Personal Ponderings


DSCN4806.jpgI’ve gone through so many changes the past few years, when I look at the contents of my various blogs and websites, it just feels like it’s not representative of me anymore.No more kids at home. Can’t remember the last time I baked a pie. I cook for the freezer a little bit, but it’s not my go-to form of cooking anymore. Still living frugally, but not because I’m trying to find ways to feed and clothe five people on a single income. Just because I’m broke.¬† ūüėȬ† Everything has changed or is up in the air.¬† In many ways, I feel like I’m rebuilding my life from the bottom up.

I feel like it’s time to make some changes in my online activities, writing projects, and websites/blogs. No definite plans yet, but just sort of thinking out loud here.¬† I know I’ve mentioned on here that changes are coming, and I’ve several times thought I would implement those changes.¬† But I just keep feeling torn about which direction to take.

I finished my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Poetics three years ago, so I’m planning some projects inspired by things I learned in the MFA program. I did finish an experimental book of erasure poetry, Bad Things Happen,¬†that was published two years ago, but readers seemed uninterested in reading it. Evidently my more esoteric creative projects need to be done for love, and not for readership.¬†

We’ve suffered some major relationship upheavals in our family, too. Long story very short, I’ve been estranged from my kids for three years (I will not share details, please don’t ask). It’s the most gut-wrenching, soul-crushing thing I’ve ever experienced. I was suicidal in the beginning, but have come a long way since then.¬† With the help of counselors and support groups, I’ve learned to cope with, and accept, the unacceptable and unimaginable.

This¬†blog used to be called “Life: The Journey” and documented our family’s experience with my husband’s degenerative brain disorder. Many readers found it helpful and I was told it was inspiring to others going through difficult, senseless experiences.

Sometimes, I feel like I’d like to share the things I’ve learned over¬†the past three years as I’ve traversed this latest journey. Grief, heartache, rejection, depression, suicidality, hopelessness, hopefulness, mental health issues, physical health, hospitalizations, etc.

Currently I’m going through a class on DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy). Each week, I find I learn at least one — often more than one — thing that I find so helpful. I’ve been¬†wanting to share some of those ideas and practices with others. Simple ideas that can help people cope through difficult and challenging times.¬†And even just the mildly annoying times we all face, even in the best of times.¬† ¬†I’m tossing around the idea of sharing each week something learned from the DBT class.¬† I asked folks on my Facebook page yesterday,¬†and several people expressed interest in that topic.

Anyway, I thought I’d just think out loud here and see if any of this resonates with anyone.

Sincerely,

~Debi

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California Calling …

This afternoon I sat in the sun and finished reading California Calling: A Self-Interrogation¬†by Natalie Singer.¬† Natalie was one of my fellow students in¬†Graduate school, so it’s exciting to see her book in print.¬† It was just released the first of this month.¬† Those of us in the MFA (Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Poetics) program were able to see much of the gestational process of Natalie’s book.¬† I feel like I saw this book take shape from it’s earliest embryonic forms through it’s formation into a portion of her Graduate thesis and now into its fully formed incarnation.¬† I’m so proud of her!¬† And I highly recommend her book, especially if you have any¬†familiarity with California, or if you¬†just find the coming-of-age¬†journey from immigrant¬†to hometown California¬†girl fascinating to explore.

While finishing California Calling today, I was struck with how similar many of the themes Natalie deals with in her book are to themes I’ve been wrestling with in my own writing the past couple of years since we graduated from the MFA program.¬† It almost makes me wonder if something about our studies, readings, and discussions triggered similar thought processes?¬† I’ve been doing the background work on a creative look at my family’s history from Puritan immigrants to New England, and then migrating over the Oregon Trail, and eventually following the fishing industry to Seattle.¬† While Natalie’s family history focuses mainly on her life, my intended project will focus on my ancestors’ journeys, but their lives will be viewed through the eyes and sensibilities of their modern day descendant, me.¬† I’m not sure yet what format the work will take.¬† Short stories?¬† Novel?¬† Poetry?¬† Historical fiction?¬† Hybrid genres?¬† It’ll be interesting to see how it comes together over the next couple of years.

I plan to take a physical trip to the locations where my ancestors lived as they moved West.¬† I have a very¬†place-based sense of history, so I want to immerse myself in the sights and sounds and scenes of the parts of the country that were home to my ancestors.¬† Although the places will have changed, probably beyond recognition, I feel a deep connection with places when I know some of their history.¬† Anyway, I’m looking forward to my travels — not sure when it will happen.¬† Need to get the funds together to be able to afford what will probably be a two to three month journey.

I’m still not posting on this blog as much as I want to, so I think I’m going to just start posting shorter things like this as I think of them.¬† Does this shorter off-the-cuff format work all right for any readers out there?¬† Not even sure how many folks are out there reading regularly.¬† I know it’s not thousands like it was in the heyday of my books and newsletters, but even if it’s only ten readers, it would still feel worthwhile for me to keep at it.¬† Actually, even if it’s only one or two, getting in the habit of writing regularly is a good practice for me.¬† So I guess I need to do what works best for me, and if anyone’s out there who wants to come along, you’re welcome to join me.¬† ūüôā

And with that, dinner’s calling ….

~Debi

(Maybe that’s¬†a title for a future book — Dinner Calling?)¬† lol