Studying at Glen Eyrie Writers' Summit
One of my dear writer friends recently commented that while she liked the quotes and website links I post online here and on social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook), she wants to hear my heart. "Where is Joyce?" she asks.
While I am an ultra-extrovert in how I process decisions and come to closure on philosophy, faith and controversy, I am also a melancholy temperament who tends to over-think and delve into a miasma of what becomes "analysis paralysis." Sometimes it seems my head is so full and so tangled that there is no way to even begin unbraiding it. Of course, this being a totally public forum, I also don't want to be opening my "emotional trenchcoat" and give you a view of me that is too exposed. I can imagine you covering your mind's eye and exclaiming "Woah, too much information!"
So, let me do a little extroverted mini-inventory. I'll try to keep it entertaining.
1. Materially, I have a very good life. I am in need of nothing. This is primarily due to the dedication, stability and work ethic of my husband. Annoying, eh? He is the unsung hero of my life.
Before you gag, let me assure you that he and I demand a great deal of each other. He has given quiet support of my desire to write. You've no idea how much grace this takes for him. He doesn't tell me that, but I know it from 28 years, discovering what makes him tick. He likes stability, security and routine. He likes knowing what the paycheck will be at the end of the month. The income I generated (though a pittance compared to his) made it possible for us to get a few extras, take a couple of extended vacations: "Best of Europe" and a Hawaiian island cruise (seems decadent now even to think of it). Without my paid employment, we have had to tighten the belt and that is painful for us all (especially the well-cared-for Only Child).
2. Creatively, I have met the writing goal I set in January, to make 12 significant submissions for publication this year. I've made eight so far and been published four times. That's batting .500 but I'm not counting. My attention span is far too short to write a book. I write poetry (don't run away, I won't be quoting any here). I write personal essay (published in Alexandra Musings and Rhubarb Magazine). I write creative non-fiction, and according to God, I now write journalistic articles. Two of these were published this month (Calgary Herald, City Light News).
I've added a new goal to do Morning Pages (3 handwritten) five days per week (I'd love to do it every day but I'm trying to be realistic and not beat myself up if I don't). I also write a personal blog post 1-2 times per week.
3. Personally, my dog loves me. Follows me everywhere. Hates it when I leave. Listens for my return.Wants to be with me always. She is soft and comforting and adores being petted. My son, on the other hand, is the opposite. About the only thing he "needs" from me is food and spending money. Now that he's started a new job, all I can offer him is love and support. For now, that is enough. He's incredibly solid, a loyal friend, an adrenalin junkie and amazing musician. I continue to be blessed by the judgment he exercises - though being 16 has it's own risks, he generally calculates carefully before diving in. But I keep 911 on speed dial.
5. Socially, I have a small but amazing array of friends, both in person and on Facebook, who are stimulating, encouraging and entertaining. If you've read this far, you are one of them. You've no idea how much that means to me.
6. Intellectually, I've set a goal to read a book per month. I am also reading the Bible through chronologically. Beginning August 1, it is my aim to read it through in one year. I am preparing to help teach an Old Testament overview class for women this fall. This takes significant investment of time. I would rather run screaming but believe the challenge and reward will be worth the effort. I think it's about being faithful to exercise and develop the talents I've been given for the benefit of others.
7. Physically, I am now back to general good health, having almost fully recovered from the two surgeries I had to undergo in the past 13 months. I am in full-blown menopause however, and that means insomnia, hot flashes (what was God thinking?), ravenous appetite and chocolate cravings which bring on crazy-maker blood sugar crashes from not eating properly. (read: too many tears, where are the kleenexes?)
I've set a new goal to work out twice a week at the YMCA and to be accountable to one friend who has exhibited a long-term, ongoing discipline of balanced nutrition.
They say seven is the perfect number and eight is the number of new beginnings.
8. Psychologically, we're funny creatures, we humans. We keep thinking we should be perfect. At least I do. And even then, my logical mind reminds me perfection is an impossible dream (that's God's job - to be perfect).
Andy Andrews in The Noticer, writes: "Whatever you focus on, increases." If I focus on my lack of perfection, my neediness will only grow. If instead, I try to live in gratitude for all the good things I enjoy, large and small, my vision is filled with more and more blessings.
I am grateful. Thanks for being part of my life.
Photo credit: Kay Day