Do You NaNoWriMo?

As November’s end is fast approaching, I am behind a bit on my word count (last week brought to our home some illness as well as the holiday that many of you also celebrated).  As of this moment, word count weighs in at 42,644, which, on my word processing program, equates to 153 pages.  Over dinner a week or so ago with some friends, he joked, “Why don’t you just go back to school and use it as a dissertation?”  Some day….

By the end of yesterday, the magic number according to 1,667 words per day would be 43,342…and at the close of today, the goal is 45,009.  Since I had several 800 (maybe) word days during the holidays, and I know I can pull a 4,000 word day (I have already once this month), I’m feeling the energy (even though I’m still below goal) of the magnitude of finishing this amazing feat.  I’m compiling a list of lessons learned this month, which I hope to post at the conclusion of November.

And, I’m wondering how I am going to celebrate….

And I want to give you a shout-out to keep writing!  Your words have a powerful effect on your soul and the lives of others…even if you think you are writing in a private journal or blogging in your own little corner of cyberspace or publishing books–YOUR WORDS ARE IMPORTANT.  Continue to develop your voice and use it–and share it with the world.  You have value beyond measure.  Feel that power and write with it!

Here is one of my favorite “raise your voice” songs:

Strip Me – Natasha Bedingfield

Black Friday

black friday

(from here)

Do I even need to tell you how I feel about Black Friday?  However you may be celebrating Black Friday, though, I wish you health, happiness, and debt-free holidays!  Happy Black Friday (which has become a holiday in its own way, or so today would seem…)!

 

Cursive? or Print?

Which do you prefer?

Were you taught to write in cursive? When?

I was taught (and graded) on cursive handwriting in third grade…Mrs. Jordan’s class.  And, I struggled to get a B-.  “Why do we need to learn this?” our class inquired of our teacher.

“It’s faster,” she responded. Indeed.

Cursive was tough stuff for me as a struggling third grader; now I prefer it to printing most of the time.

Well, a dear friend of mine and current student of medicine asked me recently, “Do kids still learn cursive?”

I replied, “Some of mine have…but not all of them were taught cursive writing formally–and my older ones still print most of the time. Why?”

“Well, I was just reading that losing the ability to write in cursive can be a symptom of dementia. I wondered if people were even learning it in the first place, and what we’ll do if we don’t have that symptom to eval for anymore.”

Good point.

I have read that people with dyslexia write better with cursive and should be taught how to write in cursive as soon as they are able.  As a person who has struggled with both handwriting and (mild) dyslexia, I can attest that cursive is easier for me.

On another note, I was thinking that maybe teachers are so bombarded with information to teach children for their end of year testing (you know, those lovely bubble tests?) that maybe they feel pressed for time with teaching and cannot afford the “expense” of spending so much time on the dying art of cursive writing. You don’t exactly “bubble” your answer in cursive or print, now do you?

Breast Cancer Awareness

I couldn’t let October pass without a tribute to the noble women who have fought breast cancer and their devoted caregivers, families and friends who have loved and supported them in their fight.  Here is a piece I wrote early this morning, following a dream that I will post more about tomorrow:

I lean her tiny frame against my chest as I see her thin reflection in the bathroom mirror.  I know she will not ask for help. Still, she has become so weak, so frail, that even the buttons on her shirt have become difficult for her. I slide my arms around her and begin at the top, pulling, twisting, and pulling each button through the stitched hole.  As I see her profile in the mirror, I recognize the wear on her face, the shine of light from her head.  I pull her shirt down off her shoulders as the water in the shower streams across the tile, beats rain-like patterns on the glass door. My hands move across her back to unhook her bra, and I slide the straps off her shoulders, remove the prosthesis. I run my hands down her shoulders, across her chest, her collarbone, her space where her breast used to be.

The scar from where she fought like a dragon feels smooth on my fingertips. The new form is different, yes, but beautiful still. Even more beautiful.

I help her climb the small step into the steam of the shower. I look through the glass, not bathed in water vapor, and I see her again for the first time.

These moments catch me off guard. I feel like I am the one who should fight this monster for her, but she has had to walk a path through darkness and pain I may never know.

My eyes begin to well, but the tears are not full of loss for her breast, her hair; instead a soft smile covers my face as a tiny drop streams down my cheek. I still have the most important thing to me in the entire world.

I still have her.

Livin’ the Dream

Several weeks ago, I had occasion to speak to a gentleman with whom I was not well acquainted.  He kindly inquired about the activities of my days, and I responded with the usual, “Well, I am home with our preschooler…we bake cookies and build trains and read stories….”  My voice tapered off as I wondered in a way what my days contained, searching for some type of meaning in the repetition.  My mind raced to pull out from somewhere, “Well, I write, when I have time,” or “I’m thinking about going back to school,” but nothing rendered satisfactory.

In the instant of my deflating thoughts, he looked into my eyes and said, “Well, you’re living the dream, aren’t you?”

I stared incredulously back toward him, startled, and thought, Whose dream am I living?

I thought back to college and dreams of being a writer or a professor of English lit or comp or even creative writing…I thought of high school, when I wanted to move far, far away (Paris, maybe? or at least Provo) and study interior design or something artistic…I thought back to junior high, when I had dreams of being a dermatologist…I thought back to grade school, and I couldn’t even remember what I wanted to be then.  But the dream that was consistent throughout those other dreams which have come and gone over the years was the dream of being married and having children.

Throughout the next several days, kneeling over train tracks and stirring flour, eggs and vanilla into sugar and butter, his words continued to echo in my ears.  As I’ve meandered through memories of holding hair back for my daughter who was throwing up, or my husband pulling back my own hair through morning sickness, I’ve wandered through laughter and leaf fights, through rolling down hills and rolling through years; I’ve walked paths of sorrow and paths of joy…days when I couldn’t walk another step and someone lifted my burden.  I know life hasn’t been picture-perfect (no one’s is), but it has been mine.  And as I strolled on through more memories than I can share, I felt his words, “You’re living the dream.”

My husband reached over for my hand this morning, and my little one climbed onto my lap for a cuddle.  “You’re beautiful,” his tiny voice and big eyes said to me as he rested against my thin frame.  In that moment, I knew the answer to my question.

Whose dream am I living…?

Mine.

(Image Copyright Sarah Knight Photography)