Blogging · Inspiration · Writing

Pardon my crazy

November is the month for #bloglikecrazy, a blogging challenge created by the wonderful Javacia Harris Bowser. It is simply a commitment to publish a blog post every day during the month of November. For most of us, that is way harder than it sounds. There is a terrific network of support from Javacia and the members of See Jane Write, and of course, from the regular followers of my blog.

My problem with daily blogging is perfectionism. I want every post to be awesome, but honestly, I don’t have awesome things to say every day. My life is pretty small right now, and I like it like that. I don’t have an exciting career, my sons are grown, I’m not currently embroiled in local political controversy, so I worry that I will bore my readers to death.

Some folks criticize bloggers for being self-absorbed, and it is not completely undeserved. I would like to write impeccably researched posts about current events and history and feminism, but that is not what my blog is. My blog is deeply personal. My intention is to open myself up through my writing – to be honest and sincere, to commit memories to writing, to hopefully connect with readers, and above all else, to write well.

So, I accept the challenge to write and publish every day this month. Not every post will be a home run, but I hope that they make someone smile, or inspire someone to push themselves a little, or just to get through the day knowing that they are enough.

Follow my blog, and pardon my crazy.

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VOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTE

Blogging · Nonsense · The Dreaded House · Writing

She’s Back and in a Bad Mood

cat-1865538_1920 (1)Not really. Not a bad mood. Just the perpetual anxiety of living in the US with Donald Trump as President. It has been long enough that I have given up hope that it is a bad dream. So I retreated into the world I have a little bit of control over. I cleaned out my closet and conducted a brutal purge of my wardrobe. Same with the hall linen closet. Don’t laugh, I am really proud of these tiny accomplishments.

My writing has really taken a hit. Something about fearing the end of American democracy is bad for one’s creativity. My daily writing is not blog-worthy. It’s more like primal scream therapy, with a keyboard.

But blog I must. So bear with me readers, as I get some bad and emotional writing out of the way. Today, I share my pet peeves. Maybe you can relate, and smile. Continue reading “She’s Back and in a Bad Mood”

Entertainment · Inspiration · My Local World · Nonsense · Writing

Things I Love

I am blatantly ripping off this idea from Angie at Freckled Foolery, because I enjoy reading about what other writers love and how they spend their time. Note that Things I Love is about things not people. That is a whole other post. Also, I’ve been struggling a little with negativity in my writing ideas (who hasn’t, these days?) and Angie’s post lifted my spirits and made me smile.

I love:

  1. Cats. The only reason I still use Facebook these days is for pictures of people’s kids and cats. I am a bona fide cat lady, even though I only have one of my own, and she likes my husband better than me.
  2. Reading. I own WAY too many books. I need to purge, but it’s so hard. I love how social media allows us to feel as if we know writers personally. I love Stephen King and Margaret Atwood. I read a lot of non-fiction, too, like Naomi Klein and Ari Berman. I like to read books about physics, although I struggle with those ideas, it feels like good exercise for my brain. I love a good book controversy, like the one going on about American Heart. The arguments over it have gotten crazy heated, and wild horses could not keep me from reading it now. (It comes out in January.)
  3. Notebooks, journals, note paper, and pens.  My bad memory requires that I write everything down that I really want to remember, so I always have a small notebook and pen in my purse. I write my longer writing on computer, but I am a fanatical list maker, and typing a list into my phone is laborious, so I keep paper and pen handy. I am constantly searching for the pen that writes just the way I want it to (and somehow makes my messy handwriting better.)
  4. Stone walls, fences and bridges. I love how they blend in with nature, and how they last forever. I love them covered in moss, and surrounded by fall color. My dream house would have a stone foundation and stone walls in the yard with wildflowers spilling over them.
  5. Spider solitaire. It is the most soothing game. It takes just enough concentration, but not too much. I only compete with myself. It is my version of a fidget spinner. It is impossible for me to sit with nothing in my hands, so I can play on my iPad while I watch tv. (I have become my mother.)
  6. Pasta. Angel hair, bow tie, penne. If I had to pick a food I could not live without, it would be pasta. Chocolate glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts are delicious, but I would be okay if I could never have another one. Fresh strawberries would be missed. But life without pasta is unimaginable.
  7. Coffee. I don’t think I need to say more about that.
  8. Analyzing data. I can go for hours. Give me a set of data and I can mess with it for days, looking for patterns, outliers, correlations. Spreadsheets, graphs, visualizations – I love it all.
  9. Snow. I doesn’t snow much anymore where I live, but I still get excited when those first, fluffy flakes come down, even if it means the streets will be paralyzed and the power may go out.
  10. Group Me. My husband, sons and I have a family Group Me chat, and we use it to pass along important family information, but more often to share jokes and stupid memes and funny videos and comments on Game of Thrones. And of course, pictures of our food when we’re not all eating together.
  11. Yarn and knitting. My mom was a knitter, and I learned at about age ten. I love knitted sweaters and afghans and hats. Sadly, it is mostly too warm here to wear them, but I take advantage of the cold when we have it. I have an almost completed fisherman knit sweater that I have been knitting on and off for about 12 years. It is a complicated Alice Starmore pattern, and all that is left is part of one sleeve. When I finally finish that, I will wear it if it is 100 degrees!
  12. Craftsman houses. I would buy one and fix it up in a hot second, if there were any in my city. Birmingham has lots, but Hoover is a fairly new city and didn’t exist at the time they were being built. We have tons of 60s and 70s ranch houses, and there are some newly-built, fake Craftsman houses, but sadly, no real ones.
  13. Milk glass. I am not a collector, at least not of one particular thing. The knick-knacks in my house are mostly kitchy, non-matching things I inherited from my mother and grandmother. I have a set of Russian stacking dolls that someone gave my grandmother, and a Hull pottery pig bank that my daddy won for mother at a county fair when they were dating in the 40s. I treasure all these things, but especially the couple of pieces of milk glass that were mother’s. There is a flower bowl that sat on our dining table and almost always had fresh flowers in it. There is a tall pitcher that she used for daffodils in the spring. It has a chip in the base, but I don’t care. I love these things because they were part of our house when I was little.
  14. Libraries. We make it a point to visit the public library in the cities we visit. We’ve seen Seattle and New York this year. Those are two awesome ones, and completely different.
  15. Strong Wi-Fi. Yeah.

Well, that’s a lot, but there are so many more things. Writing this did the trick of putting me in a good mood, head cold and all. I may have to do a Part II later!

Blogging · Writing

The big 6-Oh.

I turn 60 years old on August 4. I’ve been feeling very restless lately. I want to travel, to make things, to interact with new people, to learn a new skill, to start a new project. (Or ten.) It is hard to put my finger on exactly what I want. I spend a lot of time planning trips. Then I line up the excuses why I can’t take those trips right now. I have a list of 100 books I want to read.

What is this restlessness? It feels like I am racing against time; as if the things I can do with my life are whittling down as I get older.

And this is true, I guess. There are only so many books I can read, only so many places I can travel. So in addition to the restless feeling, I feel frozen in space. I can see so many possibilities, but I am not reaching out for them.

At 60, is it too late to reach for a bigger life? Am I too old to travel alone? Am I too old to write a book? Do I have the stamina to do what it takes to build an audience for my blog?

My gut tells me that of course it is not too late. There are dozens of stories of people who found success in their last third of life. I have the freedom. Do I have the will?

Writing is my one real talent. I have played at several careers, but writing is the thing that gives me joy. It isn’t easy, but it is always satisfying. Words on paper, rolling into sentences and paragraphs and pages. I love them.

I blog for myself, although having an audience is amazing. My blog entries are the result of taking my thoughts and feelings out and putting them into words and sculpting those words into something hopefully readable and meaningful and maybe entertaining. I resolve not to worry so much about my themes, or my categories, or what readers “expect” my blog to be about. Today, it is about turning uncertainty and timidness into courage and action. I am a (soon to be) 60-year-old woman who wants, still, to do magical things in this life and write about them.

Inspiration · Society · Writing

Project: Letters to my heroes

I have many heroes, and reading their writings, or speaking with them, or seeing them interviewed has been very important to me, especially since the election.

It occurred to me recently that it is important to tell people that their good work means something to me, specifically. Some of my heroes have gained recognition for their work, some have not. Either way, I want to let them know that they inspire me and lift me up.

So, I am starting a project to write a letter every day or so to a hero who has inspired me to do better, to give more, and to keeping fighting for a better world.

My first letter went to Jimmy Carter. He has been a hero of mine for a long time. I cast my first vote for President for him in 1976, in an old fashioned lever-pull voting machine in a country store in Red Hill, Alabama.

I am not going to publish my letters, but I will keep a list on this blog of who I write.

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Inspiration · Memories · Writing

Who am I?

I am all the regular things.

I am the checkboxes of life: daughter, sister, college graduate, wife, mother, friend. I am a Honda and a modest surburban house. I am PTO, Band Boosters, college dorm rooms and first apartments. I am the empty nest.

I am high cholesterol, and ten or so extra pounds. I am Sertraline for depression, and Clonopin for anxiety.

I am the sixties and seventies. I am a farm in north Alabama. I am a tiny rock schoolhouse and an old yellow bus. I am tomatoes and okra. I am a long line of schoolteachers and others who treasured books and poetry. I am ghost stories and family tales. I am the Johnsons of north Alabama, decended from England and genetically eccentric.

I am Bible school and Sunday School. I am Jesus Loves the Little Children and Just As I Am. I am white patent leather Mary Janes, Easter dresses and baked ham. I am baptism by immersion and I am disillusionment.

Because my mother often quoted, “There, but for the grace of God, go I,” I am compassion. Because I always had enough, but saw children every day who didn’t, I am gratitude.

Because bad things sometimes happen to children, I am childhood sexual abuse. I am years of guilt and repression. I am therapy and healing.

I am words, but not math; perfectionism, but mad disorganization; good food, but bad cooking. I am cats, not dogs; chocolate, never coconut, and always, always libraries and book stores.

I am 59 years of houses, apartments, neighborhoods, friends, events, weddings, wars, babies, car repairs, tornadoes, Presidents. I am a young mind.

I am sometimes fear, but more often optimism. I am Liz.

Blogging · Inspiration · Writing

Why I want to “Blog Like Crazy”

Writing creates a certain connection with the world that I often can’t attain in person. Even with my closest friends and family, there are still some walls that remain. Maybe this is a personal failing of mine, but I keep certain beliefs and desires and dreams behind the wall because they are too tender to hand over to others – especially the others who I love and respect the most.

When I write, and publish my writing on my blog, I tear down the wall and  become my most honest, authentic self. I often have a moment of anxiety before I click that “Publish” button, because I am putting my heart out there, defenseless, to those who know me well, family members, those who know me only by reputation, and also strangers.

I blog because there is a certain exhilaration in writing and publishing on honest, heartfelt topics. Love me, hate me, be indifferent – this is who I am. When I write, I have the freedom to be real. This is why I want to “Blog Like Crazy.”

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Weed or flower? I am both.

 

 

Writing

This Blog Needs an Enema

I don’t think I’ve ever been so writer’s  blocked in my life.

Since I wrote that first line, I’ve gotten up three times. Good grief.

I can’t imagine any topic more dull than someone writing about how much trouble they are having writing.

I have interesting topics. I just can’t write them. One is about my son’s upcoming trip to study this summer in Paris, and how freaked out I am that he is going to travel alone to a huge city where he will have to figure out public transportation, money, getting to the University every day, keeping up with his stuff, and figuring out where to wash his clothes. Continue reading “This Blog Needs an Enema”