Sunday, July 15, 2012

Writing and Life in August

"...there was no one with more common sense, no stonecutter more obstinate, no manager more lucid or dangerous, than a poet." G. Garcia-Marquez, from Love in the Time of Cholera.

I loved reading this book and I particularly liked this quote from it. The protagonist is a poet who is pursuing his true love. For fifty years! Nothing is small about GarcĂ­a-Marquez’s books. One Hundred Years of Solitude. Broad canvas.

Our lives here are not small either. We may think they are. We may get confused and lost in the itty-bitty details. But lives, I believe, are meant to be painted with very big brushes and lots of vibrant colors. No matter what comes down the pike.

I have had some very tough stuff land in the middle of my seemingly all-worked-out-now path. Ha! The laugh is always on me. There are lessons to learn and the main one I’ve learned is this:  they don’t get easier. I’ve learned much from my other lessons. So now I get – ta-dah! – new lessons that really have nothing at all to do with the lessons that came before.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer last fall, a good friend said, “God isn’t done with you yet.” I still had lessons to learn. I moved back to Denver from Florida. It’s been a good move and it’s been hard, too. I’m not even ready to tell those stories yet. I’m not secretive, but the stories are still being formed and I don’t know where to start. It gets too noisy and too busy in my life to write the stories. They’ll come. But I don’t know when.

In August I signed up for two writing activities. One is a repeat of a Free Write Fling. Participants are given a prompt and a photo each morning and asked to write just 15 minutes – from the prompt or something else on your mind. You don’t have to share the work, or even read it when you’re done. You’re just working your writing muscles. There’s a blog where you can write about your experience in the writing that day, reply to what others have said, or ask questions of the facilitator, Cynthia Morris of Original Impulse. Just 31 days. If you write every day, you are entered into a drawing where, if your name is selected then you get two free 30-minute coaching sessions with Cynthia. That’s what I want this year.

The other activity is called the August Postcard PoetryFest. I’ve participated in it three times now and it is a lot of fun. Only 31 people can sign up (I was one of the first this year) and a few days before the end of July, you begin by writing a poem on a postcard and sending it to the person on the list just below your name. Some participants are in England, Ireland, Germany, Canada, but most are scattered around the U.S. It must be a new poem each day, not one you’ve written in the past. It’s quite a challenge but it’s really fun. Because … you’re receiving postcard poems everyday from all over the country and the world! I haven’t started collecting blank postcards yet, so I’ll make a trip downtown where there are tourist shops and look around. I’m considering making some of my own from the standard post office postcards. A collage, oil pastels, crayons, colored pencils, stickers.

Both of these activities will keep my mind off more mundane issues like health, finances, the heat, what’s for lunch, trips to the grocery store and doctors’ offices. Yeah. :D


  1. I hope you are the one that gets the 30 minute coaching session. You are such an inspiration. Keep on going!!!

    1. Thanks, cbeegood!!! I will carry your inspiration with me today.