With my key in my pants pocket, I head out the door for my last writing time at Highlights. My favorite spot to write is the porch at the lodge, tucked in a blanket, music on, bees buzzing and butterflies lighting on the hyssop. Key folds over my pocket, maybe I should take it out. No, it’ll be fine. I’m just sitting here and it’s not bothering me.
This place is truly magical. The Highlights Foundations goes above and beyond to make accommodations best suited to allow writers to create. I never even had to clear my plate. All my energy was free to pour into writing and thinking about writing.
I pare down too fat poems and realize the essence of others to get that double duty quality. Finish strong I always tell my kids. Finish strong I did. Couldn’t be prouder of what I’ve done these few days.
I leave my music on and my writing area set up so I could capture it for my inevitable fuzzy memory. Try this angle and that angle and walk out into the overgrowth to get it all. But my shuttle is coming in forty minutes and I still have a couple things to do.
I pack up my bag, except my music. I leave in on so I can walk with it. I never do this, but it feels right to do this today. I return the furniture I moved and the blanket I borrowed. Reach for my key. My key. I know I thought about taking it out. Did I? Or did I once again ignore that still quiet voice in my head that suggested I take it out but my louder, knows-best voice say, “It’s fine”?
I’m sure I listened to that louder voice. Again.
I’d bet my key is somewhere out there. In the overgrowth.
I’m a prayerful person. Not quite a prayer warrior, but I hope to graduate to that. I recently read to ask God to be a part of every task before you begin, regardless of how small so that He may guide me through it. I’m slowly putting this into practice when I remember (usually when I find myself in a predicament) and this was a great time to practice it. I prayed while I searched. I realized I ignored the voice that tried to help me earlier more than once and promised I’ll work on doing better.
Time is ticking and I still have a couple things to do and my key remains camouflaged. Darn ticking clock, a really great thing in a story, but not so great now, in real life. I need to find this green key chain somewhere amongst the green and growing.
I pray again. I’m sure someone can let me in, but I really didn’t want to make more work for these already hardworking people who care deeply for writers and stories. Once more through the overgrowth where I had seen a gopher just a couple days ago. Not sure I could tolerate the surprise of an unexpected assistant right now.
I see the green diamond that is a deeper green than the rest of the green and growing!
A prayer of thanks as I head back to gather my things.
With one foot on the porch my IPad starts a new song. THE song. The song that I have dubbed theme song for my main character of the story I’ve been trying to unbury throughout the week. New Life is the name of the song by Jennifer Thomas. New life is what I have in the protective care of my God. The tears came. He’s been with me all week, every step, whether I’ve asked Him or not. But it’s good to ask. Not because He needs it, but because I do.
My daughter was at volleyball camp and I had a rare afternoon alone with my son. I offered to go for a bike ride with him and get some ice cream. He turned that down. Granted, it was raining a little. Instead, he said he would like to draw comics together. Did he see my eye roll? Did he hear my internal guffaw. “I’m not a good drawer,” I told him. Hello, where did my facility with the English language go? I wasn’t even going to consider the word artist. So drawer it was.
To which he showed me
Thank you, Jedi Academy and your evil creator, Jeffrey Brown. Ok, maybe not evil. Maybe spot on. I want to encourage my kid to draw, right? But he wasn’t supposed to turn it around on me. My self-imposed limitations have been a well-stitched-in part of my fabric for a while. But I’m a mom and I can’t let my negative self-talk become his. Right? With my head in a defeated droop I follow him to the table where he is quick to the draw with a sheet of paper.
I grab a pen. Yep, no eraser option. He’s all smiles and I’m all question marks.
He sees me staring at this blank paper and encourages me to start.
“I don’t know what to draw.”
“Draw a fluffy creature who wants to make a friend.”
Oh, how it comes so easy to his imagination.
“I don’t know how to draw fluffy creatures.” Dang, a negative self-talk escaped when I wasn’t looking.
HE encourages ME.
I’m a doodler.
Abstract, I call it. Nothing with bodies. Floating heads are okay in my world. But a comic strip with characters and three squares to get to a punchline? That’s a lot of pressure. AND my kid’s watching. He went after the comics that are more like Marvel and I went toward my background with comics, the funnies in the paper.
He’s tearing through his paper. Rounding out his first comic while I marinate, after explaining what marinate means.
I see he’s not going to let me off the hook so I draw a line for the first box. He plays peek-a-boo with my paper while I get some ink on it. And he keeps cheering me on.
So, by the time he finishes his sheet, I have the first box done and not sure how to give it a punch line. He’s OK with that. I tell him I need to marinate on it some more, but I promise to finish it. He’s OK with that too.
Here’s to my son who wouldn’t accept any of my excuses. The next Peter Brown? video game designer? architect? oh the possibilities!
(Did you notice, ALL FOUR?, I couldn’t even think through one! AND the back of the paper is filled with Olafs.)
And, here’s to not giving up. To turning off the inner editor that is screaming at everything I should’ve done differently. And to total vulnerability with those who are suffering to push past their comfort zones too.
Sound the alarm!
Sound the alarm!
There’s a rumbly monster outside!
It’s getting nearer.
It’s getting closer.
It’s coming for us!
It’s passing us!
We’ve got it running for cover!
You better keep going you yellow-bellied giantly rumbler!
Our alarm has worked!
We have protected our people!
Now we can return to sleep.
or maybe a good bone would be better.
Yes! I could go for a good gnaw.
That monster got me all worked up.
This bone will get me all worked down.
Just gnaw, gnaw, gnaw
now grind, grind, grind.
Now the other side.
gnaw, gnaw, gnaw
grind, grind, grind
OOH! Sue’s eyes are open.
but she’s not blinking.
she’s just staring
I better make sure
She’s not moving.
I think I’ll go sniff her.
Her eyes are following me!
I bet she’s proud
of the way
the rumbly monster away.
Now she’ll give me
the best good morning scratch
Phillip Larrea, a poet from California, is credited with creating the poetic form called Tricube. It is deceptively simple. Three stanzas. Three lines per stanza. Three syllables per line.
Time to play!
time to write
Towel* wrapped bod
wet foot prints.
Dash through house
kids not shocked
“It’s just mom.”
drip down too.
*Okay, towel is technically two syllables, but not when you say it the normal way, right?