Getting Back in the Game – Day 5 Pre-Write

Here’s the deal.  I’m better. I was sick all weekend with sinus-whatever (bug from student-love at school, most likely) and could. not. function. on. the computer.  So not only could I not write, I couldn’t catch up with my NaNoWriMo word count.

I must be some 3000, 4500 words behind.

I don’t care.  I’m staying in the game.

This lag will just force me to think of storylines all day long into the foreseeable future and keep my little notebook by my side during all day, which is the Way of the Writer *rolls eyes*.

Today I felt much better and stayed home from work to convalesce, but I had to catch up school work I couldn’t do over the weekend.  So no bad-girl sneaking in writing.

My plan now is to shower, pray and meditate, then attack until it’s time for bed.  God first.  You first, Lord (please help me! I’m so bad!).

Why am I telling you this?  Because I’m bad at writing-commitment and I need to get it down on screen to guilt myself into following through.

I’m such a wannabe.

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I Cheat – Day 1- Pre-Write

Slept all day, fever.. whatever, I can’t stand to think about it.

Third dose of medicine, and in 10 minutes before midnight, I’m feeling better.  I think I’ll put in my 1500 words today

Problem is, I’m supposed to write before midnight — and enter my word count into the official NaNoWriMo site before the hour turns.  That’s in 10 minutes.

Instead, I copied over my first day’s 1520 count and entered it in.

I’ll be up for another hour making up my little lie.

1520 words, here I come.

Suspice: On Bad Habits. and Having a Temperature of.. 100 Something. – No-Write – Day 2

Purgatory

What adult takes their own temperature?

Here’s this:  I left work without bringing my usual schlep home – laptop, roller bag stuffed w grading stuff, box of more stuff to grade.  I just grabbed my writing bag, my phone, straightened up the place a bit and walked out for a Dr’s appointment at 4:15.  Two Thursdays ago, I woke up with a pinkish eye (it wasn’t pink eye) that disappeared throughout the day.  A friend said I was probably coming down with a sinus infection.

She was right.

My head was a ball of fog today. After we picked up meds, I came home, showered, cuddled up on the sofa to watch a movie with the kids, and I could have sworn I took my antibiotics several hours ago.  I was so concerned about taking them on a full stomach, I consumed a hamburger, fries, 2 slices of pizza, 2 ice cream cones.. what else?  I feed colds.  I’m desperate to get better, you see.  So I’m telling my husband, “what else?  feed me!” and when I was done, I could have swore I took that medication.

“Didn’t I tell you guys, ‘Wow, I feel better already’?  I took this medicine — Daddy gave me this medicine!” I was telling my kids.

“No, Mom.. you said that right after eating halloween candy.”

I give up.

Tonight, I gave up First Friday Mass (I want to cry).. prayer, meditation, the Office & keeping my Lord company.. then writing for NaNoWriMo.

Instead, I  bummed around Twitter. Gawked at a tormented soul, not really saying anything productive, being a loser. When I could have been typing up my 1500 words.

Now it’ll take me days to catch up .. it’s really, REALLY a pain to fall behind.

When you begin a writing project, you want to establish a rhythm and stick to it.  This helps create the habit. My commitment was to establish these habits, but in a proper order, blessed by God.. because I’m done not including Him in my wanna be writing life.  He gave me this gift.. He gave me the ability to see, have a mind and heart that wishes to express.. He gave me to think of Him always.  Why would I not include Him?  Truly, God is my plan.

Tonight, I kinda wrecked it, sickness or no.

I could go on.. write tonight.  It’s still early(ish).  But, honestly, I’m sick. Stinking sick. I’ve already written 400 words.. expressing myself in this medium is easy.. but to do so creatively is an entirely different animal.  To get into the 1500-range tonight will be brutal. Just absolutely brutal.

As it was, I was blown away by last night’s efforts, I finished at about 11:30… and I was just .. exhausted. My little sickness already wanting to come to the fore.

I am not feeling better.  I already gave my husband an earful:  when my kids are sick, I immediately want to get their medication inside their sick little bodies.  Why couldn’t someone take care of Mama?  Now I can’t write!.. 🙂

I’m okay.

I give up early Mass tomorrow, another heartache, but hopefully I can get to confession tomorrow.  Grade papers all day.. and write intermittently to make up for the loss of 1500 short story words.

I’ll get there.  I don’t give up that easy.

Thank you, Lord, I know you’re in control.  I am so unfaithful, so take everything & all of me, the little I an offer.  Suscipe.

Please deliver the family and friends of those I know, those that I love from purgatory — from this world and the next, Amen.

AMDG, All Souls’ Day. 

1520, First Story – Day 1 Thanksgiving

Mary and Jesus

My head tilts back as my eyelids coax my brain to just. go. to. bed.

I’m happy.  I wrote paragraphs.  I wrote the most cheesiest little story about this guy who spends sleepless nights alone because his girl left him.. and he ends up wanting to walk in front of a car going some 35mph.

Then he hears bells and follows them.

Yeah.  Overt.  I’ll get there.. my goal is to write life. And find that grace that we all eventually see.

I’ll get there.  In 50,000 words or less.  All on Chant like I did tonight (Abbey of N.D., Veronica, don’t forget.)

Thank you, Lord, and my Mother.

Thank you and God bless…

AMDG, All Saints’ Day

 

 

All Saints’ Day – Day 1 Pre-Write

All Saints

My Brothers and Sisters in heaven, pray for Christ’s Church.

Lord.. I want to feel your presence, you know this.. I’m so weak.

***

Ok. Twenty minutes of prayer and meditation with Jesus after Mass today — drive home, sat in car while everyone filed out.

I was irked at hubby before celebrating All Saint’s Feast Day today, grumbly in the pews — self-deprivation syndrome, I’d woken up from a nap after school and there was yelling in the house before we drove over and it provoked a bad [childhood] response, it’s been a looong time since that’s happened — but as soon as Jesus’ Body and Blood appeared on the Altar, Glory to God, I was settled in my soul.

Settled now, although my self peeks out and still has bristly feathers.

I’ve asked for Our Lord to just tell me He’s hear with me.. because I’m just horrible about sitting still with Him.  Today was an example of definitely experiencing His Presence because there was Naughty Me — I-Wanna-Pick-A-Fight-Me — and then there’s Jesus is Here, Nothing Else Matters Me.  That’s what I want, always, but I know I have to discipline myself and sit in a chair, pray and meditate on a daily schedule, rather on family time.

Yes, this is the life of a Carmelite.  I struggle, but I aspire to abide with Him always.

***

So, I fulfilled my commitment today to contemplate before writing for NaNoWriMo.

Here we go.

AMDG, All Saints’All Saints Day

On My NaNoWriMo Commitment – Minus-1 Day

Teresa

Yeah, no, there’s really nothing to see here.

I’m a wannabe writer, just like everyone else.  Super wannabe.  Stupid wannabe.

Why stupid?

Because I know better that to just dump on a blog post, but I do it anyway.  As I’ve gotten older and have greater command over my thoughts, I understand the importance of going back and thoughtfully revising my words.  The problem with that is that I’m a woman of my word — and the way my soul works, I’m unapologetic about what I say because I want to live and operate in grace.

In grace.

You see how that works in a wanna be writer?

Stupid comes from lack of maturity in writing for my part.  I am full of fits and starts.  Just.. absolutely terrible.  I’m an old puttering car that can’t make up her mind if she her carburetor is taking in enough air to make it past the first page.  Stupid comes from knowing I’m to draft — yes, let the ideas come, but have the discipline to follow through to finish the project.

Every year I say I’m done with this attitude and I have yet to really conquer it.

This year with NaNoWriMo, I’m taking a short story collection approach:  I’m just going to write.  Bounce around if I want to, let my writing absorb some of my internet-ADHD — hopefully, that will keep me off of social media.  In fact, I’m relieved I’ve got this writing project this month because I need a serious, serious distraction from all the time I’ve spent on it.  It’s not productive.  I haven’t been productive.

Anyway, that’s me.

Everywhere Else

Last year, I blogged my NaNoWriMo experience at Puro Veronica.  I established that blog as a connection to my online writing-teacher community, Two Writing Teachers.org.  I returned to teaching after staying home and raising children.  I was cloistered, drawing closer and closer to God.  Before my return, I joined the Carmelites.  I’ve been trying to reconcile living in the secular world ever since — reconciling my writing life, my Catholic life, my family life, my identity, everything. This year, that means moving away from Puro Veronica, which was a tribute to what I imagine my Dad would say to me if he could.  You can find more thinking about my Dad here, at I’ll Give You All This And More.

See?  Everywhere.  This must be my 25th blog.

I stand behind standing against the world.  I want to make my stand here, which is why you’ll be getting NaNoWriMo spiel from this blog.  I hope you don’t mind.  Catholics — especially writing Catholics — need a space to take a stand, express themselves, communicate and grow.  If I can’t talk here about what a pain it is to fight the demons who deign to distract me from the talent God’s given me for His Greater Glory, where can I go?  He gave me prayer, yes, but He also gave me a mouth.  I need to speak.

Here’s my commitment:

1. To write from my Catholic soul.  Which means I will pretty much do my Carmelite thing.  It’ll be good.. because I intend to do this for Advent leading up to Christmas.  It will be beautiful, I can’t wait!

2.  To plot and plan daily.  Notebook ready.  Think and feel on the page.  Express.

3.  Find & speak with fellow writers.  Which means not to isolate myself.  Catholics tend to do this, for whatever reason.  We don’t mean to.  It happens, mostly because we turn inward.  We grow silent as we contemplate our last end.  But this doesn’t mean we can’t seek out and love, be with our neighbor, enjoy you in this present moment.

4.  To find that writing time and stick to it.  I think .. I’ll try early mornings.  I think.. I’ll try writing outside.  I think .. I’ll try to move beyond my old, late-owl habits.

5.  To write after contemplation. Contemplation first, writing afterward.

+++

What have you been moved to do?

AMDG.

 

Dress Rehearsal for NaNoWriMo

I’ve got about 15 minutes to write, while my tea steeps and cools down — because recently I like to go to bed with a seriously warm tummy, I’m a child wanting to be lulled to sleep with hot milk.

This is in preparation for NaNoWriMo.  Which is no prep at all, really.  I’m going to end up winging it like I do for most of my life.

—-

A woman Slowly rounds the corner of an abandoned warehouse that sits alongside a stretch of abandoned railroad tracks. There’s grafitti on the walls, piss along the edges. Her hat and sunglasses shield her from the blinding Texas heat.  She edges her walking stick along the building where it meets the ground.

A young man sits on a brick wall, rolling a cigarette.

He slides off his perch and walks over to her while she makes her way between bumps of weeds and abandoned cardboard boxes melted by the rain.

“Hey,” he sniffs. What are you doing?”

“What are you doing?” she responds..

“I’m done watching you from that wall for about 15 minutes.  I’m bored already.”

She’s silent.

He approaches her and pats her shoulder.  “Lady, did you hear me? What are you doing?”

Still silence.

“Are you deaf?”

“No, I can hear a lost man when he speaks,” she says, still rummaging among weeds.

“Lady, you’re wasting your time.  You’re looking for crap that’ll only give you $1.00 by the shopping cart full.”

Still silence.

“What do you think you’re doing, lady?’

“Looking for gold,” she tells him.

He laughs to himself and looks up at the sky while he pulls his lighter from his back pocket.  “There ain’t no gold in all of Austin.”

The woman’s stick stops moving, her aged face slowly turning to face him. “But, I found you..”

***

30 minutes and a few revisions later.  Still lacks detail.. and, of course, the symbolism’s obvious. Nice first try, Veronica.

AMDG

On Chaos in My Life.

Wifes_grave_kizhi

I am at the Tomb.  And I am facing my disordered life.

I am Catholic.
I have been married for 25 years.
I have 5 children.
I have been a Secular Carmelite for 8 years (ish).
I go to Mass more than once a week.
I frequently read Scripture & holy literature.
I am resolved not to curse.
I try to think well of and bless all people, friend or foe.
I am aware of the Way of Perfection.
My goal is be holy in this life and the next.

But there is still great chaos in my life.

I let laundry pile up. (kids’ duty.. but silent, infrequent reinforcement)
I let dishes pile up. (kids’ duty.. but still limited reinforcement)
I don’t cook meals as I should.
I stay up late doing hub-bub instead of focusing on my day.
My bed is made, but my room is a mess — stacks of books, stacks of books, at least 1 foot-tall pile of work papers that need sorting. The same can be said about the living room-kitchen.
My walls have needed painting for the past 5 years (at least).
My garage is hell.
Front yard? What front yard. The back? What a sorry state, my poor neighbors.
I wait until the last minute for most things.
I’m not a good planner. (What do people mean by 3-, 5-, 10- year goals?)
My children watch too much TV, are way too attracted to tech and devices (me too), the internet is a limitless demon I hardly do anything about despite THE FACT that I am more than intimately familiar with it — and it has accompanied me throughout my adulthood.  I am a digital denizen, circa 1991.

Chaos.

But God has graced us.  I’m telling you this because we’re in the upswing and putting this out there is committal for me.

Here’s committal:

It took almost 2 bottles of wine, but I finally got around to asking my adult children (21, 23) what their pathway to holiness was.  What were they doing with their free will to pursue their zeal for God? What were they GOING to do with their free will to pursue their zeal for God?

I asked the free will/zeal for God question after taking a 1-hour catechetical inventory of what my children knew and understood about Catholic doctrine, tradition and Scripture.

They had just come back from the vigil Mass on Saturday — I had sent them off to meet visiting Grandma (which I never do, we visit and travel as a group).  But no, I had already been to Mass in the morning, a great sadness was visiting that moment and I needed time to figure out what it was.  I felt.. alone.

Kids go off, I’m there with my husband.. we get into .. something.  There is great clarity of mind.  I’m even-keeled, rational, non-reactive.  For a woman, this is important to note.

He goes on to retrieve something from his work, he’ll be gone for an hour or more.

He leaves, I weep.  This sadness in my soul has come to a head, but God shores up my soul by the time my children arrive, fresh from Mass with Christ’s Body and Blood recharging their soul, their veins, their mind.

For months, they’d heard murmurings of the crisis in the Church.  We’ve already had table-side discussions about what it all means.  They heard the rumblings.  But the moment they entered.. I can’t even tell you how it all began, the questions I asked, the beginning.  God knows.  He took control of that.

It was about preparation.  The Church is going to change.  Your tradition and doctrine faces exile, do you know what that means?  You don’t?  What do you understand about tradition?  And doctrine?  What’s the difference?  Where does Scripture come in?  How are we different than Protestants?  Why are they hungry awake and Catholics are lulled to sleep and complacent? Why did Jesus come?  Why was it important for Him to come as a child and not as a full-grown man?  Who rejected Him?  What did His Passion signify?  Why do Catholics have the crucifix in their Churches anyway?  How many gospels are there?  Who wrote them?  Who wrote the rest of the New Testament?  Who put together the New Testament?  Why is that important?  What is “The Canon”?  Who wrote the rest of the New Testament?  Why did Paul preach to the Gentiles?  What is Vatican II?  What is the Traditional Latin Mass?  Why is it important?  What is Modernism?  When did Modernism take root?  Why do we need to be informed of these things?

etc, etc, etc

Shock and awe.

There’s a story behind our conversion.  Re-conversion, conversion-conversion.  What our children know reflects the ebb and flow of our fervor throughout the years.  That’s another story to tell.  I will get to it when I do NaNoWriMo…

But the crisis has forced my hand.  I know God is near me, with me.  But He watches me as well.  I know He has infinite patience with my flaws and faults.. but that ends upon my death.  That’s when I’m accountable.  Above all things, I have a proper fear of God that drives my awe and inspiration, my seeking of Him, always.

There is no way.. NO WAY I can teach what my soul has learned about my God over 40 years, how He is, what He’s like, unless they have this same reverent, holy fear of God.  This is the beginning.

I don’t see that yet in them.  Maybe I thought it’d rub off.. but that’s .. you know what that is.

It’s time.

I’ve got to get to work.

AMDG. St. Mary Salome. +++

 

On NaNoWriMo.

de sales icon

I’ll be praying to St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers come November.  Actually, now.  I need his help in figuring out what to do with this writer’s itch that won’t go away.

The story goes like this.

Last year I did NaNoWriMo.  50,000 words, typed up in a month.  It was painful, but a great feat for such a scatter-brained Mom of 5 like me.  I squeaked out a pathetically-written novel losely based on my husband’s experiences as a kid living in the Rio Grande Valley.  When I was done, I wasn’t convinced fiction was my schtick, most likely because I don’t have the time to do the planning necessary for composing a full-length work.

It’s taken me about 15, 20 years to understand this — and it’s been my writing teaching experience that’s helped me understand all the pieces involved — so I get that fiction may not be in the works for me.

As for NaNoWriMo, in 2017, the time was right, and I want to do it again.

Yes, I’m in a different space, spiritually, emotionally, spiritually, than I was a year ago. This year, some ideas I have are:

  • memoir essay collection
  • Secular Carmelite formation/memoir in response to secularism
  • Catholic formation/memoir in response to secularism
  • Traditional Mass formation/memoir in response to.. the hell that’s visited the Catholic Church.

or some combination therein.

I’m still a strong believer in propagating the Faith according to our talents, especially to counter the error and evil out there.  What we say, how we live, why we believe needs to exist to dispel propaganda and lies.

I don’t think enough Catholics are writing.  I don’t think enough Catholic who could write are writing.. Not enough Catholics believe they can write in long-form, let alone have anything good to say beyond a brief blip on social media.

We Catholics need permanence to our faithfulness.  At least to pass on to the people we love and would want to hold fast to the Faith.

Evil people who work to destroy the Faith already understand the power of permanence, demonstrate this knowledge through the power, force & repetition of their words.  They have the foresight to maneuver, anticipate.. publish.

Why don’t we?

“Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.” Matthew 10:16

AMDG, St. Ursula and Companions..+++

On Overcoming Twitter.. and On Letter-Writing

Novena Maternity

We’ve just started Memoir and I’m in the mood for longform.  Beyond 145 characters and then some.

After my last post, I went on retreat, leaving Twitter a firebrand (in my eyes, anyway), but having that fire cooled by the streams of Divine Water.  I’m having difficulty returning.  I don’t think I want to go back.

My problem now is that I still want to speak.  Catholic.  Maybe it’s my Lord. .. but, I .. I don’t know.

Here’s what it is:  when I went on retreat, I took a treasure-load of books with me to keep me company on our silent Secular Carmelite retreat.  (list forthcoming).  One of them were counsels by St. Claude de la Colombière, St. Margaret Mary’s spirtual director.

I don’t have a spiritual director.  I’ve discerned now’s not the time.  I’m rather Theresian on that one.. and when I leafed through this book, as I most often do when I’m carrying half my horde, I feel in love with the snippets of his writing that emerged from his letters to souls he was counseling.

Letters.

Letters!

Anyway, this is what I want, even if it means writing to an imaginary friend.

I guess it’s a lot like blogging.

Feel free to write back!

AMDG.  Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary +++

Novena in Honor of the Maternity
of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Three Ave Maria’s

(Indulgences of 100 Days, Aug. 11, 1824)

The Prayer

Virgin most holy, Mother of the Word Incarnate, Who dost dispense graces, Refuge of us poor sinners; we fly to thy maternal love with lively faith, and we ask thee to obtain for us grace ever to do the will of God and thine own. Into thy most holy hands we commit the keeping of our hearts; beseeching thee for health of soul and body, in the certain hope that thou, our most loving Mother, wilt hear our prayer. Wherefore with lively faith we say Ave Maria three times.

Let us pray

Defend, O Lord, we beseech Thee, us Thy servants from all infirmity, through the intercession of the Blessed Mary ever-Virgin; and mercifully protect us, who prostrate ourselves before Thee with our whole heart, from the snares of the enemy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

HT to  Catholic Board of Faith and Morals.com – Thank you. +++