When I Write

 It’s NaNoWriMo time! I’m doing a quasi-participation this year, so my focus is on writing some fiction that is long overdue in my life. While I’m at it, please enjoy a few throwback posts from yesteryear. See you in December!

 

When I Write

Every night I sit
Late in the evening
Finally relaxing from the day

As I start to unwind
From all of my work
And begin to plan for tomorrow

I suddenly remember
That one simple thing
With only an hour left to complete.

And then as always
I think to myself
“Why the heck did I commit to this?”

Nan: “No.” Ree? “Mo’!”

Nan never wanted to do anything fun;
Ree could never get enough.
Nan was content with the least, or none,
but Ree always wanted more stuff.

Whenever a chance came to be
or an opportunity arose,
Ree would shout out, “MORE, PLEASE!”
And Nan would give a flat, “No.”

The years went by, and the girls they grew
As did their rapier wit,
But patterns they had gotten into
They could neither cease nor remit.

For the good things Nan seemed to always miss
along with bad she’d avoid
And Ree’s inability to resist
brought her sorrow as just as much as joy.

At last, between them a plan was hatched
To balance their lives just so:
The results were sure to be evenly matched
Combining Nan’s “No” with Ree’s “Mo’!”

Wake Up Call

We were going door to door delivering meals. It seemed like an easy way to delve into our mission work for the week. Although I did kind of want to hand out sandwiches at the subway. After all, I was here for a challenge.

What was so challenging about handing out meals to shut-ins? Well, finding them, for starters. It was foreign city (foreign to us, at least), and I was in charge of the map. So naturally, I sent us in the wrong direction right off the bat. Whoops.

We backtracked, assured our instructors we were up to the task, and set off through the busy streets again, boxed-up food in tow. We got into a rhythm of finding the apartment complex every few streets, checking in at the front desk, and then playing with the elevator buttons to get us to the right floor. The people were sweet and, of course, happy to see the food they were expecting. It began to be pretty fun, if a little benign.

Then we came to her door. Phyllis, I think her name was. (Although, to my shame, I honestly don’t remember.) She opened the door and beckoned us inside. We’d gone inside only one other person’s apartment that day, and Phyllis seemed to be focused on something other than the food/

Her house phone was working. She said the last people who had delivered her food had gotten her phone working, but the connection had gone dead again. The apartment people took to long to come by, and she was expecting a very important business phone call any minute — something to do with Woody Allen’s next movie.

Wait a minute. This very elderly woman in this very condensed apartment needs her phone — so she can work? On a Woody Allen movie?

But we weren’t about to question her. We definitely had a challenge: could our little group from a different part of the country figure out how to help this woman get her land-line phone working so she could do what she so intent on doing? we set her food down and began tinker with her house phone. She gave us the number of the phone company so we could try to reach them on our cell phones. We weren’t sure exactly what we were doing, but we were all trying.

My eyes began to roam around the tiny space as our group worked. The lady’s desk, chairs, and shelves were all filled with books, binders, and folders. They contained actor head-shot photos, labels that categorized their looks and talent, and more. Eventually I noticed an award statue amidst the many papers and folders on her desk. It was a Screen Actor’s Guild Award. It was a special one, not for acting but for working with talent. Whoa. I didn’t know who this woman was, but she had not just been sitting around in her life, and she wasn’t kidding about her involvement in the movie industry.

We finally discovered a cell phone that a relative had given her. She was not comfortable using it, but we were able to get the phone number she needed off of the old phone and show her how to place and receive calls with the cell phone. She called her contact number, and was able to get a call back from the contact about her work. We let ourselves out the apartment as she began her important business conversation.

We went back to the city streets and finished our deliveries, but Phyllis had gotten my attention. There was an impact her life was making, even when the world outside her apartment had no clue what she was up to. I wondered how many more people like her we would meet during our work — people who just need some help with their lives so that they can continue to go above and beyond what was expected of them.

Watch and Pray

Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. — Mark 13:33

You’ve seen the news. You’ve heard the debates and the rhetoric. You’ve watched the back and forth as this country swells toward the biggest decision of the decade. The general elections are coming up. Early voting is already available in most areas. No doubt you’re watching to see where this nation is headed, whether you really care or not. But take heed. You’ve been watching, but you also need to be praying. Because this is more important than you can imagine. We’ve already proven that one little vote can matter when an entire people commits to give it. Just think what God can do with one little prayer when an entire people commit to give it. So watch. And pray.

When the Story Isn’t There

What do you do when the story just isn’t there?

Some days it seems my story exists in a vacuum. Like a black hole kind of vacuum. As in, it’s been sucked into nothingness.

I know I need to write. I know I have committed to write. But I find I have nothing to write about.

Instead of life experiences on which I can draw, all I have are half-made plans that have yet to see the light of day.

I hate to admit that I’m tapped out, because it feels exactly like I’m tapping out of the fight. I give up.

I get it; I need to go live life some more, and then I’ll have more stories to tell.

Which is awesome, and theoretically doable. There’s just the tiny issue of needing a story to write RIGHT NOW.

I could pretend I’ve lived — but people usually see right through that. Something about “writing what you know.”

I could hide. Pretend I wasn’t meant to live, or write, at all. What do you expect of me anyway?

But pretending I don’t need a story doesn’t really get rid of that need for a story.

I guess I just have to be honest.

The story is that I don’t have a story to write at the moment.

But I won’t let it stop me from writing. And that’s a true story.

The Land of the Mists

This morning the fog along my drive seemed to completely envelope my little world. It reminded me of a poem I posted early this year, so I thought I’d share it again.

.

Filming, white
shadowing, billowing
The cloud forms in front of me
Separating what is beyond
But there is no going back now.

Much as I would want
To hold fast to the life behind me
There is only the mists
Into which I must go.

Light cloud
Smoke and vapor
Obscuring this hidden world
From the rest;
Just as they would have it here.

Who knows what’s beyond this veil?
Only those who dare press through.
But perhaps the real question is:
Who truly lives to tell the tale?

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