I wish I had listened when people told me to remember these days. They were speaking of the days when my son, Joshua, was little. And I did remember quite a lot; I have the scrapbooks and an entire room devoted to the production thereof as proof.
There was a time when I just wanted a few more moments of sleep, to eat my meal while it was still hot, or to sit down and read a book or watch a movie in the silence and peace I used to enjoy prior to a child. As recently as yesterday when I sent Joshua to the school on his mountain bike to pick up his work permit so I could shower in preparation for taking him for a haircut so he’d look great for the picture on his temps then down to the BMV to get said temps then running home to make lunch before hubby left for work then cleaning up and staying put so Joshua could finish mowing for his dad and using the time to write a thank you note, put in laundry, and type up a synopsis for my current WIP then rushing off to buy pants for the job he started today, I thought to myself how much I want my life back!
Prior to that was all the running to obtain a birth certificate for the job and temps and work permit (I told him to have this stuff finished before school let out for the summer) as well as the three days it took him to get himself in gear to do everything listed above (I’m trying to be a hands-off parent as he matures). There’s a DVD of Persuasion on my countertop begging to be watched, a book to be finished, and don’t even get me started on how I haven’t written anything toward my current WIP or my blog pretty much since school ended.
This summer has been crazy. And really, I’m not complaining, but I wish I people who had said remember these days had also warned me that although children become more independent as they get older, in many new ways they are still quite dependent. What I used to do for Joshua was contained to our little world, our home. Now I’m pretty sure I’m trekking across America several times a week getting, taking, and doing for this kid.
My joyous internal screams were probably felt as shock waves in most of Ohio when Joshua told me he had job orientation from eight to three on Thursday and Friday. What? I’ll have two whole days to write and read? Thank, Adonai; truly You are merciful.
Josh woke me at seven thirty to take him to work (Recall, he only has his temps since yesterday, and tonight will be the first night of driving lessons). I asked all the motherly questions from did you take your allergy pill and brush your teeth to do you have your ID badge and lunch packed? My questions were greeted with one-syllable, monotone affirmations.
I drove him to work and stopped a little way from the front doors so as not to embarrass him. And then I watched my baby walk away. And I wanted to jump out of the car and convince him to come home with me where I’d make him all his favorite foods, and we’d watch all his favorite shows, and then go to Kame’s to look at hunting gear, and visit Sweet Frog for yogurt, and if he was still hungry (which teen boys always are) we’d go for burgers or pizza.
Yes, this summer has been crazy. I’ve hardly written at all since May. When I pulled into the garage after dropping off Josh, I looked beside me and saw his lunch on the drink holders where he’d forgotten it. I’ll be taking that to him around noon. If I’m lucky, tonight after his driving lesson, we’ll go for a drive with me at the wheel. It’s a habit we started in the evenings as the sun is going down. We just pick a direction and drive until it gets dark or we’re tired. Josh and I talk about everything during these drives, and the other day he told me how much he enjoys them. I don’t believe he realizes that as I drive he places his hand lightly over mine where it rests.
I know things will calm down once school starts at the end of August. My routine will be restored, and my writing will flourish. For now I’ll set it aside because I wouldn’t trade publication with the best publishing house in the world or my book selling millions of copies and being made into a movie for the moments I’m collecting and turning into memories.
A little over a month ago, I started a new section on my blog called Quotation Station. It began as a blog post of its own explaining the difference between a quote and a quotation. The idea was that I’d schedule writing-related quotations for my followers to appear on Friday morning. They were to be a friendly handshake as we parted ways for the weekend, a final communication before my family began our electronics and social media blackout for Shabbat. Everyone seems to like them so far.
Last Friday’s post included a quotation from Charles Bukowski stating “Writers are desperate people, and when they stop being desperate, they stop being writers.” This particular quote fit my writing life so well. At any given moment of the day, I have felt desperate about my writing. Desperate to complete it, desperate to come up with new things to write for my blog or a literary journal or a novel, desperate to be published, desperate, desperate, desperate. All that desperation added up to a lot of miserable living.
What struck me as interesting was that I’m not alone in this practice and belief. But it also made me question it especially since one of my repetitive prayers was for peace in my life. Desperation and peace cannot cohabitate, so which did I really want?
Further adding to my desperation was something a wise friend said to me a little over a week ago. She asked how I was, and I ended up unloading a lot of desperation on her! Thankfully, she’s not the kind of person to regret having asked. At the end of our conversation, she suggested that I write from my abundance. What does that even mean?
About a week after her suggestion, another wise friend gave me a pamphlet of Weekday Morning Prayers and the Bedtime Shema. I started reading them in the morning and evening, and what an amazing effect they’ve had on my life in just three days. My peace increased and my desperation diminished.
But wait, my desperate writer’s mind yelled, if you’re not desperate, you’re not a writer! Turned out desperation was a clingy companion. However, I was really rather tired of being desperate, and I was not at all willing to surrender the peace I’ve been praying for. Also, I could keep writing what I loved when I wanted to write it.
You’re just being lazy, my writer’s mind whispered which I instantly knew to be a lie because leading up to the conversation with both friends, things have been falling in place in my life in a wonderful way. Not to mention that the two chapters I’m somewhat blocked on in my new novel no longer freak me out. I’ll sit on them for a while and not add to the blockage by stressing my mind out with desperation. I’ll trust that in good time, the right words will come to me.
What all this boils down to for me is change. I’m not good with change especially when it’s sudden. Not that what I was experiencing was sudden, but it could have been if I hadn’t been so resistant to changing for the better as well as admitting that it was better. It’s better that I’m no longer running on the gerbil wheel of desperation for all the things I mentioned above.
So now I’ll explore the abundance in my life, and I’ll write from there. I’ve discovered an abundance of talent given as a gift from God. I’ve discovered an abundance of time which is another gift. I have an abundance of great books by authors who I admire; I’ll follow their example. I have an abundance of wise friends whose counsel I’ll seek when desperation desperately tries to re-enter my life/writing life. I have an abundance of support from my husband, William, who has supplied me with great storylines, helped me work out problems in my plot, and won’t let me stop writing when I’m in the desperation dump.
I have no doubt that desperation will attempt to raise its ugly head in my life. It’ll evolve and reappear as envy, writer’s block, or self-doubt. Fortunately, my arsenal is well stocked with abundance. And in case I forget that, please, dear friend, do not hesitate to remind me as you are part of the abundance in my life.
As I was reading the other day, I came across the phrase speeded up. By now you know my affinity for words and all things word related, so you’ll understand my reaction of sitting bolt upright. Not only did the phrase not sound correct, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it used that way nor have I used it myself. Naturally, this sent me to the laptop to check in with some of my favorite grammar websites.
As it turns out, neither sped nor speeded is more correct as they are both standard variations of the verb to speed. In many old English reference books, the rule is that speeded works only in the past tense phrasal verb speeded up such as I had read. What I found amusing is that I usually lean toward those archaic/dated words and phrases, but obviously not in this particular instance.
Today writers use what they think sounds best. Speeded is often used without up whereas sped is used with up or alone. Also, sped is more common than speeded these days which, according to some sites, makes it the safer choice. In either case, be consistent when writing.
I’m always saving my pennies to purchase books, so I rarely spend money on seeing movies. Well, that and the fact that I like to support my local library by checking them out. With that being said, I still didn’t have to dig in to my Mason jar of book funds thanks to the generosity of my Aunt Deniece. She bought tickets for me and my son to see In Our Hands.
In Our Hands is the docudrama commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Israel’s Six-Day War. The movie features historical footage, personal interviews, and professional reenactments celebrating Israel’s 55th Paratroopers involvement in the battle for Jerusalem.
The barely twenty year-old nation of Israel staved off extinction at the hands of surrounding Arab nations determined to wipe Israel off the map. Israel’s defense forces risked everything, taking on better equipped, larger military forces, for the sake of their homeland. The unexpected Israeli victory returned the Jews to the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall of the old Temple. Israelis celebrate Jerusalem Day every year in honor of the sacrifice made in June, 1967.
The title of the docudrama comes from Lt. General Mordechai “Motta” Gur’s famous statement broadcasting that the “The Temple Mount is in our hands!” The movie does a wonderful job recreating this scene sure to give anyone goosebumps. Equally miraculous is the scene of Israeli soldiers praying the Shema at the Western Wall.
I highly recommend viewing this amazing, must-see movie. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to own this one.
Every moment of every day, we have to make a choice. Each of us will choose what we will allow into our lives. This decision affects what we do and what we say. There are many influences vying for our attention. Some of them are good, and some of them are bad. Yet in the end, the responsibility for how we act and what we say falls to each individual. Such were my thoughts as I read Angie Thomas’s book, The Hate U Give.
One of the points about the book that was extremely disturbing was the reference to Black Jesus. Besides the obvious fact that Jesus was a Jew, I found this to be heartbreaking. Too many times in history deities were created in man’s image because that made them easier to control. This also allowed the person creating his/her ideal deity off the hook from following what God/Jesus actually said and did. Jesus’s message never had anything to do with skin color. He also didn’t blend doctrines from made-man religions, such as the characters in the book do, to come up with Chrislam. Even more chilling was when Ms. Thomas blasphemously compared spray-painted signs reading “black-owned business” to the blood of the Lamb as a means by which the stores wouldn’t be burned during a riot.
Also disconcerting were the broad, sweeping generalizations Ms. Thomas made regarding white people. Through her story, we learn this is the very thing she scorns when it comes from white people. Yet the duplicity was overwhelming. Throughout the book, the protagonist, Starr, made gross assumptions about white people and police officers as if she could not only read their minds, but knew for a fact what they thought and believed. In her mind, that made it true. The sad fact was that Starr’s behavior and opinions were learned. The cycle of hatred was instilled in her life because of prejudiced statements she heard her father, Maverick, repeat.
Ms. Thomas would also have the reader believe that doing wrong is noble as long as it is for the right reason. The character Khalil lost his mother to drugs; he saw it destroy her life. This, however, was not enough to keep Khalil from selling drugs to other people in his own community. He had a job but walked away from it to sell drugs. Per Khalil, the money was for food and utilities. It was also for Jordan sneakers and gold chains. This reminded me that we are our brother’s keeper all the time. Not just after the fact. If the whole community could pull together to collect money for Khalil’s funeral, why couldn’t they pull together to buy food and pay for utilities?
The profanity in the book was appalling. Maybe that’s the way some people talk, but for a teenager, I found it to be inexcusable. It’s used so casually, and it doesn’t add anything to the story. Neither does the promiscuity portrayed, especially among the teenagers. I suspect Ms. Thomas would like for you to believe that everyone is doing it, so that makes it okay, but I disagree on both points.
The book promoted lawlessness and compared police officers who want to make a difference to slave owners. It endorsed disrespect for any authority figure of a different race and condoned violence and chaos as an acceptable response to disappointment and as an outlet for anger. It failed to address the problems within the community which are taking more lives than police officers, it denounced anyone who told the truth, and it threw morals and ethics to the wind. In short, the lessons to be learned are that different laws should apply to different people based on race and whatever feels good for you to do is what you should do regardless of the harm it may cause.
Diversity is good. I prefer to think of it as our individual uniqueness because what makes us unique goes far beyond skin color. When these differences are used to point the finger and lay blame, then they are being used for the wrong reasons. Instead of breathing life, this book spews death. It perpetuates hatred over love. It causes division instead of generating unity. It aims all this negativity at teenagers who are, despite their own beliefs, still children. I suspect this is done because teens are already a volatile mix of thoughts and emotions. They rarely take the time to research what they hear and see to determine whether or not it’s true. And without guidance, they may believe this one-sided story is true.
There are many more errors in The Hate U Give. I took six pages of notes, initially intending to refute all of them. Instead, I decided to break the cycle and speak peace.
Greetings, Dear Followers! Perhaps you’ve noticed I’ve been MIA for about two weeks. For this I apologize and ask your forgiveness. Things around the Gibson household were a little crazy for some time as we dealt with crashed operating systems and my neck injury. I believe everything has been sorted out, and I shall return to amazing you with wonderful, informative blog posts. Until then, wishing you a peaceful and productive weekend. Shabbat Shalom!