Monthly Archives: December 2014

Notebook

Where do you write?

Last fall, when daughter was starting school, I went to Target and found a very pretty pink notebook. At 8.5×11, it was larger than I was used to. But I liked the idea of something more substantial; larger pages to hold my thoughts. I didn’t consider that the large size would be harder to fit it into my purse. Harder to carry around every day. Harder to hold on my lap on the couch in the evenings. But I kept plugging away. And then I stopped. I opened it up this morning to see that the last date I wrote in it was December 1. Nearly a month. Have I really been stumped for a whole month? I’ve stopped by this space here and there, but apparently I just stopped writing during the whole crazy holiday month. Which is okay. We had fun. We baked cookies. We drove around and looked at the lights. We went sledding. We had friends over. We played air hockey. But now I’m back to writing. In two days it will be January. And what else is there to do in January in Minnesota but to cuddle under a blanket (or two) in front of the fireplace and run my pen along the paper.

Will you join me?

Writing Dangerously

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Santa slid this into my stocking last week and I couldn’t be happier. It showed up right when I needed it. The start of the new year. There’s no way I’m going to be able to follow all 365 days of prompts and inspiration, but I’m hoping to keep up with them as best as I can. This writing life isn’t easy.

I also read Ann Patchett’s Truth & Beauty over the Christmas break and I loved it. It brought me into the minds of two successful and beautiful writers, who also struggle(d) to get their writing done, one much more than the other.

And then the latest issue of Creative Nonfiction showed up in the mailbox and Jessica Handler’s essay, titled “How can you write nonfiction when you don’t have the facts?” has given me specific direction to get out of my latest rut.

Now I just need to get my butt in the chair. Where it is today. And hopefully it will be there tomorrow. k

Winter into Spring: 91 for 91

Well, I’m doing it again. Writing 91 words for 91 days. And I’m already a day behind. It was the first day of winter yesterday, but you’d never guess it by looking outside in these parts. We should have inches, maybe even a few feet, of snow. Instead we have dull grass and wet yards. We haven’t seen the sun in days and it’s been raining nonstop. I just got back from walking the dog in the rain. She hates the rain. But she loves the walks. So she’s willing to suck it up. We would both prefer a big dump of snow. It sure would brighten things up around here….

So into winter we go. It’s good to be back!

Blogging for Books: Stuck In The Middle with You

 

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I played for the club hockey team while I was in college. That was a long time ago. And both women’s hockey and I have grown up substantially. While I was playing there, anyone who wanted to play could. I had teammates who had grown up playing on boys teams, I had teammates that had never skated (nor seen the game) who joined us, and we had one player who had been a man a few years earlier.

She was big and strong and had a quiet demeanor. Until you got her on the ice. Then she was big and strong and had a slap shot that you never, ever, tried to block. Sorry, goalie, that one’s on you.

But that was over 20 years ago and fortunately things have changed.

Especially for our friends who are transgender. When I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. I had to see how things have changed, how I have changed since that time.

In Stuck in the Middle with You, Jennifer Boylan tells the story of her transition from a man to a woman, but more specifically from a father to a mother. Jennifer’s writing is approachable and honest. The story flowed beautifully, as did her transition to a woman.

Mixed into the memoir, she also included interviews with other writers, mothers and colleagues. At first I found these disruptive to the linear flow of the book, but as her story progressed they were a welcome interruption to the heavy topics. It also introduced another person’s perspective, which is hard to do in a memoir. Because the story is the writers, and the writer can’t place themselves in someone else’s head, the interviews showed other sides of the story.

I have to admit I read this book months ago. I’ve forgotten a lot of the details, but I know that it has stuck with me, she has stuck with me.

Read this book. If for no other reason than to peek into the house of a family of four that love each other unconditionally. And know that you’ll learn something about taking risks and following your heart.

Looking back at my college days, with my trans teammate, I only wish I could have been as accepting and tolerant as Jennifer and her network are.

And I hope that my former teammate has found her own place in the world, as a tall, strong, sometimes quiet, woman with a hell of a slap shot.

Robocop

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Meet Robocop. He’s a tree. A very large, very full, very handsome tree. We brought him into our home on Saturday, which was warm and sunny, okay, 32 degrees and partly sunny. But yesterday it was 5. So that felt warm. We waited for him to warm up and settle in and then we tore though tubs and boxes and went back to the store for more lights. We made homemade pizzas while Husband went to get those lights and then returned to hang more memories.

Daughter loved it. She’d find an ornament and hold it gently.

“Mommy? Is this a special one?”

I’d look down at the treasure cuddled into her hands. Most were not. But there were a few.

The felt cat in the stocking that my Mom made when I was her age. The little metal angel with my name engraved. The porcelain Bogey-doo that we hung front and center.

She understood the importance of each. She’s a gentle soul. A sweet soul.

So last night, when she was finished eating a dinner that wasn’t her favorite, she curled up on the couch, beneath the glow of Robocop and read her favorite book.

Welcome, Robocop. Make yourself at home.