Archive of ‘writing workshop’ category

Sometimes, Writing is Living.

If you’re a writer, you can’t stop writing. You just can’t. If you do, the words build up inside like some kind of mental log jam.

You get a little cranky. A little jittery. Sentences bounce around in your skull. Word pictures bloom unexpectedly. And it all becomes a chaotic mess that you can’t quite fit together in a sensible way.

At least that’s the way I am. And what I’m dealing with today.

I haven’t written here, in this place that has always been a sacred part of my daily routine, for an entire week. And let’s face it. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted regularly.

That’s not entirely a bad thing. While I haven’t been writing, I’ve been out living.

I celebrated my baby girl’s third birthday—and managed not to shed a single tear (at least where anyone could see me).

I planned—and cancelled—a birthday party at the park (but that’s a story deserving of its own post).

I’ve done approximately 20 million loads of laundry and made a good start on conquering the eternal mess that is my home (but that is also a story worthy of its own post).

I made my first Easter dinner. Pretty much on my own. Me. The girl who’s always said she couldn’t cook. And you know what? It didn’t suck (another post? yes.).

I quit one job and accepted another (but I won’t write about that yet. Don’t want to jinx things. You understand).

I’ve gotten into a treadmill routine, and am slowly but surely remembering the joy that moving your body brings.

I’ve played on playgrounds, built a playhouse and spent lots of time looking at a certain little girl’s gorgeous smile.

Tori smiles

But my fingers are itchy. I need to be here. I need to write here. I need to fit writing into living.

I need to write. Even when the words are jumbled up messes.

That’s what a writer does.

Proudly linking up to Just Write.


Just Write: Sprigs of Hope.

There is dirt under my nails as I type this. Not because I haven’t scrubbed them. I have. But because I spent my weekend down on my hands and knees in the dirt. And I was happy to be there.

The first daffodils

As the clouds floated across a fresh blue sky, I started the yearly task of setting my gardens to rights.

I cut down the brittle fronds of tall grass that still reached for the sun, earning myself more than a few stinging cuts in the process.

I dug up the first crop of green invaders, dragging at least 500 different kinds of weeds out of my gardens with a satisfying yank of their roots.

I opened bag after bag after bag of warm red mulch, filling my lungs with its deep piney scent and spreading it around all my sprouting darlings.

And through it all, Tori puttered in the background. Sometimes digging beside me, sometimes chattering away to herself as she played with her dolls, and the bugs that live under the rocks, and the fairies that live in her imagination.

Tori helps me in the garden

She made me recipes with mulch, scattering great big handfuls all across the outdoor chairs that became her impromptu kitchen.

She stomped through my gardens, earning herself snipes of righteous indignation as I tried to protect my little seedlings.

She collected lovely flowers (dandelions) and brought me a bouquet.

And she periodically threw herself in my lap, whining to go inside before giving up and wandering off.

She did, in other words, all the things I remember doing as a little girl while my mother gardened.

I remember how boring it could seem, and how much I sometimes wished she would stop and pay attention to me. But more than anything, I remember feeling contented. Peaceful.

I think, on some level, I knew my mom was happy there. That while she puttered among green growing things, all was right in her world. And knowing that made me happy too.

Now it’s come full circle.

I’m the one finding joy in the deep, dark dirt. And my daughter’s beside me, soaking it all up.

I can’t even tell you how right that feels.

Just Write: The Ordinary Edition.

When your life is full of things you want to remember, how do you pick just one thing to write about—one moment to focus on?

My brain is bursting with little blasts of color. Tiny pockets of emotion that I hope don’t get swallowed up by time.

There’s the image of my daughter holding on to my mom with all her might—lower lip pouting as she prepared to say good bye again. And the tears that I had to choke back as I drove away, wishing with all my might that they didn’t have to go.

Then there’s the laughter that filled my morning. A morning that should have been dreary, like the leaden skies that pressed down us. The memory of my daughter racing around and around and around the car, rejoicing in the feel of the fat droplets splashing on her head. The feel of the cold water pooling  into my shoes as I stomped stomped STOMPED in a puddle with her, grinning as the rain ruined my hair.

And I can’t forget the quiet comfort of an evening spent burrowing into the couch with my husband. Once the toddler was in bed, and the worries of the day were cataloged and put away, I curled up with my head on his shoulder, taking comfort in his steady presence. For a moment, my mind was at peace. A rare thing, indeed.

Then, of course, there’s the smell of the IU conservatory stuck in my nose,  the humid air rich with the heady scent of growing things and dirt. And the beautiful vision of green fronds pushing up toward the ceiling, transporting us away from our late winter doldrums and into a tropical paradise—if only for a moment.

They’re all tiny moments. Just the little events that fill an ordinary week. But I feel better for having written them down.

I guess sometimes, I really do have to…just write.

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