Cherishing the Moments I Work with Women

I facilitated an expressive writing class today.  There were to be ten people attending. Only a few women showed up. It didn’t matter. I love working with women as there is much in their experience that is difficult, if not impossible to get into when men are in the group.

I understand that men have their traumas and their pain, and indeed, we are all human and can share the pain. However, for women struggling to make sense of their pain, shame, and guilt, having a single sex group is helpful.

I enjoy engaging with women. The irony of that statement is grounded in my youthful dislike of women. I didn’t know then what I understand now. That is not to say that I have patience for those females who are superficial, mean-spirited, or airheads. Listen, I never said I wasn’t judgmental.

We learn from the stories other women share with us. Years ago, I wrote a non-fiction book on women and creativity. The stories that were offered to me during those interviews were precious. For the most part, after speaking for a short time, the raw stories of these women tumbled out. I was honored that they shared so openly with me.

I have taught many workshops, most of them to women and every time, the sharing has had a profound impact upon me and others. I cherish those women, their honesty, their courage and their willingness to share.

 

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A snob among us or everyone is just not equal

Here I sit. Focus is scattered. “Work on your book,” I tell myself. What stops me besides me?  Good question. I actually went to a writers’ group last week with a chapter from my book. I don’t think I will return to that particular group. Every critic began with “that was really well written.”  I didn’t share the group’ enthusiasm for the works presented nor did I believe the pieces were well written.

I can be such a snob, but I have been writing for quite some time. I know what I need from other experienced writers. I have always gone the process on my own. But then, I have never written a novel before. My books have always been written without input from others, an editor, yes, but nothing like a writing group. I related my experience to others who replied “sounds like you were in the wrong group.” I actually could write a short story about the people who participated as they were caricatures of familiar characters–the arrogant male, who has never published, the old man who was confused, the neurotic, depressed middle aged lady, etc. I walked away thinking I had better simplify the structure if this is my audience.

I have a tendency create complicated structures. Not difficult for a particular group of people, but the majority of readers are not within this group. Years ago, I was told my writings would never be selling in COSCO. I was insulted at the time, but with time I have learned to dumb my work down. Ohhh, the trials of brilliance. LOL. I actually am far more modest than I sound, but I do not have patience for this. I know what I want and need and will not settle for “that was very well written.” Actually, no!  The works ranged from boring, self conscious, neurotic without a point, to having no style, sense of dialogue, place, or movement.

So, there you have it. Now back to my novel.

Working for nothing…*-??!!

I am between jobs, yet again. Or as the saying was in theatre years ago, I am at liberty just now! LOL. The life of a freelancer who would be queen. Whatever that might mean. I do fancy myself more important than I am, or at least the world hasn’t caught up with my brilliance yet. Still it has been a long time since I have agreed to write for nothing. I have worked on being paid for what I do. For some reason people believe that writing is one of those items that are not crucial to the project…

I have met with a friend who is starting a business. The competition in this particular arena is great. She and her partners have tried writing several pages for the soon to be website but can’t figure out what is needed. The call to me comes in. I am at liberty. Why not get involved in this new enterprise? Being unable to clearly explain what it is or what is needed to be written, I asked to meet with all the potential partners– including the techies who are the driving force at the present. That meeting is this Thursday. Upon thinking about this project, I have decided that I must be compensated in some way. I mean, what if the business takes off? What do I get for my efforts without any financial investment? More to be discovered.

In truth, I am an awful business woman. I do work for clients and forget to send an invoice. There are those who intimately know me that refer to such moments as my Gracie Allen moments. For those who are too young to remember, she was an hilariously ditzy character. She was lovable, as well. That’s it. My charm is in my Gracie Allen moments. In the meantime, I need to find work that will pay the electric bill and the internet service I am utilizing.

Maybe I should just forget it and collect my small share of social security early. OOOPPPPSSSS. Did I just give away my age?

The sight of serenity

I return to this blog after a long hiatus. Why so long? I get involved with things in my life and don’t see the value in visiting my blog. I haven’t worked the blog as it should be worked. I haven’t connected with other bloggers. Why? Just part of my journey. I find myself, as my last blog stated, in transition once again. This transition, while not of my choosing, is better for my psyche. I was working in an environment that was toxic. No longer.

But, today I am faced with starting over again. Something I have done a good deal. Perhaps I need to accept more of my choice to live as a freelancer than I have. I like some structure and routine, but I like to be able to change within the structure and alter the routine.

The photo of the serene lake on the home page of my blog gave me a moment of wishfulness. I love to travel and be in nature. I get stimulated by nature and travel. That does give me a sense of peace.

I have neglected this blog and my own writings, and now in this transition I will seek serenity in working on my writing.

Stymied

I just wrote a blog about random thoughts and perhaps not so random thoughts. When I went to post it I was told it was an invalid post. LOL. It was a kind of complaining post, maybe self indulgent. So, I will rewrite the  last part of the post.

I signed on as a voter registration worker today. The last time I did that was during the Bush/Kerry campaign. I was astounded by the number of excuses people gave not to vote and the amount of misinformation about world issues, America’s positions etc. Things have gotten worse as I know more people who are too disgusted to vote. Yet, all we have is our vote. How can we speak about democracy and the strength of America when Americans do not take the time to educate themselves about the issues or take the time to protect their rights.

I believe that since 2001, our rights have been greatly diminished and most people do not understand it. I have seen the sad truth revealed in the efforts of one party to limit voter rights in the name of voter fraud, though governmental studies have shown no voter fraud. Can I then sit back and express my views about it all? I suppose I can, but I know that if I want the change to happen, if I want common sense and not ideology to shape the dialogue, I have to be part of the movement. 

I am not happy about where we are now. I am a liberal, yes and proud of it. I believe there is more to our lives than the bottom line of corporations. Years ago, in a graduate class, I remember a professor quoting a twentieth century philosopher who argued that America was on a decline. Though she had advanced technology her moral and philosophical views were shaped by nineteenth century morays. Listen to the rhetoric today and you can hear the nineteenth century. 

It is my duty as a concerned American citizen to be involved and so I have done what I have done in the past, engaged the electoral process with all its shortcomings in hopes that something different can emerge. By the way, with such huge amounts of money spent on diabolical political ads one could alter the desperate lives of many of our citizens. It is a shame.

Music Soothes My Soul

I was going to write about the lack of concern so many people demonstrate for the diversity of life on this planet. I can get on that soap box…But, as I turned to this page, I decided why  write about that! I want to focus on music. I love music. I love a variety of music. I grew up in house that shared music. My mom used to play classical music on the piano. She stopped and I think it has been a loss in her life. My dad loved to sing and we regularly listened to big band music and musical theatre. I actually went to the theatre as a very young child. I guess it should be no surprise that I followed that path for a while.

My tastes in music are eclectic. I can blissfully listen to Gregorian chants or John Legend. I enjoy going to concerts but what really excites me are the small musical venues. This Sat. I am going to see Troy Anderson play at a small club. I love this club. Blue Jean Blues. I can’t even begin to say how excited I am about this.

My son plays the piano and composes. I  am a big fan of my son’s music as well. He creates music from the depth’s of his soul, you can feel it and when I see him play I can see the music rise up from deep within. I thought I was being so cool when I discovered the magic of trombone shorty. But, my son said, “Oh he is a really good performer.”   So much for Mom trying to be cool with her son.

And so while I am greatly moved by excellent writing,  a finely crafted film, visiting a museum or enjoying live dance, nothing quite touches me inside like music. Music has always been a way for me to move  inside, to manifest an upset or celebrate the energy of living. I am grateful for the place music has had in my life.

Maybe those who don’t care about the oceans warming, the animals dying, or the cruelty to children aren’t listening to the right kind of music or any music at all.

Meaning and Importance

Last night I joined my mom, my sister and my brother-in-law in sharing dinner. At the end of the meal, my sister was trying to show me a photo of someone we knew. She went to Facebook but actually couldn’t get to the photo. That is not important. She then showed me a photo of the meal one of our family members had cooked. “Every night,” my sister tells me, “she puts a picture of what she has cooked up on Facebook.” We all shook our heads. In truth, I do not care what she or anyone else ate for dinner last night. By the way, I had chicken and spaghetti. Sadly,I admit I fallen vegetarian– though I usually never eat meat.

Then, this AM I am riding in my car listening to the end of a discussion about the meaning of life, nothingness, emptiness, randomness, perfection, and the universe. What does the Higgs boson revelation mean and so on.  I find that type of discussion thought provoking, stimulating and indeed important for my mental and intellectual survival. I don’t get to hear that type of conversation too often.

Perhaps I am a snob. But, life seems to me to be filled with questions that are difficult to answer yet struggling with the answers or even the ability to understand the question is more important than sharing what I eat on a daily basis. OK. Eating is an imperative.

Maybe I am missing the truth behind my relative’s willingness to share her creations. Maybe importance of her sharing is tied to her creativity and the desire to contribute something creative on a daily basis. That of course, is probably not the rationale for her postings, but it certainly makes me feel better to know that the importance of her meal gives her actions meaning.

I guess I am in one of those moods….Here’s a comment that I am sure will infuriate some: Down in South Florida I often feel like I have lost my brain and the ability to think expansively. I am a New York snob. You can’t take the New York out of the girl. But, the need to be part of something bigger, to engage in something meaningful can also make me wonder about my work as a writer: how important is it?

Sigh…too much thinking for one day.