Brainstorming at my favourite cafe Miss Manitt’s! I love this place!
I’ve decided that there are many people I want to thank for inspiring me and totally changing my life.
I’m going to write them one by one and tell them how much their writing, their books have changed who I am for the better.
The first will be Christiane Northrup for her books Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. And all that she has written on women’s health through her website.
The next will be Julia Cameron for her amazing book The Right to Write.
I’m also going to thank The Bloggess for her incredibly honest books. She opened her soul for us all and helped us all feel our own version of normal–whatever the hell that is.
Also Camilla Gibb must be thanked for her book Sweetness in the Belly and her memoir. Totally amazing work!
I have so many more, but not all the writers are still living unfortunately. I love their work even more for how their craft transcends time and place.
My book club members come up with suggestions for books I would never normally read.
That’s the beauty of a book club.
Mine is run out of the local library, and headed by a well-known journalist, Mary Soderstrom.
Mary does a great job of giving us background on the author, so we have a context before we begin our monthly discussions.
Our book for November is The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan.
I finished it last night.
This book, for me, is about the unpredictability of cruelty that can exist in our lives.
The book is mostly set in a Japanese POW camp during WWII.
Richard’s writing style is both poetic and raw. I had not read any of his work before, and I liked his writing style from the very beginning.
The pictures he helped create in my mind were often graphic and disturbing, not only for their violence and depravity, but for the nonsensical meaninglessness of the POW existence.
He used the backdrop of being a POW to highlight how we’re often prisoners in our own lives, and thereafter in our own minds.
He juxtaposed this helplessness with a love affair, and with the discussion of what love is, and what love isn’t.
I liked very much that Richard didn’t answer a lot of the questions he brought up.
He made it clear that perception is everything, and that our perceptions can change on a dime. As they did with a number of characters near the end of his book.
The elasticity of memory and therefore our perceptions of past events is pivotal to how we move forward and conduct our everyday future.
I highly recommend Richard’s book for its raw beauty and honesty.
I’m a writer. Well, I guess that’s obvious, but what I mean is I’m writing a book, as well as blogging.
My YA book has been years in the making. I wrote the scene weave several years ago and only started writing the first draft in earnest in May of this year.
I have edited many books for my clients, some fiction and some non-fiction, and I have done some ghost writing too. But sitting down and writing your own story, which you thought up in your own head, is really a great trip.
I honestly didn’t know what it would feel like. I hear writers talk about writer’s block, and I wondered if that’s what I had all those years I just couldn’t get started.
But I don’t think so. It just wasn’t the right time yet, and now it is.
It’s a fantasy book similar to Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, except for older teens.
And it’s set in a magical world of creatures and war and family and love, you know all the good stuff.
This is the first book in a trilogy, so I am beginning the characters and setting up their personalities and lives. I now understand what writers mean when they say their characters take on a life of their own because they totally do!
Though I clearly defined who my personalities were before I started writing, I have found that they started to morph and evolve about a quarter of the way into the novel.
Now I’m halfway through and they’re definitely changing. I love what’s happening to them and why they’re becoming someone other than who I imagined they would be.
I try to write every day and keep adding a page more, so that once I’m done my first draft I’ll have about 100 pages to add to and make more of.
I’ll have more than the bare bones, but not a complete novel quite yet either.
I will add in more description and nuances about the various characters and their traits and physical appearances, subtleties between characters perhaps that need enhancing, and then not look at it for a while and then do a full read for editing purposes.
The whole experience has been, once I actually started writing, a lot easier and more rewarding than I ever could’ve imagined.
Writing a book is like having sex, you can’t really describe what it’s like, you’ve just got to do it to know.
I was reading one of Shannon Colleary’s posts yesterday where she commented that people who’ve been abused either become abusers themselves or enter into abusive relationships where they become victims again.
I agree that both of these things can happen, and do happen.
I have not been the abuser in any relationship, but I’ve certainly been on the receiving end of abuse as an adult because of my childhood.
As a child you get used to the pattern of abuse, which is repeated over time so often that it feels comfortable, in a sick way.
For me it was all about very inconsistent attention. My mother could be loving at certain times and then turn on me quickly and scream and bully me and put me down. Then the cycle would turn to neglect and disdain. She’d treat me as if I were completely inconvenient and I had no right to a personality or opinion of my own. This pattern repeated for several years, and I’ve certainly seen that pattern in my adult relationships.
My two ex-husbands played that scenario out each in their own yucky, cruel and messed up way.
But I haven’t only been in abusive relationships. I have had boyfriends who treated me well too.
And, I think that’s a VERY important point. HUGE in fact!
Just because you’ve been abused as a child that doesn’t mean your only two choices are being an abuser or being abused–thank the Lord above for that!
And I’ve asked myself why I was able to have those healthier relationships when I did.
A VERY BIG part of it was my self-esteem and where I was inside myself. I can’t emphasize this enough. I know it may sound cliche, but it REALLY isn’t at all!
When I was happy with myself and treating myself with respect, I expected to be treated that way by others. So I attracted men who acted out my expectations.
But when I was unhappy, depressed and not respecting myself, I attracted men who treated me the way I was treating myself. And this is really key.
You’ve likely heard “Do to others as you would have them do to you” from Luke 6:31, which basically means you must give out what you want to receive, and it’s so true. And you can’t lie about it because your energy won’t lie.
Even if you pretend to be happy and respect yourself, your energy can’t pretend, it will give off the “She’s faking it folks” vibe, and you’ll meet people who will treat you like the dirt you feel like, unfortunately.
That’s what karma is all about. But at least we do have some control.
As women, we weren’t raised to put ourselves first or look after ourselves well. In a patriarchal society men get the looking after. Damn them!
But, we can look after ourselves, it just takes very conscious effort and a lot of love on our part.
When my relationships have been good, I’ve loved myself before I met the man. When they’ve been bad, I haven’t.
It’s the loving yourself that’s the hard part.
How do you love yourself when you feel completely unlovable?
Well, with a lot of hard work.
It took a breakdown two years ago to help me find that love I had for myself in times past.
I had to look for it, and nurture it and really, truly be honest with myself about who I am.
And I had to lose the abusive second marriage and the job that wasn’t feeding my soul.
I had to really listen to what my heart was telling me because I knew what it felt like to lose my mind, and I was determined not to lose it again!
When I was depressed I felt so disconnected from myself, and everyone else, it was like I had a creeping monster inside of me trying to swallow me up. I remember the sensation of it moving up the back of my neck. It was the most horrifying feeling I’ve ever felt. My brain was totally off kilter. It was spinning at a million miles an hour. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat. I was exhausted from the inside out. I even had reduced oxygen coming into my body. I was really fucked up.
After I started the anti-depressants and started going to see my amazing psychologist my brain and body slowly started coming back together. And I promised myself I would never disrespect myself so much again that I felt like that.
I’m not saying it was all my fault, not at all! But I knew I had some control over my depression, some power over my state of mind.
And I was SO right. I could choose above all else to truly love myself. And I did and I have, and it’s changed EVERYTHING!
And when I feel that love waning or turning to self-loathing even a little bit, I stop. I look around literally and metaphorically and I see, I truly see, what’s causing the old beliefs to creep back into my psyche. And I listen to them and I nurture them and I love them back into the woman I am, and not the vulnerable little girl I was.
It’s a journey, not a destination. And I work at it every day.
And it’s SO worth it!