Feeling Out Of Place

Feeling Out Of Place
Image provided by Dan Wayland
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dw2/

The assumption of belonging is usually taken for granted. Within your own family, chances, without reservation, are you are a member. When you walk through the front door of a home belonging to a relative, there’s usually a happy greeting and you’re offered a place to sit and told to make yourself comfortable. Often this happens with friends and colleagues too, but sometimes under limited circumstances.

All the same, some people don’t acquire that affectionate bond with such simplicity. Is it because these people have introverted personalities? I would think this is the case with some. With others it could be the possibility of being shunned, either for substantial reasons or circumstances that are exaggerated or fictitious. With still others, though the number may be minuscule in comparison, haven’t had the opportunity to develop these ties due to his or her life situation.

I’m one of those charmed people who live in a state of remoteness for all three reasons I give above. Let me assure you that it isn’t as climatic as Peyton Place or any other soup opera. This is just life as I travel down its path.

Most often it’s the first reason that puts me in these circumstances. Alone doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely. There’s a tranquility I revel in while I’m detached that cannot be obtained when other people are around, even the ones I hold dear to my heart. No one is expecting anything from me. All responsibility is what I choose to take or whatever I put on myself. Yes, I do take on self-induced obligations. I’m particular about some things so I make sure those things are in order.

The third reason I mention (I’ll get to the second one) is associated with my disability. Getting out and around people is extremely difficult in my present surrounding. I don’t have a vehicle to drive. There isn’t a public bus, train, or subway system here. Everyone who might be generous enough to give me a ride doesn’t live near enough so I can just hitch a ride. Outings must always be planned. Living in a small town doesn’t necessarily mean anything is really closer.

The second reason (I told you I’d get to it.) is the one and only that upsets me. Until I moved here, It never even dawned on me that I would ever be rebuffed. I am not without negative qualities. After all, I’ll an imperfect human being. However, any of those qualities that I’ve been aware of or have been informed of are ones I’ve rectified or, have at least alleviated. I’ve made amends whenever it’s been possible. Yes, I am shunned. To my knowledge, whatever has put me in this light is either distorted or fabricated.

Nevertheless, this is, in reality, just one of the bumps in the journey of life. I may wish with my entire soul that it was all different, but it isn’t going to make it so.

I handle this plight the best I can. I concentrate the extreme present moment, not dwelling on anything from the past, no matter how recent, or going into the future, even when it only has to do with tomorrow. Of course, I can’t work this strategy all the time. In many of those instances, I’ve either reflected on times when I lived where I was accepted and dream of the time when I can move to such a place again.

As I stated before, my predicament is not another version of Peyton Place. It’s just life happening with all its good and bad mixed up as usual. I see my solitude as my source of fortitude.

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How do you deal with your dilemmas that don’t have quick solutions?

“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.” Buddha

 

Is Writing a Lonely Venture?

Is Writing a Lonely Venture?
Image provided by marie-a-la-framboise
https://www.flickr.com/photos/marie-a-la-framboise/

I read a blog post last week that discussed the isolation associated with the craft of writing. (I can’t remember which blog it was now. If you do, please forward the URL.) The supposition was most writers are introverts at some level. Sitting alone to write page after page isn’t the sort of activity that, supposedly, would appeal to an extrovert on a daily basis.

I’m an introvert myself, so I can understand this line of reasoning. Even family gatherings can be a little too much for me. Two hours of  participation at those events is all I can comfortably handle. After that, all I want to do is collect whatever I brought to the festivities and vamoose. I’m more gratified by spending time reading a good novel or writing.

I’ve had family members try to pull me out of what they call my shell. Apparently they think I live in a vacuum of some sort because I’m not out there whooping it up somewhere. I get the distinct impression some of them think I suffer from a mental affliction that I need help with in some way, all because I gravitate towards physical solitude. They ask why I’m not interesting in what is going on outside of what they think is my personal sphere.

If they only knew. If they could merely comprehend what’s needed to be competent as a writer. If they just understood the difference between physical and mental engaging.

I find such pleasure in the written communications I have with different people while delving into the research and constant education needed for this craft. My time with the outside environment as I contemplate and wrestle with ideas in the realm of writing are filled with the fascinations I see, hear, and feel in the nature around me. The mannerisms and conversations I come across are marvelous. I watch and listen, hopefully with intensity, to gather schemes for stories and learn more about how dialogue and idiosyncrasies are formed.

True, I may be missing out on events due to how much time I spend writing and in the pursuits associated with this endeavor. However, the people who are avid spectators at sporting events (for example) are lacking the enjoyment of expression through written words. Each to their own, as they say.

I don’t think lonely is the right term to explain the environment of the writer. I think maybe solitude better defines the space needed to be an effective wordsmith. Moreover, even though this craft is at its best with solitude, if only within the mind of the scriber, that person may also be reveling in activities that include many other people too. Many writers have a “day job” in addition to their passion of writing. (It’s in quotes because some of those jobs are second or third shift.) This other job may be for monetary purposes, but may also serve as an outlet to be sociable. Writers, including the ones who are introverts, do need a little human contact. This, however, doesn’t mean we’re lonely.

I guess I could be considered one of the scribes who lives a life more in reclusion. Sure, some of the reasons are out of my control, but I love the quiet and am so glad to get back to it after being in the commotion I step into when I walk out my door, whether to do errands or to participate in gatherings.

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Do you think writing is a lonely profession?

Life can’t ever really defeat a writer who is in love with writing, for life itself is a writer’s lover until death — fascinating, cruel, lavish, warm, cold, treacherous, constant. ~Edna Ferber, A Kind of Magic, 1963

 

Weekly Recap 6/27

Pulling in on the reigns of my characters via plotting is proving to be complex. Would I have found it easier to let my characters show me the way instead of me leading them? No, I don’t think so. As difficult as plotting can be, pantsing this WIP would probably have been more confusing and overwhelming. I would have been sitting here perplexed about what should be coming into the next scene. Although I still believe that writing is an art form, it don’t have the abandonment that the visual arts have.

Still, there are choices…

Image provided by ShellyS  @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/shellysblogger/
Image provided by
ShellyS
@ https://www.flickr.com/photos/shellysblogger/

What is Journaling?

I had started a personal journal for the umpteenth time a few weeks ago. To my dismay, I just can’t get into the habit of keeping it up to date. Imagine, someone like me who lives for schedules and organization not being able to maintain a docket for such a simple activity. It’s baffling to me, to say the least.

First, the word, journal, can pertain to two different forms of writing. There’s the all out public form, which can also be called a newspaper, magazine, newsletter, or even a book (usually pertaining to academic journals). The second kind is a personal one that may be referred to as a diary (DO NOT confuse with dairy. The cow will not understand what you’re talking about.)

I’ve done both in the past. As a journalist, I written articles for a monthly newsletter put out by a regional branch of The March of Dimes. All of those articles gave information about disabilities and accommodations that the average person may not have heard about yet. If I was brilliant, I’d look into doing that again just so I’d make sure to keep abreast of new helps and procedures concerning my own disability. Does anyone have a bottle of brilliant pills I could buy?

I’ve done the latter too — many times, in fact. It started when I was ten. I received one of those little bound books with the lock and key for my birthday. Yes, my mom was pushing me back then to become a writer. You see, I was writing short essays, descriptions, and the rare short, short story as soon as I learned cursive in third grade. My writing wasn’t pretty like my mom’s but I was working on it. Lamentably, I couldn’t keep a diary up to date back then either. I would write in it for a few weeks until something more exciting to me caught my attention. It’s been that way ever since too. I’ll hit a card shop like Hallmark, or browse through the card section at someplace like Walmart and see colorful bound diaries. My next thought will be, “Maybe this one will inspire me to keep it up.” I buy it, bring it home, and start writing in it. A few weeks later I realize that I’ve missed five days of journaling. I try to keep it going again. Again, a few weeks later I remember that I should have written something in my diary eight days ago. At that point I don’t pull it out of the drawer. It happened this last time too despite the fact that it isn’t a physical book. I clicked into Word, created a template, and started typing away. I just cannot remember to write in it!

Yes, I’m disturbed by this. I can remember doctor appointments, people’s birthdays, to write something for my personal blog (without the help of a calendar, no less), and write on my WIP every day (yes, I have an alarm set for this one). Why can’t I remember to write exclusively personal stuff about myself and my emotions?

On top of all this, I find out that many successful writers keep a personal journal/diary. They track the progress they make on their projects. They note what’s working for them in their writing life and what isn’t. Ideas for new projects and adjustments for current projects come from these pages. The need for a personal written account becomes more important and this does include me.

Regardless, this past week I spent some time evaluating what kind of person I am, which is something I rarely do, I’m ashamed to say. What I want to say is I’m an introvert through and through — but I’m not. Oh yes, I am an introvert, liking the silence of the house after Hubby leaves for work, cursing every time I hear the phone ring, and shying away from crowds. Nevertheless, I do love having friends and family to have conversations with. The way I have found to do this, still keep my peace around me, enveloping me gently, is to converse online. I’d say I’m one of the active commenters in the blogosphere. And I do hope I keep people engaged with my blog posts.

While reflecting on all of this, I realized I’ve been more or less keeping a personal journal at my blog. Despite me being an introvert, somehow I don’t have any problem publicly journaling about my thoughts, about me in general. Sure, there’s a few things you out here in cyberspace don’t know about, but for the most part, my life is an open book to all.

Do I need that private secret diary? No, I don’t think so. At least I don’t need it at this point. Even later, I might go with a daily planner instead. Do you have a thought about this? Please speak up.

What I think I need now is feedback from others about what I think, do, and am. You, the readers provide that when you feel so inclined. It’s a fabulous give and take relationship we have without losing any of out peace and quiet.

Last Week’s Capers

  • Exercise: I flubbed up. The only excuse I have is that I didn’t feel good for two days, but doing the math, I should have been able to get all four days in any way with one to spare. As it was, I got two days in.
  • Searching for EBooks: I did find some, but I’m hesitant when it comes to buying any of them. I still have a couple of books about writing that I haven’t touched yet. As for fiction, I have four books sitting on a shelf waiting to be read. Maybe I’m jumping the gun a little on this.
  • Getting Out: I wasn’t outside much this last week. If it wasn’t blazing hot, it was raining. I do wish the weather would be a little more cooperative with me.
  • WIP: It’s amazing what a little planning can do. Some general plotting strategies seems to be what I’ve needed. This last week I managed to write 5,546 words. I’ve gone from 28,198 to 34,204 words for this project. The purpose of the larger word count isn’t for the numbers themselves. More words per writing session means better flow of ideas/thoughts.

This Next Week’s Antics

  • Exercise: (I’m looking up into the universe.) Please let me get in four good sessions on the stationary bike.
  • Get busy reading some of the EBooks on writing I’ve accumulated from writer’s blogs.
  • Let’s hope that the weather will be more cooperative with me so I can get outside more.
  • WIP: Revise the Setting Outline I got from Sherry Wilson so it’s more tailored for what I need. Try for another 5,000+ words again.

What are your plans for this next week? I know not all of the readers who grace my blog are writers. Don’t be shy. Tell me and the other readers what’s shaking.

A writer is dear and necessary for us only in the measure of which he reveals to us the inner workings of his very soul.
Count Leo Tolstoy

 

#IWSG: My First Wednesday

There’s a place online where writers can go when they’re feeling hopeless and insecure. It’s the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. On the first Wednesday of each month, members are encouraged to share their uncertainties and apprehensions. I thought this might be a place and way for me to get some negative thoughts out of my head and into the virtual trash can.

Image provided by Jason Samfield @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/jason-samfield/
Image provided by
Jason Samfield @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/jason-samfield/

I have a writing buddy and I believe we’re getting along famously. We email each other often. Still, despite the terrific support she pours out to me, I’m still quite timid about my ‘serious’ writing. This could stem from how I was brought up. My parents never ever helped my brother or me with homework. It was solely our responsibility to get it done. If we had problems with it, it was up to us to ask for help from the teacher.

I’m sure, to some of you, this seems cruel. Or you may be wondering if my parents were intelligent. I’ll let you judge for yourself. Both my brother and I were in the top fourth of our class; my brother was really in the top sixth. I’m not an academic as he is. My parents also got good grades in school and went to college. Unfortunately, because of economics, both quit college to go to work full-time. Time got away from them as it does with most, so their education was never completed.

Why am I so timid? My self confidence is in the minuses despite what I just said about my grades. It took some effort to write that about myself. I probably should have a health opinion of myself, but I don’t.

I was always an A student in English. I got A+s in my creative writing class in high school. I received A+s on my term papers and reports for college. I’ve been told right to my face that I have what it takes to write fiction.

I’m doubting this. Oh boy, am I doubting this. I read what I’ve written and want to run to the bathroom to retch. The words on the pages never read the way I have them in my head. It’s deplorable.

I can’t imagine that I’m the only one who feels this way. After all, from what I’ve read, many writers are introverted like me, and have confidence issues, again like me. How do these writers cope? How do they pull themselves through those cobwebs of skepticism that clutter the mind?

I know that all of us have our crosses to bear. I’m hoping that some of the other members of IWSG can help me bear mine.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Constricted by Circumstances

Constricted by Circumstances
Image provided by
Antonello @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/antonilic/

I met a life coach online a few years ago who struck me as the kind of man who uses his own life experiences to help his clients and blog followers. I’ve never quite needed his individual services but I’ve gotten a great deal out of his blog posts and emails. His name is David Stevens. He focuses his assistance mostly on people from the age of forty on up, which is a group (me included) that are sometimes forgotten in the major stream of life. His suggestions and advice are uplifting and, with me anyway, spark my own ideas on how I can live better and fuller.

David has a weekly newsletter in which he gives out little tidbits for his subscribers to try in their daily lives. Last week his newsletter asked a couple of questions about how a person can feel constricted in life.

In general, I feel constricted in my life by numerous things. I often find myself living by the rules of others.

There’s my disability, which I’m sure most are aware of the limitations this dumps on a person. I can’t go many of the places others enjoy. Indeed, there are places where I may not necessary enjoy but need to be at but can’t accomplish under my own power. I always need help getting there and it’s at the convenience of others, not always when I feel I should be getting to that destination. I’m constricted in other daily activities within my own home too. Yes, sometimes it can get significantly depressing.

I’m a strange conglomeration of introversion and flamboyancy. I prefer physical and mental solitude. I love the quiet with just the rustling of the leaves on the trees outside from a brisk breeze and the scampering of a squirrel trying to get to the other side of my backyard. I can definitely say that I like my own company. At the same time, I do like stimulating conversation with others. Debates, if civil, are exhilarating to me. And there’s nothing like good chitchat over a cup of coffee.

Yet, more often than not, I find myself in a world that doesn’t like either of my general moods. There seems to be so many people in my life that can’t live without constant noise. The TV is on even though no one is watching it. There’s conversations where people repeat themselves just so there isn’t any gap in the noise level in the room. There are people who won’t be quiet just for a minute; their existence must be filled with their relentless chatter. As for stimulating discussions that I like now and again, I end up with people who don’t want to hear about ideas different that their own. There are people in my life who would rather sweep unpleasantries under the rug instead of airing them out and finding solutions.

The first question that might be asked is why I put up with these things. Some of the people I’m referring to about are my loved ones. Do I just dump them because they’re too loud and obnoxious sometimes? To them, I might be appearing to be boring as times. Some people have a hard time psychologically handling any kind of conflict, no matter what the reason is or how it may help in the long run. Do I tell them to stop being so wimpy?

To lessen my entrapment, the one thing I can think to do that isn’t abrasive to anyone is to spent a little less time with my loved ones. This will certainly have a positive response with the introvert I crave to be. For those times when I want to be flamboyant, I’ll have to find a different outlet. Neither one of these solutions is going to remedy the confined feeling all together, but it’s a step in the right direction anyway.

Life isn’t perfect just as we aren’t. 😛