to confuse me – new people coming into my life all the time, with their opinions, perspectives, emotional needs… so many forces pushing and pulling at me, begging a response.

Then I remember that I have lived long enough to trust my heart. It’s not all chaos. The constant wash of information that I experience on a daily basis need not buffet me against ragged shores of resistance. I am actually learning to love the joyful chaos of random input. It’s as though my theory of throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks has been reversed. I’m now the wall, and spaghetti is being thrown at me. I trust that what is ready to be received will stick. The rest I can let fall away.

Sometimes, I become so responsive to things around me, I feel as though I will explode with emotion. I will hear a song, and all I can do is dance around. Music has always had that kind of effect on me. Sometimes a particular piece will make me cry. (The other day my son and I were listening to a piece of guitar music and we both found ourselves wiping tears away.) Or I may feel overcome by desire, or happiness, or excitement about an idea. Perhaps it is just the thrill of being alive, of knowing that I have choices, that so many things are possible.

When I was a young girl, I used to particularly enjoy going to school on rainy Mondays. I would always pick the brightest clothes in my closet to wear, and some of the kids would look at me like I was crazy. Somehow it always felt like an obvious choice. Why wouldn’t I want to brighten up a dark and gloomy day?!

This blog post was not on my agenda. I have a long list of pieces, many already in progress, that I want or need to complete. Some of them have been assigned, while others are just burning their way out of my brain. If I don’t get them out, I will suffer a painful sensation, a kind of mental/emotional constipation. So when something jumps to the front of the line, ahead of the others, like this, I know better than to block it.

And it’s a good way to start the day. Despite the snow, we have several parties to attend today. It will be fun to get out of the house. We might even wear bright colors, and we’ll try not to be late.

 

 

September 23, 2011

One Day A Solo View – Better Late Than Never

Wednesday the 21st was supposed to be the day I blogged a piece for a project called One Day A Solo View. Instead, it was a day I spent largely freaking out about a piece I’d written the day before that was not sitting right with me. Wednesday was freak out Day 1 of 2, until I finally realized on Thursday afternoon that I could go back and edit until I was more comfortable with it.

So asking myself to provide details of that particular day, Freakout Day 1, is kind of ironic.
It was a day I spent deeply questioning the entire point of blogging, sharing, giving up personal information about myself, my past, my family and friends… Frankly, still processing…

I’m fairly sure that the basic details of my day are fairly familiar – i-phone alarm, somewhat stressed push to get my 8-year-old to school on time, make sure the dishes from last night are washed, prep myself for a day at the office, wash, apply clothing, ignore many messy piles around the house until there’s time to really deal with them, and then travel to office for a day of outreach and marketing.

Stare at the computer, alternately monitor personal and business twitter pages, facebook pages, email, review and re-review the to-do items in Pivotal Tracker (project management software) and my yellow notebook including write emails, make appointments, edit letters, check the guest list for an upcoming event, follow up with various team members, collaborators. Basically, alternate between basic administrative / housekeeping tasks, creative development projects, business outreach campaigns, product development, and any other loose ends, scheduling meetings and other appointments, and try not to think of all the other stuff I have to do that’s not related to work.

In between, eat my yogurt and honey (breakfast), my leftover coconut rice, pan-seared codfish and stirfried cabbage & mushrooms in coconut sauce (lunch – SO GOOD), and later, wish I was eating pizza (sigh).

Walk to the subway through mid-town, noticing the myriad of police cars and road blocks EVERYWHERE, learn that Barack Obama is in town, and tweet about it.

Get on the train and play Free Cell on my i-phone instead of reading, AGAIN.

Meet a friend for dinner, (still wishing for pizza) and make a delicious marinated chick pea and artichoke salad, with raw carrots and green peppers to go with some kind of cereal crusted chicken breasts (yum).

Spend a couple of hours processing how vulnerable and raw I feel from sharing too much personal information online.  Go to sleep. Happy with the knowledge that Thursday night’s dinner will indeed be pizza. And realizing that blogging won’t solve that burning desire to express my deepest, darkest, etc. For now, it seems to be a damn good place to talk about food.

And leave out a whole lot of other details…

Photo courtesy of Foodies

September 18, 2011

Just write already… but don’t share it all, OK?

Seriously, what the hell is the big deal?

You wanna have a blog, you gotta write. It’s that simple.

I have always been expressive. Flute, ballet, singing, acting… Later on it was dj’ing, directing… But always writing. From the first diary entries back in fifth grade (shopping lists, mostly, and laments about being flatchested and boys that ignored me… ahem, clearly connected), to the later journal pages, poems, essays, short stories, plays… aaah, so many words.

So much crap.

It’s like that when you’re writing. Really, if you’re putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) on a regular basis, then 90% of what you’re writing is usually crap. But it’s the crap you have to get out of your system if you wanna get to the good stuff.

With me, I usually start out with overwrought cliches, trite phrases and predictable, badly mixed metaphors. Once I get those out of the way, I move on to talking ABOUT what I want to say. Finally, at some point, when I can calm down and stop thinking about who is going to read my stuff, how it might be received, and what I’m gonna wear on the book tour, I actually get to the point.

Once in a while, I lock into something that is inspired by something beyond my control. I like this. A lot. It reminds me of when I used to study the flute, and after a bunch of years, when I had practiced enough and started to develop some chops, I could actually play faster than I could read music. It was like my fingers had developed a mind of their own, and they would fly across the keys beyond my ability to consciously register their every move.

You wanna get to the really quality shit? You have to slog through the garbage. You have to practice every day. You have to get to where your ideas are flowing through your fingers faster than your mind registers the writing down of each and every letter. You need to put in your time, baby.

Julia Cameron had it right. That’s why The Artist’s Way is a classic, and has been translated into I don’t know how many languages, and she’s probably done very well for herself, thank you very much. Those morning pages are the real deal. Ya gotta do em. Ya gotta keep writing. Just do it.

But here’s the thing… You may want to think twice about sharing EVERYTHING you write. I mean, I know that every moment in your day is quite profound, and the level of detail you’ve put into some of those descriptions is, well… admirable. But you need to think about your readers. What are they experiencing as they read your stuff? Are you imparting anything worth sharing? Is there a lesson in all that verbiage? Some humor? Some insight into the human condition? Any advice? Words of warning? New information? Anything??

Blogging is a dangerous business. I know this. It’s very tempting to believe that because you can publish your words at will, that everything you have to say is worth reading. Sadly, this is just not the case. For most of us.

And believe me when I tell you, I am working to take my own advice.

Note: I have not been paid by Julia Cameron to promote her book or her online course. She doesn’t need my help to sell her stuff.

Photo courtesy of malsicuro

April 29, 2011

Boundaries and Blogging and Me, Oh MY!

Now I’ve gone and done it. I’ve launched this blog. Oh how I’ve fretted over this. Should I do it? Should I not? I once swore I’d never blog, because, well it’s just such a cliché, I thought. Everyone’s BLOGGING now, just like everyone used to go rollerblading, or channel surfing, or shoplifting – WHATEVER. I didn’t want to go public as just another ego driven “artiste,” turning myself inside out for whatever crumbs of approval would be strewn my way, while in reality, most readers would be begging, Please, go get therapy, and put us out of our misery. I did not want to be THAT girl.

Well, despite the kindhearted souls who have been generous enough to ask for my ID over the last couple of years (much appreciated), the fact is, I am now 50 and can no longer get away with being any kind of girl. I believe I have undeniably earned my place among women, and it’s a bit beneath my newfound status to indulge in the sort of teenaged, angst fueled yearning that has been behind so much of my writing thus far…

Here’s the thing. This medium of blogging… it really has the feel of, well, a diary. An extraordinarily public diary, true, but providing the same experience as scrawling in my 99 cent spiral notebook that I keep tucked in my bedside night table. Again, fulfilling that need to really be HONEST and just speak from the heart. So yes, you can expect me to share all kinds of dirt… on myself of course. Juicy, confessional type stuff. Borderline embarrassing, train wreck type stuff. I promise. To me, boundaries are like dares…

So then the idea is, what is going to be the THEME of my blog? I’m not trying to sell anything. Not yet, anyway… And I’m not getting paid to do this, so I have no one else’s agenda to adhere to, no editorial guidelines to follow. It’s really all about me. (Note: here’s an important clue as to why blogging is so popular – it’s a narcissist’s wet dream…) I thought about framing it in a particular aspect of my experience, or my identity, if you will, for example, my widowhood, or my motherhood, or my neighborhood (past or present) or even my creative and production experience (see linkedin profile for more detailed professional disclosure). But the fact is, none of these categories totally define me, and besides, I need to be free to ramble about old drug stories or sexual exploits.

Along the way, I promise to share interesting and important news about projects I’m involved with, organizations I support, and any other significant campaigns, events, bits of news or cultural offerings that I think are worth repeating. You can expect a mix of heavy and light, serious and frivolous. I won’t bore you with anything that already bores me. And if you’re good, I may even reward you with juicy stories or even erotic poems. (Note: because I’m finally a grown-up, I’m allowed to talk dirty and call it erotic. It’s true.)

And, full disclosure… if enough of you start reading this, I will be able to start charging for ad space and make lots of money off this damn thing… I mean, er, if you really do come to love me (fingers crossed), then maybe I’ll be able to influence the way you think about things that I think are really important. But either way, it’s all gonna be about me, or rather six degrees of me…

I’m so glad you’re here. Hope you stick around for the next installment…

xo

D

Photo by blueblitz