Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group - April 2018 Edition

Hi there!

It's April. Finally. Is it just me or did March seem to just hang on with fangs and refuse to let go?

Probably just me.

Gather round for another posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click on the link HERE to learn more about this fantastic group, our amazing leader, and how you, too, can air your insecurities and offer up encouragement once a month.

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Over here on the writing front, things have been a bit slow. March started out pretty good: I finished second drafts on a novella and first drafts on a short story. I started printing out my novel and had all the intentions in the world to start on another when my new responsibilities as work kicked in and I apparently forget the blog-verse existed!

Then, the week before Easter, my grandmother died. Talk about a gut-punch. I talked a little about this in my last post but I wanted to share more about her today. You see, Mawmaw is from whom I inherited the writing bug. She was a prolific poet and, about five years ago, self-published two volumes of her poems. Five years ago she was 91. There's a lesson there in "never too late".

Mawmaw was an anchor, one of those folks you just knew was going to be around forever. We all have them. Sadly, I've lost four of those precious forever people. It leaves you in a fog. You walk around, living life, and suddenly you remember they aren't there and everything goes insubstantial. You feel guilty for laughing. You start to cry at baseball games. You can't write for almost 8 years because your biggest fan is no longer an email away. You lose your singing voice for the same reason. 

This loss filled me with grief, yes, and sadness, but also with HOPE. No joke. I've been fired up and inspired because it hit me at her funeral that MAWMAW LEFT NOTHING UNDONE. Seriously. To this day I've never seen a half-written poem, a painting without a frame, a quilt without backing, or an article of clothing without some sort of stitched embellishment. That was the woman she was. She lived in the same house for 50+ years, never had a dishwasher and I swear her kitchen was never overrun with dirty spoons. 

It got me thinking: why am I being so lackadaisical about my own work? About my own life? About my own spoons (seriously, you should see my sink...). What am I waiting for? Mawmaw worked, had three children, was a housewife and a part-time school lunchroom employee. She was the superintendent for her church's Sunday School department for 59 years! She helped teach others and take care of 9 grandchildren and more great-grandchildren than I can honestly remember. The living room would be off limits because her quilt frame was all the chairs in her dining room with the fabric draped over them. Her back bedroom held a sewing machine and papers spread on the full sized bed, all drafts of her poems she typed on an old, manual typewriter. There were paintings on her wall that she painted and a few ceramic ducks floating on shelves. I won't even begin to get into the woodworking.

The point of all this reminiscing? I have no excuse NOT to do the things I want to do. No excuse. I work part time. My children have four feet and fur. My brain is filled to bursting with ideas for stories and art. My house is only 700 square feet and I can't seem to keep the kitchen clean.

Get out those projects. Drape fabric over chairs and scatter leaves of poetry to the wind just to see where they'll land. Pick up your paint brushes, dust off that sewing machine. Pull out your great aunt's recipe box and start baking. 

We aren't here forever, kids. But what we leave behind us can inspire someone else to live their dreams more fully. I can't take time for granted any more. And I know Mawmaw can keep an eye on me and cheer me on whenever I need her to.

Now excuse me while I go tackle those spoons...


Happy Wednesday,


32 comments:

  1. So sorry for your loss, Jen. This is a lovely post/tribute and a wonderful reminder about not leaving things undone. I'm going to check the sink right now to see about those spoons....

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    1. Thank you so much, Madeline! Trust me, my sink always has dirty dishes in it! I just can't seem to wrangle them into submission. Nor can I convince my poly dactyl cat into using her extra toes for helping around the house...

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  2. I'm sorry. Prayers for you and your family.
    Remember all she did, and she did do it all. We would all be better people if we lived like that.

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    1. Thank you so much, Alex. She was a great lady and she really did do it all!

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  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother's passing. She sounds like she was a remarkable lady. Publishing poetry at the age of 91 - fabulous!

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    1. Thank you so much! She was something else. And it was wonderful to go to her book signing. It definitely gives me hope that it's never too late to do what you dream!

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  4. It's easy to get overwhelmed when you look at an entire life of accomplishments, but I think you'd be surprised at how much progress you're making when summed up.

    My heart goes out to you. Treasure those memories, eh?

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    1. That is so true. When I look at what I'm doing now and consider the big picture, I know that the little steps are what get us there.

      Thank you so much :)

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  5. I'm sorry for your loss, Jen. She sounds like a wonderful woman. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Thank you so much! She was fantastic.

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  6. I'm so sorry. She sounds amazing. Our generation needs to learn to live like she did.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, we do. That's been the most profound lesson I've learned from this loss. I know she'd be happy to know that the last thing she did for me was inspire me to be the best me I can be <3

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  7. Your mawmaw's story is inspiring, Jen. Thanks for sharing it, and I'm happy you've found hope in this experience. :) http://www.raimeygallant.com

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    1. Thank you so much, and thank you for stopping by!

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  8. What a person she was. Her writing and all as a monument to her talent must be comforting. Love the photo. She still has a sparkle in her eyes.

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    1. She had that sparkle the last time I saw her. She had to stay in bed but she was forcing me to eat more chocolate because I "hadn't had enough". Thank you so much!

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  9. So sorry for your loss, Jen. What a great photo, and a great story about her inspiration as a writer! We can all learn something from Mawmaw.

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    1. Thank you, Lee! Yes, we can and I'm reminding myself of these lessons daily. Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. What an inspiration. Your grandmother really was one of the 'greatest' generation. Sorry for your loss.

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    1. Thank you so much, Susan, and thanks for stopping by!

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  11. I'm very sorry for your loss. Your post is a wonderful tribute to your grandmother.

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    1. Thank you, Olga! She'd laugh about it, I know, not thinking she'd ever done anything remotely amazing. She'd be wrong of course :)

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  12. What a lovely tribute. I can see how you're more hopeful and motivated. I am also inspired by your words and your Grandma's perseverance. Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Thank you, Mary! And I'm so glad there is inspiration to be found here. That was my goal. She was such an inspiration, not that she'd ever agree with anyone who said she was :)

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  13. Sorry to hear about your grandmother, but so glad you're feeling inspired. :)

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    1. Thank you, Renee, and thanks for stopping by!

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  14. Use your grandmother as inspiration and go out there and write. None of us are getting younger, so let's not waste any time. My condolences about your grandmother.

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    1. Oh I am! Isn't strange how death can make us more aware of life? Thank you so much :)

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  15. Condolences to all your family for the loss. You Mawmaw sounds like an amazing lady and poet - a rich inspiration. Many thanks for sharing. (Where is her name from?)

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    1. Thank you so much, Roland. She really was. Her name was Alta and I'm not sure where that name came from. I know it's her side of the family that came from Ireland but I'm unsure of that actual origin of her name. As for what we called her, Mawmaw, I haven't a clue! I'm the fourth oldest grandchild and it's just what I've always called her. Perhaps one of my older cousins christened her that? It is an old, Southern name for grandmother so it could be that she just called herself that and we adopted it :)

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  16. What a beautiful post! Your grandmother is quite the inspiration. (My kitchen is a mess as well, but I'll share the blame with my messy family.)

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    1. Thank you so much, Tamara! LOL...I try to place some of the messy kitchen blame on the cats but it's not believable.

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Well, hello! I'm so glad you made it. Come inside and sit by the hearth. I'll take your coat and hat. The kettle is singing and there's cake and candles and good conversation. Settle in and make yourself at home. Don't mind the wolfhounds; they're friendly if you give them a bit of lemon curd.