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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

on horizons and fear




It's funny when you are driving, focused on the road and the bend and that car on your left, you lose sense of your surroundings. The horizon becomes blurred. The clouds, the trees, the buildings, you lose sight of the big picture. Especially city driving, right? Pedestrians and snow plows and all the traffic and noise. You can't look at the sunset or the slant of light in the trees.

You just drive.

There is something nice about this of course.

Just drive. The road. The cars. The turns. Keep going.

I have been driving a lot lately. I commute to the city twice a week to teach. It is one hour each way. When its sunny and the roads are clear its actually nice. For all the above reasons. My mind has something to focus on. No real wandering. In the snow though. Damn. It is BRUTAL. It took me THREE HOURS to get home one day. THREE HOURS. I nearly had a heart attack. The wind was blowing the snow so hard I couldn't see anything.

But. I survived.

That is what we do right?

We survive.

So I feel like this is my life lately. I have been driving for a year. Turn signals. Roads. Pedestrians. Snow plows. Throwing the occasional bag of fruit snacks to the kids in the bag seat. Always something to focus on. Very little time for my mind to wander. To consider the horizon.


And then. You get to your destination. Or maybe a potty break. HAHAHA. And you get out of your car and you stretch and you look around and breathe in the fresh air and you are like DAMN WHERE AM I?

This is basically me this month.

DAMN. SO. HERE I AM. OKAY. UMMMMMMMMMMM.....

Disorienting as hell.

Freeing too.

But.

Mostly weird.

I am still stretching my muscles. Testing them. Everything works? Legs? Check. Arms? Check. Heart? Still pounding. Lungs? Deep breath. All is well there too.

And now. NOW. I am contemplating a step. Where do I walk to? What now?

So then I get all freaked out and I get back in my car and I circle the block and listen to podcasts and that one song blasting.

Then I park. I stop the car. I get out.

Stretch. Testing each step.

Okay. I am here.

I think I need to be out of the car now. Maybe? I don't know? Or I could keep driving? Where am I going again? Where am I? Who am I?

Sometimes though it is good to say all this out loud.

When you have been on a long car ride without a destination you can feel rather disoriented. Directionless. But that kind of confusion is often just freedom. Freedom. I mean. That is different. But often just as scary.

So. I bought myself some prescription sunglasses. Only noteworthy because I have wanted them for YEARS but just now can afford them. So here I am. Driving. Breathing the fresh air at each stop.  And squinting less at the horizon, in the bright sunshine of my new life.

Ride on mamas. And then get out and stretch your legs. Life is really damn good.











Friday, January 4, 2019

thoughts on story-telling

So that was quite the holiday. Little baby guy came down with pneumonia. On Christmas Day. Me. In a hospital ER. Canceled holiday dinner plans. No where to go. No food to celebrate at the house. I definitely went home and had a frozen meal while Little baby guy watched PJ Masks (bigs were at their dada's house, which is a whole other reality that is making me feel hazy about the holidays....just too...off.)

And now it is post-holidays. (Thank you Sweet Baby Jesus)

And Little baby guy is headed back to school.

This morning I got the Bigs off to the bus.

Okay Little baby guy. Time for school. Cue screaming tantrum over getting dressed. Poor guy is still sick and has been transferred from the toddler house to the children's house for three-five year olds because, as they put it, he is too verbal. HA. In any case.

I am thinking what to do and I say, hey, want to hear a story?

He pauses.

I get in his face and softly tell him the story of the little boy who grew so big from the sunshine that he had to go outside all day and his mama missed him but when the night sky came and the sun went to bed he shrunk back and went into his own bed and kissed his mama goodnight the end.

Not my most creative endeavor. But it worked. So all the while I am getting him dressed and we are downstairs eating and then....screaming over getting his coat on and I don't want to go to the Big Kid school.

Another story. Once upon a time there was a little boy who wouldn't put on his coat because he missed the sunshine so much. But the winter wind was stronger than the sun and blew him all around so he put on his coat and went out with his mama and smiled at the sun and remembered summer and the flowers and butterflies that would come.

Again. Not creative but it worked.

Cue another screaming fit. (I am going somewhere with this I promise) I am kneeling next to him as we stand in front of the door to his new Big Kid School. I want to go to Little Boy School he cries! So I say, do you want another story?

Once upon a time there was a little boy. And even though he was very little he was very brave. And he went to Big Kid School with all the Big Kids and had a fun time the end.

Tell me again mama, he whispers.

So I do.

And he marches into that room and puts away his bag and all is well with the world.

My point?

Stories have power over us. They guide us. They heal us. They instruct us.

Which is why my story I want to introduce to you today is so special to me. It isn't profound, or worthy of awards, or even a book contract, HA. (Too many dystopian novels out there! They all told me) But it is lovely. And fun. And it is mine. And it saw me through so much.

I wrote it five years ago. All 100,000 words (that is a big-ass book, if you are wondering) and I was editing it over the past few months to get it ready to put up as an e-book I noticed something.

This story, is the story of me, walking out of postpartum depression. Really it is.

I started it with a vision of a girl, with a dagger in her mouth, walking in a tunnel underground. She is crouched low, toxic slime dripping off the walls. She is on the defense, but also on the move. She has to save her people, but she is so alone, and it is so dark, and it is so hard.

This is Lydia. My girl.

She and I walked through some hard times but, we make it out. We are making it. Something like that.

And then other characters emerged. They were parts of me too. Queen Riona. Mama Bear. Warrior. Fierce. Self-sacrificing. Mikko, loyal and faithful friend. Cronus, the rebel troublemaker with Snape-like qualities who ends up....I can't tell you it will spoil the story.\And his wife, Denae. The raw emotions of motherhood and birth came out writing her.

And that is what story telling does. It frees. It enlightens. And hopefully, for you, it entertains.

So. Read if you will. Tell me what you think. And please, share with somebody you think might like it! (Pretty please!) Book Two is cued up to be available next month (the end half of the original book I read, each volume is around 40,000 words, totally manageable!). Books Three and Four are sketched and ready to be written over the next few months.

Click here if you want to download. Hugs and love people.




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