Tag Archives: writing

1000 threads

I  do not often post on this, my public site, anymore. It doesn’t mean I am not writing. Oh, I write. Writing secures a measure of sanity for me. I  write.

It has long been an indulged habit of mine to write toward someone, a witness if you will to what it is  I sense that I must address. I have moved that burden about over the years I have been again writing. Old friends and new friends alike have so graciously let me “write their way.” And that is no small sacrifice. I may not be profound, but I am prolific. I write a great many words every day. I write to compensate for much insanity about me, one I do not want to succumb to myself.

Presently, my best friend ever, forever has taken up the duty of at least acknowledging what I write, secreting it, asking me some good follow-up questions, and supplying prompts when further exploration seems wise. It is a great gift, the most precious of gifts, she gives to me in doing such. ( If you have done the same before, you have, I trust you know, saved my life.) Yesterday, we hit 1000 threads, in a little over a year of writing, well me writing ad nauseam and her responding or occasionally sending me something. Do you have any idea how many words that is? How many thoughts and considerations? How many questions I have posed to myself, tried to answer, and sought better questions to better address all that is before me?

It is a lot to slog through.

If you, especially you whose duty has been presently relieved, ever wonder if I am writing at all, the answer is, “Yes, I am writing… and writing…and writing.”

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table

Concrete to Abstraction writing with Miss Amber and company at her site. Always great stuff there. Check it out!

Mama and I often moved the furniture about her house. It was sort of our hobby. As the years went on and grandmamma’s and aunts did as well, she garnered more and more tables, side tables, dressers, beds and chairs. My Daddy says my Mama has enough chairs in that house: living space, basement and attic to seat everyone in their very large neighborhood. We are of the ilk that DO NOT sell furniture, at least not the kind that belonged to someone who was related by blood or love. It is a flat-out sin. Where I am from,  you can give it away to someone who will appreciate it or you can keep it; you cannot sell it. If it is in total dysfunction, and you cannot surmise a way to make planter or derive some other good use from  it, you can trash it.  But I imagine a burning would be more kindly looked upon than the trashing. Anyway, my Mama loves family furniture…she has a story for every mark made upon it. So it stays with her, under her care and watch, until she hands it off to me. She trusts me with the stories. I have now earned the right to keep some of Nana’s things. I also have most of my Daddy’s crazy Aunt Bea’s furniture.  As she never married and had no children, it fills my front rooms. But, I have Nana’s leather-covered end tables and green motif lamps which I love. I have her 1940’s radio. My mama has her better pieces: bedroom set, buffet, sideboard and table…I am not yet approved for the management of such. But, I do have Nana’s coffee table…I had it out in my living room, pre-children. But, it was not nearly sturdy enough for my hoards. So, I moved it to safer pastures, out of sight.

Nana’s coffee table is the piece of furniture which my hands know best. I ate almost every meal at her bigger tables: dining room or the pieced-pine kitchen one, if it was only me and Nana around to eat. But, my hands rubbed that oval rimmed coffee table silk smooth. I sat at it to play my games of cards or to make my own ovals in word find books. I remember rolling my marbles, bag left over from the forties, around the rim. I loved the sound of such. I’m sure my Nana and Dada did not. But, they let me do it, over and over. It somehow comforted my often disquieted soul. I think now about me wearing away the finish on Nana’s cherry coffee table with my marbles. It was well made, not a cheap piece for her army-life budget. I can see the rings I wore around its periphery and don’t imagine I would have suffered the same from my littles. But, she did. Nothing she had ever came before what was best for me. They gave me blessed space and precious quiet and the freedom to make what racket was mine to raise.

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books

I am linking up here with Amber Haines whose voice rings true and clear, trying with others to find our own. Go read Amber’s post which pulls on us all and the beautiful words of my people, fast becoming friends.

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When I was a babe, I sat in my playpen and looked at books all day. I turned and turned the press-board pages. I never sought release. I was a happy captive.

When I was three, My Dada taught me to read – or told me I could. So, I did. We read the funny papers and whatever else he thought worth our time. In his lap, behind that newspaper, I was given my life.

When I was four, my mama enrolled me in the church pre-school across the street. I went the first day, all excited at what I imagined they would teach me. I raced back home and splayed the pages of the new Readers Digest.  I could not yet make plain sense of it, so I quit. Then and there. Went back to studying with the Master and Sargent of my studies.

Soon, I could read most everything our librarian put before me. And I took to holing up in corners and crevices with my borrowed books.  They transported me and taunted me and tangled me up inside the way good stories do. They became my best friends, until I found my people who loved books as I did.

I say I want to write books, tell my stories… stories I have all lined up in queue, waiting on me, to be me enough and brave enough and able to give them attention enough to hear well the ghosts I must consort. The sense of them standing there, reminds me…Don’t forget…You forget things, now. Don’t forget, hurry to them. 

I drove all around the home to half of me this weekend. I heard some of those ghosts whisper hoarsely, “Tell it, sugar.” I thought of turning farther south, driving dirt lanes for forensic clues of where those whom neither me nor my parents ever knew died and I was really born. I’ve never set foot on any land they lived upon, it was of course, in another’s name. But I wonder, and sometimes I think I might find it, in my mind if not on a map.

A few years back, I sat with Brother Rick, Alabama’s Keeper of the Story. He charged me plainly, “You have to write those stories. They will die with you. Those folks deserve better.”

I know that is so.

Friends you may find here, in these electric pages, wait on me…my Aunt Bea and my Pop, my mama’s little war-time town, my young-guns, my nemesis and my Nana.

I have a few things to finish, first. But, my stack is shrinking.

Books defined my first years. It is my prayer that they will my last.

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raves and realizations

I’ve been reading over at Megan’s site this morning. Her moniker is FriedOkra, which, of course, I love.  And I love fried okra, not the “sit in steam pan, in the meat and three” kind, but the “hot out of the grease, heaven, but you might burn and not feel your finger tips, for a while” kind. Megan’s words are equally as satisfying… and I know my mind was HS seared as I read them. I could think of nothing intelligent to say in response, so I just said something not intelligent, but really heartfelt.

BTW, my daughter, Molly, a 13-year-old, Paula Deen want to be, whom I graciously let practice every dang night…(I have cooked 3-4 meals a day for us 6 forever and we had 3 restaurants for 14 years, I’ve earned it people) is a master okra fryer. Yes, yes she is. That alone commands a high dang dowry in this neck of the woods. So, to my thinking, Molly’s marrying and my financial future is pretty well in hand. What was I saying?

Oh, Megan’s blog. I read it this morning. She is friends with Leigh, my flesh and blood buddy, who is a real writer. Those two and several other of the greatest talents and hearts out there in Blessed Blog World managed a bonafide get together at the lake. You can imagine the magic of that intersection. Well, if you can’t, Megan so richly renders it out, in oils…and people, it is so dang beautiful, to see what she saw. The Holy Spirit’s help is all over what she shares with us.

As a small aside, (Don’t get side-tracked by my tale, Go read the post!) Jeremy has dubbed me the official Reflector of our merry band. We do things: deeply spiritual things, daring things, dang near crazy things…and it’s my job to help us know what happened.

The present moves so swiftly. I thought about that as I read Megan’s post. I wondered if she registered all she wrote about as it went down, or if she, like me, saw it out the proverbial back window – think 1970’s station wagon and that backward facing waaay back seat. I spent some time there.  Scarred/imprinted me for life, take your pick.

One of the things I too have discovered from the Contemplatives’ wisdom is that life can be appreciated best in that back seat. The Holy Spirit shows us little in the present, the future is a foggy land. But, the past is His playground. He helps me see more…And, those of us willing to sit in that waaay back,  we get to look at life lived  longer than the souls up front, facing forward and all. We get to watch it a while, in what might as well be slow motion.

So, instead of despising my own youth, I am trying to learn from that perspective which I was given. Nausea and gifts don’t seem to go together, but then when one takes into account pregnancy – well, that pretty much makes my case. So, I am climbing on back, picking up my pen and watching the Holy Ghost Slow-Mo, the way Megan’s does with such acuity here: (Don’t forget to go there!) There will be a quiz, students.

Back to my job as Chief Reflector.  I go with us…and heck yes, I participate. One can’t catch much in the moment. It’s not like photography. I ride the rapids, fly through the trees, and play the parental, “No you cannot jump from thirty feet in that tree rising 100 into the jungle canopy down into this black river that might be 20 feet deep in a crevice-like channel, even if the natives, who do not speak our language save Hollywood heroes’ names, are waving you on down. I promised your parents to watch after you.”

Anyway, my job is to watch out the back window, rewind the movies, see it all again, slowed enough for the sweet we gulped to settle on my tongue, and write with the best words I can. I’ve written accounts of Costa’s Rica’s breath-catching glory swallowing us like a dream. We have yet to escape it. I’ve no eyelid who would dare lift to do so. I’ve written of nightmare in Mexico – where God walked close to us, His breath heavy and audible… I’ve written of camp outs and early morning manuevers. I’ve written and written and written and done no justice to any of the brutiful glory that was. But sometimes, something I write cues a memory of life not chronicled with photo or that wasn’t even recognized as it occurred… and for another soul, the memory movie plays over through the dusty but familiar back glass window; and they see it, feel it and know deeply that it is, always is, too.

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the necklace

I’m linking up with Amber, another Alabama girl – who now lives in Arkansas. Her writing voice is creamy and sweetly salted like grits, fresh boiled and buttered. Grits are my go to when I am cold or cringing about something…likewise, Amber’s words always warm to me life and living.

I have a jewelry box whose cavity is crammed with necklaces: heavy gold numbers, I never now wear and should probably hock, slender silver chains which once held this or that identifying icon. There are presents from children, symbols of lush love, and Nana’s pearls which my Dada purchased for her in Japan; they in every way represent security to me. I wear nearly none of them, without a specific reminder..and those too have quieted, as my girls have found fashion.

I have just one necklace which I nearly always wear.  My choice of it is really about the fact that he, who bought it for me, got me right; he understood my essence. I am no demanding gal. The snobby girl I once was has thankfully been slain.  I climb under tables and on desks to make connections in my computer lab/classroom now, not up social or corporate ladders.

One side of the necklace is gold, the other silver. It’s one of those slide deals. He added several stones: real, not fabricated. The stones are commoners, a particular people’s treasure: agate, turquoise, moon rock or onyx. It is solid and substantial, earthy and unpretentious, but beautiful. It holds up well as I wind between crowded chairs telling a people’s story or woo would be sojourners over obstacles of our world’s worry, too engrossed in our journey to protect my person or possession.

I love it as it speaks of what I hold dear, and what kind of treasures I see. He done good.

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Mission accomplished, again!

I have droned on about being a writer, a real one,  for years now. I still want to be. I guess that I am a decent writer. But, you know what I do well? better than anything? I get others writing. I haven’t as of yet released any titles, but I’ve  released my share of writers. Some of you have always written, but never shown a soul anything you’ve penned. Some of you have rarely sat still long enough to get it out, but you did for me and now, well, you just can’t stop. And some of you just needed a believer to help you make commitment to take it to the next level.

Today, my Mississippi friend, blown my way, for a season, by a favorable wind, went public with what she can do, who she is. I could not be prouder. See why I love her so, here.

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Mrs. Sullivan, read that poem again.

Today I got a huge compliment. One of the new students who is in my BTS class introduced me to another new student, one I had never met. Their Bible class had been combined with mine for the day.

After we finished our class project, my BTS student called me over. “Mrs. Sullivan, read that poem you wrote us ( her BTS class)  again.”  I told her that I didn’t want to read it in the present class, it wasn’t directed to all of them, but that I would give her friend a copy to read. Her eyes fell a bit, but she seemed okay with our compromise. I can’t tell you what it meant to me that she wanted her friend to hear it.

I can only hope that the rest of her class heard me, my heart beyond my words. Sometimes, I have to dart and weave and look long for an opening, a mere moment when there is a cosmic break in the actions of distraction, and when such comes, step boldly through with words held in trust of that moment. The other day was such, I knew the words were connecting, at least for a few, and that we would change – who we were to one another would shift.

There are weeks, sometimes months between those moments in the classroom. I create and deliver standard meeting, knowledge building, wisdom imparting lessons day in and out, waiting, for moment to rise like a new moon, the least sliver, that shows itself.

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