Streaker

I didn’t address this yesterday but it was clear to many of you that I broke my streak of posting at 58.

The first day I didn’t write I didn’t even realize it. I flew to Denver, drove around to see houses, had dinner with a friend and collapsed into bed without giving blogging a thought. If that had been it I would probably ask for a mulligan and just extend my goal by a single day.

However I chose not the write the next day. It felt just like that cheat day on a diet. You start with a small piece of toast and end up with a carton of ice cream in bed at 11:59pm. I mean, you could have turned it around, but then you probably wouldnt need to diet in the first place.

By you I mean me. I don’t think any of you need to diet.

So that second day. That day of choice where I chose not to write is the one that forces me to look more closely at my 100 day goal.

I felt a little fuzzy about the motivation behind it even as I began. I am still not totally clear. When I woke up Sunday and realized I hadn’t written I felt terrible. So that is a bit of information. After I passed day 50 I really started to think I could make it to 100. Choosing not to write the next day reaffirmed that I want to accomplish this goal. I want to be able to say that I did something difficult despite the bumps and uncertainties of life I finished something.

Now I need to determine what will feel like finishing. Which of these ideas sounds fair to you. If you can offer reasons that will be great. Reading your thinking will help me inform my own.

1. Start again today (or yesterday) at day 1 (or day 2.) This has the advantage of clearly accomplishing my goal. This has the disadvantage of being really really hard.

2. Create a formula for missed days, then add them to the end. 1 missed day = 2 extra posts. 2 missed days = 4 extra posts, where each day missed = 2, 7 or n posts. If I never miss a post again I will have to add 4 posts to the count to reach the goal. Has the advantage of helping me reach my goal. Has the disadvantage of approximating the day care experiment. Do you know that experiment? Parents were consistently late picking up their children from daycare. So in an effort to incentivize parents to be on time the daycare began charing $5 for every 10 minute interval that parents were late. The administration (and many researchers after the fact) were surprised to see late pick ups increase dramatically. Parents who had previously been on time began opting in on late pickup. There are lots of theories about this outcome but in general it boils down conforming to norms being a motivator…and putting a price on tardiness made it a legitimate option.

3. Just pick up and keep going until I get to 102. This has the advantage of being super easy. This is the disadvantage of taking the teeth out of the challenge.

What do you think?

Staying undone

The faces are friendly but the words are not. They are piling over each other, in no real order sometimes agreeing, sometimes arguing, but not coming together. At least not for me.

It is only our second session, and I have chosen to have my piece read for my birthday. This turned out not to be such a great decision.

I have smaller, neater pieces. Not polished because editing is my weakness, but with their own shine. This one is more of a tapestry, and I knew ahead of time it needed help. So I brought it in and waited for wisdom, for people outside of me to see it on the page instead of in my head. I figured I could take anything.

I was wrong. Bit by bit, they confirmed my fear. They would pick out lines and metaphors and love them. But the overall arc was not a narrative. There was no there there. My attempt to write into existence one unified me seemed to have failed. Small suggestions hurt a disproportionate amount and I found myself crawling inside me shut down to the people whose role it was to get me to open up.

Many times I think through writing, and this was an attempt to stitch together a quilt of the bits of my life and relations, with squares of my father’s fathering and his dying. My mother’s mothering, and ultimately my acceptance of her (s)mother style, my ex husband and how his magic faded, and the variety of roles I imagined myself taking. Then the big break, the ending of the endings and the beginning of the “me” of today. This clearly false idea that once I was ready, had lived enough to claim myself there would be one self. A singular self, defined quickly at a cocktail party, or in front of my son’s first grade class.

In the piece was a paragraph which was meant to comfort the still fragmented me. That life is never quite lived, and a story is never quite ended. Even after science says so.

We are each so many things. As long as we are breathing our narratives are never done. As long as we have connections, our stories can be written past our lifetimes, in the ways people remember us, and the whisper of ways that our presence has effected the people around us, we show up as shadows in other people’s stories. We are there, even if we are unnamed and our roles unclaimed.

The essay was my attempt to make a tangible whole out of the disparate part of my past and present. To create a theme out of the themeless, a battle cry out of this march forward.

My group echoed my own fear and judgement as they suggested breaking it apart into separate stories, or picking one lens. Clearly it was not a narrative, and maybe it can’t be. Their voices, mixed in with mine were harsher than they were in real life.

Amongst it all was the question of honesty. Was I being honest enough as I wrote this. I can barely understand this question. The point of writing for me, this blog, essays, any non-fiction, is as an outlet for what is inside me at just this moment.

Is that honest? I don’t know. Might it contradict what I write tomorrow or wrote yesterday? I suppose. We are not fixed. And that is the blessing and the curse.

In fiction I love stories where the narrator comes undone. Something upsets the order of the life she has created or inherited and she goes head first into the muck,  flailing to stay afloat, learning strokes and then swimming with strength to shore to stand up and claim her new, true self.

Real life makes for a crappy storyarc, even if we each have a coming of age moment, after the fact we have rarely come of age. It is neither the coming undone nor coming together of fiction.

It is staying undone.

And hopefully growing thick enough skin to allow other people into the muck with you.

Part of Speech

This WordPress site is built on the “Verb” template.

How active!

What a wonderful template for writing, posting, promoting. It made me wonder how much like a verb each day is.  Which made me wonder about other parts of speech.

You have never seen a less design-y group of images than "parts of speech- images" on a google search. I dare you.
You have never seen a less design-y group of images than “parts of speech- images” on a google search. I dare you.

Verb– A verb asserts something about the subject of the sentence and express actions, events, or states of being.

A verb day is active. You are ing ing. This can be physical or mental. Striving towards the state of awareness is double verby. Things are not fixed on verb days. Running, writing, meditating, judging, accepting. Internal or external there is a lot of change on a verb day. It cannot be pinned down. That is for nouns.

Noun-A noun is a word used to name a person, animal, place, thing, and abstract idea.

A noun day might be the start of something that you can label. A new house day. A new baby day. A milestone day. Or perhaps it is the end. There is less motion in a noun day. It stands alone in the overall flow of life, some sort of stake in the ground. Representing that one thing. The noun. Wedding. Funeral. Puppy. Graduation. First steps.

Adjective-An adjective modifies a noun or a pronoun by describing, identifying, or quantifying words.

An adjective day can be effortless or effortful. Whether it is conscious or not it is a subtle adjustment to a noun day. Your noun day begins to have nuance and identity. Where the funeral was a fact, the poignant funeral begins to tell a story and weave itself into all other days.

Interjection- An interjection is a word added to a sentence to convey emotion. It is not grammatically related to any other part of the sentence.

This is pure feeling. No milestone, no relationships, no action. Depressed days. Feeling relief after hitting a deadline. Being paralyzed by fear. These are interjection days. Oh My!

Preposition-A preposition links nounspronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence. The word or phrase that the preposition introduces is called the object of the preposition.

Before, Beyond, beneath, between. The B’s abound. Preposition days highlight relativity. You are beyond tired. This run takes you toward you goal of a marathon. Its not about the run (verb day) or the marathon (noun day), but your progress.

 

 Adverb-An adverb can modify a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a phrase, or a clause. An adverb indicates manner, time, place, cause, or degree and answers questions such as “how,” “when,” “where,” “how much”.

An adverb day is an integrated narrative day, it relates to all other days and adds style, emotion and time frame to them. Plus it answers questions. How will you have that conversation with your mother? Carefully.

What is today? Is it any one thing? Or can you make an entire sentence?

Definitions of the parts of speech taken from the University of Ottawa. Who has an excellent google page rank.