Monday, May 21, 2012

My Heart is Still Broken

I realized something today on the way home from the grocery store. Actually, let me say that I remembered someone, instead. A secondly, let me add that this memory in no way takes away from the love I feel for my husband and family. Rather, it solidifies how deeply I have always fallen in love with the things that matter to me. Even when I was too young and naive to realize that emotionally, I'm a clutch-and-hang on type person who in turn, over time, has learned to also let go when necessary. 

That is a hard lesson to learn. 

Back in high school, I was madly in love with this boy. He wasn't an ordinary boy, as any teenage girl in love is want to say, but the perfect boy. That one incredible boy that made my heart race with even the mere promise of a smile. And when he did smile, my everything melted. My heart. My world. Everything. 

He was above and beyond all the boys I ever had secret crushes on. And above and beyond every boy I had ever kissed, giggled with, snuck away to a dark room with or held hands with. He was more than all that.  He was, in my mind then, the only boy that mattered. 

Both before and after he died...for, even, a very long time after he died

He wasn't from our school, so seeing him became a challenge. When our schools did get together for sporting events or choir competitions, etc...knowing that I would see him took mountainous precedence over what event was actually taking me to see him. And then we'd meet. And stare at each other when we thought no one was looking, and smile and pretend to be bashful, all the while staring harder. Getting closer together, until we were there, hip to hip and my nerves would do amazing things--all fireworky-like and fluttery 

I was madly in love with that boy. To this day, a part of me still is. Madly and completely. We never had the opportunity to actually be together, aside from when our schools would mesh. We tried. The last time his school played mine, we tried. His team was painfully superior to ours. We knew this and our school hated their school and especially him because he was so freakishly good at basketball. 

He was freakishly good at everything--honor band, straight A student, set to go to medical school and make his community proud. Despite his awesomeness, our student body and most of their parents still hated him because he was good. Did I mention, also, that he wasn't white like the rest of us? Oh yeah, they hated him because of that, too. Mostly because of that

That last game, I watched his every move. And he'd turn and smile at me when he could, in between the sweat and the running and jumping and scoring more points that game than he had all season. Inside, I cheered him--so loudly in my head that it threatened to burst out for real so they all knew, everyone on my side of the stands, that this boy mattered more to me than our entire team put together. 

They won, we did not and the aftermath was horrendous. Parents rushed the court. Our players started shoving. There was profanity and physicality and threat and he was ushered off the victorious court before he could be hurt. He turned and caught my eye that one last time, with a small wave of his hand, before he was swallowed by his team and led away.

Three days later, he was dead. 

I won't dishonor him by reliving how he died, but, ultimately, it was in a way that we, as parents, hope our children never do. It was preventable; so very, very preventable. And I could go into how I knew that he was dead before the phone call ever came in, and the apparition of the nun who visited me in the night, and the dream of a white feather inside a dresser drawer, which later was proven true. But I won't because those memories, on a much more visceral level, are mine and only mine.

But I will share how this one boy and those needful feelings that were both untested and tender, showed me as an adult how important it is to love. To grab a hold of your desire with both hands and grab tightly. And to love that thing, that person, that want, no matter what other people may think of you. 

You want to write because you love it so much? Grab it.

You want to start a business because the thought never leaves your head? Grab it.

You want to write music/paint/sculpt/travel...please, please. Just grab it. With both hands and see where it leads.

It seems that every time I doubt myself and my wild, non-traditional wants/dream/goals and I think I can't do it, I think of him. And I can still see his smile, staring in through the classroom window the last time we had choir competition together. I can feel his warmth sitting next to me on the bleachers where we said nothing but our smiles said it all.

We said, grab it! Grab a hold and let's see what happens. I hope that you will do just that. 


Friday, May 11, 2012

I'm so glad no one ever said this would be easy~

Last month, I announced to my friends and family on Facebook, that I'd finally (after 8 years) finished my manuscript. I may have been jumping the gun a little when I said it was finished (OK, I did); however, I felt that just having all the scenes written was a major accomplishment. 


Writing 90,000 words worth of scenes took, as you who write, very well know. I'm finding that this initial writing wasn't really the hard part. That was the fun part. The brainstorming part. The creative blast that soaked my computer screen with untapped, completely pure thoughts/characters/images/places and events.


Now the real work begins. A nasty little transition called Line Edits. This is where I take all my nicely squared pieces and patch them together. In a way that reads smoothly AND makes sense. If you understood my brain, you would see why this is not a good process for me. 


  • It is frustrating.

  • It is taking forever.

  • I cry daily.

  • I hate this manuscript.

    Most of the time I feel like a horrible wanna-be who can't. write.worth. a. damn. 


And yes, it is true. I did burn (a few) pages of my initial line edits because I. had. enough.    


Did not. OK, yes I did


A Quilter I Am Not--But I'm Learning 



I have friends who like to quilt. I'm talking those beautiful pieces of art that you can hang on a wall or in a museum or something. Those beauties that are much, much to meticulous and perfect to actually be used. These friends intimidate me because I have nary the skill or patience to complete such a long, long process.


Clearly, or I would have an easier time creating my novel. Though I don't quilt, I've come to think of this work in progress as a quilt of words. I made all the pieces-cut them just right so they fit nicely. I made sure all the colors and themes and shapes fit cohesively. Now, I use fine stitches to bind all those pieces together and watch the bits become a completed work of art. Once that is done, the artistic quilting will be applied--those finishing stitches that add a layer of beauty, depth and fullness to the quilt. 


I have until June 8th to draw my last stitch and show you, and myself, that something amazing can be created from a patchwork of pieces. A dream becomes tangible. Not to be placed in a frame on the wall, but held in your hand--cherished as that special something to chase the chill from the day or bring warmth to a space of nothingness.


Consider This a Quilting Bee


I'm not in this alone--luckily. If I were, the quilt would be a horrible, half-completed nightmare of loose threads and poorly cut fabric. Oh no. I've got my Betties, my quilting beauties to help me along. These are the critique partners and fellow writers, a cheering squad, to keep the stitching moving along. 


So, a big thank you to my writing Betties and hey, let's see if I can get this thing done, huh? You never know--I may be a better quilter than I thought possible. 


All the "quilt" pieces just waiting for a steady, stitching hand.


June 8th. Deadline. Got it.