Looking Through Gentler Eyes

Have you ever had a day that transformed your life completely, when you least expected it?

Yesterday was one of those days for me.

It began in a natural way, as I found myself writing two posts, one for this blog and one for my new portfolio blog. Having struggled with blogging for the past few weeks, the ease of writing those posts felt like rediscovering my breath.

I browsed a few blogs as well, my eye drawn to a post over at Courage to Create called “10 Exercises To Help You Recognize The Blessings In Your Life” which led me to Ollin’s post earlier this week, where he challenges his readers to spend the week living in blessings. Blessings, in his words, differ from daily gratitude practice:

I’ve come to the conclusion that a gratitude practice is not as powerful as a blessings practice.

Gratitude is recognizing and understanding that you are gifted by life.

Blessing, however, is KNOWING deeply, and feeling it to your core, that you are gifted by life. Blessing is also LIVING the fact that you are gifted by life.

There is a huge difference between gratitude and blessing, but they are deeply interconnected.

In a way, you can see blessing as the deepest experience of gratitude, and gratitude as only the beginning of living your life in blessing.

I decided I would like to try  to look for the blessings hidden in  my world. In this way I hope to see the difficulties as new opportunities.

I began the drive to pick up my brother who currently lives with my parents (about 1 1/2 hours from me) and doesn’t drive. You will have to visit his blog to learn the background of that story. Steve had graciously agreed to come and help me out with Sarah for a couple of days so that I could attend a meeting of my local Smith Club last night (a meeting which plays an important role in my day of transformation). I truly appreciate his willingness to help, but I admit that sometimes I get frustrated that I have to do taxi service much of the time as my mother is unable to drive him out here (because my father can no longer take long car rides). Yesterday, however, I recognized the drive as a blessing. I turned off the political discussion on NPR and listened to music instead. Music from my childhood. Music from my life. I began singing, at the top of my lungs, and I found myself recognizing the value of time spent alone in the car. Time to reflect. Time to sing. Time to just be me without any expectations or duties other than to drive safely. Time like that is a blessing.

Of course, a transformative day does not always go smoothly. Perhaps it can’t run smoothly if you are going to really learn the lessons you need to learn. My mother and I got into a less-than-pleasant discussion about some difficulties Nathan and I are going through at the moment–difficulties that come from me feeling like I am just attached baggage along for the ride, especially during the summers. Nathan knows how I feel, and we have been trying to work through the problem. My mother decided she knew the solution, without realizing that her solution is something that I have ALREADY TRIED.

“You just need to tell them that you feel like you could contribute more and would like some sort of job to use your talents, especially if they want Nathan to keep returning”  [These might not be her exact words, but something like it]

“I have tried that Mom. The situation is complicated.”

“You just have to tell them.”

The conversation continued in a circular fashion, until it was simply time to drop it as we would not get any further.

While that conversation brought knots to my stomach and tears to my eyes, I recognize that I have a mother who wants the best for me even if she doesn’t necessarily see that she is pushing my buttons at the same time–stabbing at a wound that already exists, but that is up to Nathan and I to heal, not her.

In other words, the discussion made me look at the situation from a new perspective. Only time will tell where that leads.

The biggest event of transformation was yet to come. The annual meeting of my local Smith Club consisted of dinner, a meeting, and a presentation by  Jennifer Walters, Dean of Religious Life and the Co-Director of the Women’s Narrative Project which,

” . . .  brings women together to engage in new thinking about the meaning of success. Our educational programs draw on research and personal experience to promote reflection on work, friendship, family and values. We aim to advance the national discussion on women and work-life balance, offer new models and encourage women at all stages of life to rewrite their own narratives.”

My regular readers will know that I often struggle with perceiving my own successes in life, and with explaining who or what I am, especially when I enter a room full of incredible women–a room full of Smithies.  Despite my recent declaration in a doctor’s office and on this blog that I am, indeed, a writer,  I was unable to say it yesterday, and found myself fumbling around in my life story as people wanted to learn what I do. I was back in the hole of self-doubt.

But then, a blessing happened. Dean Walters discussed this powerful program at Smith that includes:

“In its selective January-term course, the Women’s Narratives Project takes juniors and seniors on a grant-funded retreat to talk and write about themes inherent in making life decisions, including perfectionism, risk-taking, tolerating failure and family narratives of success.”

I’ve written about all of those things on this blog.

They have also offered a workshop like this to a group of alumnae, and are looking to expand their ability to offer workshops to interested alumnae. I recognized the value of what they had created to helping students cope with life at a challenging college but also life beyond. I also realized the value of the workshops, similar in some ways to the my experience in Slovakia, with the writing and archetype workshops we had along the way. The work they are doing at Smith is the type of project I love and want to do–creative workshops that help people improve their lives in some way.

Now I simply need to make that happen.

You never know when life is going to shift in a new direction but, as I learned yesterday, if you look through gentler eyes you might see magic.

Sometimes I Forget to Pee

Do you ever get so absorbed in what you are doing that you completely forget your bodily functions? Well, maybe not forget so much as ignore them until all of a sudden you realize that your bladder is about to explode and you may not make it to the bathroom.

I love it when that happens. 😉

Seriously, I love when I am so involved in writing or creating that time simply passes. Yesterday, in an attempt at avoiding the terrifying giant black ants that are threatening to carry me away in my sleep, I set out on a mission which would include buying some sweet seduction to rid myself of these scary monsters. I brought my computer along, and decided to work on my new blog as well as write yesterday’s post and maybe do a little work on my novel before facing the stores. I headed to B&N,  bought myself a large iced chai latte (as it was hot and steamy here yesterday) plugged myself in, and leaped into action.

I wrote a little. Took a sip. Wrote a little. Drank some more. Etc. I finished my drink, and filled the icy cup with water, and stayed focused. Time passed. Write. Drink. Write. Drink. Write, write, write.

Eventually, I actually recognized that a bathroom trip was necessary. After creating a little room, I recognized I was hungry so I bought a whole grain bagel, filled my cup with more water and continued to work.

Finally, I reached the point where I knew I had to stop. Words were no longer making sense, and the clock was slowly ticking toward the time when I had to be home from all errands to meet Sarah’s bus.  I packed up my computer and other things, stood up and said to myself  “Ah! I really have to pee! NOW!”

Doing an internal potty dance, I tried to gracefully rush across the store praying that there would be an open stall. Luckily there was, and the release of Niagara Falls pointed out that perhaps I should pay a little more attention to my bodily functions when I am writing.

Especially, when this is my constant companion:

Fill this baby with ice and water drink and repeat. You can never have enough water. (Of course, some people would rather fill it with beer I suppose, it comes with its own bottle opener attached)

I love getting lost in projects and having time fly. I just wish that if I have to forget a bodily function, I’d forget to eat instead. 😉

Call Me Crazy, But . . .

I’m starting another Blog!

Yes, I know, I’m insane, but not really. The other day a college put out a call for on-line resumes and portfolios for theatre artists interested in doing some freelance work for the coming academic year. I sort of have something set up at LinkedIn and Behance, and I added some things and perfected them to the best of my ability before sending off an e-mail.

[Should I be worried that I never got a reply back? Hm, let it go, Lisa . . . let it go.]

I was not completely satisfied, however, with the results. The format doesn’t say much about me. It doesn’t integrate all the complexities of the work that I do. So, I knew that I wanted a better on-line portfolio somehow.

Yesterday, at a fun and fabulous Memorial Day barbeque, somehow we got into discussing job searches and the need for an on-line portfolio. The discussion was really about one of my former students who designed the fabulous costumes for the production of Peggy the Pint-Sized Pirate presented by my Theatre for Young Audience class a few weeks ago.

You’ve got to love the baby sea monster.

Bethany said, “I know, I know, I have to start some sort of website.”

One of her friends said, “Use WordPress, its easy and has a lot of great options for portfolios.”

Ding Ding Ding!

D’oh!

Now why didn’t I think of that?

Now the advantage to this is that I don’t intend for this new blog to become a daily habit, or to replace Woman Wielding Words. Once I get it up to date (which may take me a while) I will only update it to add new projects and so on. It will be a blog to keep my work/creative history in order, but not a blog filled with as much randomness as this blog.

I’m still debating on whether or not I should enable comments on that blog. What do you think?

Don’t worry, I don’t expect you all to follow me over there or anything, but I would love feedback if you are interested. Of course, right now it is in the beginning stages so there is not much to see, but if you feel like wandering over I’d love to see you at The Creative Portfolio of Lisa Kramer

Just don’t call me crazy! 😉

The Art of Being Alone, Still Learning

What is the secret to being alone?

There are many people I know who have lived their whole lives alone, and manage to fill their days so completely that you wonder when they sleep.

I am not one of them.  I like being alone, sometimes. But on other times it seems like a yawning void, and I simply do not have the skills necessary to fill it.

Last night, I was completely, 100% alone. Well, I’ve been alone all week off and on during the day, but last night the house felt empty because I was the only living creature breathing in its rooms. Nathan has been gone since Tuesday, off to his summer job in Iowa with the dogs. Sarah was invited to a friend’s house for a sleepover. I was alone, with my books, my television, my plants, and the silence of frogs croaking, crickets chirping, the house creaking and the drone of the nearby freeway.

I was completely alone.

I woke this morning to the ringing of my phone, as Sarah called to ask if I would drop off a bathing suit so she could spend the day with her friends doing something that involved water.

So I’ve spent the whole morning alone. Did I spend it wisely? Of course not. I ended up watching Charmed episodes on DVD while playing a video game all morning.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been kind of fun.

But, the experience of being alone right now is making me think about how difficult it is to learn to be alone. I’ve written about alone vs. lonely before, and loneliness has been a recurring theme lately throughout my blog posts. But this post isn’t really about feeling lonely.

It’s about the art of being alone.

How does one be alone and feel fulfilled? I look back on the ways I have filled my time in the past, during periods where I lived alone, and I realize I have never truly mastered the art of being alone.

Here are some of the things I have done when I am alone. Not all of them are good for me.

  • Read
  • Cross-stitch
  • Sing
  • Write
  • Art
  • Crafts
  • Walk
  • Exercise
  • Daydream
  • Sleep
  • Study languages
  • Explore
  • Eat
  • Play computer games
  • Watching tv
  • drink (alcohol)–very rarely, and usually for a reason
  • cry
  • talk to myself
  • chat on Facebook
  • Clean up messes
  • Organize
  • Blog

While some of these things are good, I tend to spend more time on the time suck ones, like Facebook, computer games and television, and then get angry at myself for wasting time. So perhaps I should add to the list that I spend a lot of alone time being really hard on myself.

I don’t want to do that anymore.

I am looking toward more alone time this summer. While Sarah and I will be joining Nathan, I don’t really have a place or a purpose there. I try to help where I’m needed. but that help isn’t always welcomed. Sarah enjoys the freedom of the theatre lot, and entertains herself for most of the time. Nathan thrives on the work. I am alone.

I want to fill my alone time with substance. I want to work toward the life I dream, where I produce quality work in my alone time, and I spend quality time with other when I am not alone. But to do that I need to master the art of being alone.

How do I do this? How do you spend your time alone?

Meanwhile, as I wrote this, my alone time ended, and now I am dealing with a slightly grumpy, tired 9-year-old. Let the chaos begin.

Waiting for the Storm

The air feels heavy. Oppressive. It weighs me down, filling my body with laziness. My head feels the pressure, a subtle pain that will not disperse. My neck, a recurring problem in recent weeks, chooses to twinge, as if reacting to the extra thickness in the air.

I succumb, knowing that I will accomplish nothing. I read. I rest. I wait for the storm that is yet to come.

Just a few moments ago, the sun broke through for the first time all day, and I know I must write something.

Yet, the heaviness remains.

I yearn for the release of the storm. Despite my fear of the rumbling thunder or the crack of lightning, I want to feel the cleansing of the air. I sense that it will wash my soul, and free my mind from the weight of oppression.

I yearn for the smell of ozone, and the sense of renewal.

I await the storm.

It comes from inside.

Diving Into the Pool of Inspiration

“Books loved anyone who opened them, they gave you security and friendship and didn’t ask for anything in return; they never went away, never, not even when you treated them badly. ”
― Cornelia FunkeInkheart

I have spent a lot of time these past few weeks hiding inside books. I turned to favorite friends, re-entering stories I’ve read before, because I find comfort in them despite the dangers, the fears, the darkness, the sadness. The characters are my friends, and their journey of learning and growing becomes my own.

But I haven’t just been hiding, I have also been seeking. I’ve been looking for what makes great stories tick. What makes prose sing? Where do fresh metaphors come from? How does one write, or create, or paint, or anything in a way that transcends what has been done before?

After all  ” every story has already been told” (Anna Quindlan). It seems like every painting has already been painted, every song has already been written, every creative act has already been done.

But, if that’s true, I ask myself, why do so many of us continue to write? To paint? To plot? To sing? To do any kind of creative act? If it’s all been done before, what’s the use?

As I lost myself in Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart Trilogy (a series I’ve only read once before) I began to recognize the answer.

“Stories never really end…even if the books like to pretend they do. Stories always go on. They don’t end on the last page, any more than they begin on the first page.”
― Cornelia FunkeInkspell

If it is true that stories never really end, and every story has multiple characters, then there are multiple ways to tell a story. I’ve asked a question before (oddly enough prompted by reading another YA fantasy series) “where do stories come from?”. This question takes on more meaning in Funke’s series, when the author of the imaginary Inkspell gets read into his own book, into the world he supposedly created. The world he created has grown and changed and become a world he could not imagine, and he begins to wonder if someone else was writing the story.

Who is the author of the stories? Where does creativity come from?

We all know that practice makes us better at whatever art form we aspire to. We all know that if you want to be a writer then you have to practice the craft, just as an actor needs to train, and a singer needs to rehearse, and an artist needs to get dirty.

I think we also all know that hard work and practice isn’t enough. To truly become a great artist or a great writer, we need to have access to that mystical, spiritual, perhaps imaginary place of inspiration and imagination. We need to dive into the pool of shimmering fairy dust and submerge our bodies into the energy and power that comes when people create. I’ve felt it before, walking into a theatre on opening night, or into a classroom of young people  inspired by a creative project. The energy when creative people get together to create is palpable.  I imagine that on a level beyond our sight, the air fills with bright waves of color as ideas bounce around the room. These colors pour themselves into the creative pool, feeding it more energy so that it can grow and thrive. It is a powerful, beautiful, incredible place.

The struggle, of course, is how to gain access. It is available to all, but not everyone learns how to dive in, how to immerse themselves, how to succumb to the creative energy surrounding them and let that energy guide them. Some days, I am able to write or create from that place, but more often than not I get in my own way. I think too much, or let my doubts overcome possibility. When I do that, access to the pool closes and I find myself sitting cold and lonely in the dark, crying tears of loss and emptiness. Too often that feeling comes when I focus on things outside the creation itself. Questions like, “will I ever get published?” or “what will people think if I write this?” or “how can I make money doing this?” or “does doing this make the world a better place”  or any number of things outside the process interfere with the act of creation, and I lose access to the creative pool for long periods of time.

I am empty without it.

So, my goal is not to focus on the practicality of the product, but on the journey of creation. I am tired of not moving forward because of my perception of what I “should” be doing. I am tired of clinging to money or title as evidence that somehow I have am successful or reached a point of achievement. I now want to simply bathe in the pool of inspiration as often as I can, and let it’s energy feed me as I go on a wonderful journey into my version of the story.

I want to fight the battles in this world one creation at a time.

I still have a story to tell.


In Absence: Wisdom Learned from the Gaps

When I was in college I had a crush on a girl.

No . . . not that kind of crush. 😉 I had a crush on a group of women who would have been the popular kids in high school–the girls with brains, beauty, and all the guys. Blonde hair, blue eyes, perfect bodies, but also intelligent. They would have been the presidents of their classes, or the head of important committees. They were the people who traveled in the center while I remained on the fringe.

I admit, in what I now perceive as pathetic puppydom, I clamored for the attention of all of them, but of one person in particular. She gave it to me, while trying encourage me to perfect myself–to lose weight, to be less shy, to exercise more, to take risks. I lapped up her attention like a dog eats treats. I was there for her when she needed a shoulder to cry on, or when a boyfriend broke up with her, even sometimes when she needed a little extra spending money.

Truly pathetic.

It’s only now, years later, that I am able to see through the blinders of who they were and the thrall they cast on me. I was willing to do anything to spend time with them, and I tried to improve myself to be worthy of their attention.

Of course, eventually someone would cut me down, telling me that nobody would really want to spend time with someone who was not confident or came of depressed a lot of the time. I was working on that, seeing a counselor, trying to become a better me-0 but now I realize that they, perhaps unintentionally, kept my doubts and dismay alive. By having someone like me follow them around, glorifying their existence, it made them shine all the brighter.

I wasn’t completely stupid. When they truly cut me apart I would say “I don’t need them.” I had other friends, I had the theatre, I had really difficult major and an extremely challenging school. I focused on work and projects, making sure I never ate at the same time as them and was always busy.

If I did that long enough they would come looking for me. She would come looking for me.

Many of them went to different programs during Junior year, but I didn’t for numerous reasons. That year I thrived, I expanded new (healthier) friendships, I grew in confidence.  When they returned they didn’t have me as completely ensnared any more. I didn’t need them as much. But She in particular, still needed me.

When a woman in a position of power started harassing Her in the hopes of forming a relationship, She would run to me for help. I gave her advice, I played the middle man to try to soothe tensions, I helped solve the problem.

I thought we were best friends, but learned the truth after college when She never kept in touch. She didn’t even invite me to her wedding, when she invited everyone else.

Sometimes that still hurts.

But, looking back on that time from so many years ago, I learned something important. I learned that in absence, I am strong. I grew in strength when I allowed myself time alone, time away, time absent.

I’ve never allowed myself to be sucked in by the sheen of popularity again. I built walls around myself, entering friendships cautiously and carefully, tired of being used and hurt.

Then I started blogging.

In this strange world of the blogosphere, friendships form on the basis of words. We can only trust our instincts and the words written by people to find and form connections. We never know if someone is representing themselves in complete honesty, or creating a character which they share on-line.

That hasn’t stopped me. I’ve tried to make connections anyway, meeting people, in a virtual sense, who fascinate me even if we don’t agree on everything. I’ve connected outside of the blogs as well, a couple of times in person, but mostly over e-mail and/or Facebook. I admit to being seduced by some of the glitter of the popular kids here, the ones who have followings well beyond mine and manage to maintain their momentum. I made efforts to connect with some of them, but only maintained those connections if I felt they were real.

But how does one know its real, unless you meet in person?

As you know, a few weeks ago I decided to take a little time off from the regular blogging. I needed to re-evaluate everything in my life. I am at a crossroads and have yet to decide which direction I am heading. So I’ve only written a few posts. I have read some (although I admit not many–I apologize if you feel neglected) and commented here and there.

As should be expected, my numbers dropped.  A part of me felt saddened by the drop, but recognized that people don’t have time to read through the archive of my work if I am not producing new works. My absence did not, does not, change the fabric of the blogosphere–and I should not expect it would.

However, the longer I didn’t write, the more I began to wonder if my blogging even mattered to any of the people I’ve met here.

I know the answer. A few people have dropped in for comments, or said hi on Facebook. A few people have reached out through e-mails. And yesterday, the fabulous Victoria from Victoria-writes reached out to me when she had a little Wobble starting with the words, “How are you? I miss your blog posts!”

Magic words that made me realize that I have indeed created friendships with my words.

I know that someday, perhaps far in the future but someday, I will take the trip to England that I have always wanted to take. I will wander into a lovely coffee shop with decadent pastries and I will meet my long-time friend and blogging buddy, Victoria.  She will, of course, by then be a famous author, but she will make time in her busy schedule to meet with me. Offer our delicious treats we will discuss the trials and tribulations of writing, as well as our lives and our families, and the other things that connect us. I can see it now, and it makes me smile.

Her note made me realize that despite distance, I still have wonderful friends out there. As I was typing this, I got a message from a college friend (not one of the golden girls, a true friend) asking if I would like to try to get together sometime (she lives about 1 1/2 hours from me).

In absence I am learning what kind of friends I really want, and really need. In silence I am slowly discovering where I want to take my life, even if I am still unclear of the path. In not writing, I am writing, as I find new ways to form my words and new reasons to write them.

I still have a long way to go, but I am no longer the girl blinded by blonde hair and fairy dust.

I am present in my absence.

I realize now I may never be the center of the popular crowd, but I am content on the fringe, with the small group of friends who support, question, challenge and inspire.

There are many of them.

A fabulous couple!

Sinning is Fun

The Seven Deadly Sins (ca. 1620) - Envy

The Seven Deadly Sins (ca. 1620) – Envy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few weeks ago I told you about the Seven Deadly Sins contest over at k8edid. I didn’t win, but the entries were all truly fabulous and full of gluttonous decadence.

We’re back now for another wander into the sinful side of life with a sin I’ve written about before, and am definitely guilty of feeling.  It was challenging to write about Envy in a short story of 600 words. I am also trying to make all of my sins form a whole story, and this time I changed perspective a little.

So wander over to Envy–Post 2 (read Post 1 while you are at it, you won’t regret it) and enjoy the sinning.

Meanwhile, I’ll be back later today with a more substantial post, I hope.

 

 

Squished Breasts, Technology, and Other Medical Mysteries

The arrow on this mammogram points to a small ...

The arrow on this mammogram points to a small cancerous lesion. A lesion is an area of abnormal tissue change (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just returned from my yearly moments of torture, that  I refer to as getting my boobs squished, but more academically minded folk would call a mammogram.

Boy was it fun.

Actually, though, while not the most comfortable experience of my life,  I have to say that the worst part has nothing to do with getting your flesh and muscles smooshed between two plates while you stand in a contorted position and try to fantasize that you are taking beauty shots. No, that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part comes from the fact that I moved last summer.

What? Confused readers everywhere (well the few of you who are reading).

As you know, when you move, especially from one state to another you must find new medical care. First, however, you have to wait the endless amounts of time before your full medical benefits kick in (if you even have medical insurance) then you have to go through the torture of finding a doctor when you have no clue. I kept putting it off for a couple of reasons, one laziness, and the other that I’ve had to leave two wonderful doctors in the past two years and I just didn’t want to go through it again. To be fair, the first one that I left passed away just before we moved from Colorado, which meant I would have had to choose a new one anyway. The second fabulous doctor quit the practice just after I moved from Kansas, which means the same thing. Maybe I’m bad luck on doctors.

Anyway, I finally realized that preventive medicine was the better way to go, and got myself together to get a doctor. Of course, there was only one accepting patients in my area. One, not so exciting, kind of personality-less doctor. I’m giving her a chance. Maybe she will warm up, but meanwhile that’s what I got.

In preparation for my first visit I had contacted the prior medical group hoping to be able to walk in carrying my complete medical history and hand it over.

“Can I please have my medical records sent to me?”

“No, we can only send them to your doctor after they have you sign a release.”

WHAT?!  THESE ARE MY RECORDS, WHY CAN’T I HAVE ACCESS TO THEM?!!

I didn’t feel like fighting that battle, so I gave in and waited until my first appointment and sent away for records. That made for an exciting appointment with Dr. Personable.

“I don’t have any records of you.”

“No, I have to have them sent.”

“Well, what medications were you on?”

“I can tell you a few.”

“Why were you on those ones? They don’t help cholesterol or blood pressure?”

“Um, because that’s what my doctor told me to take.”

“Well, what do you want to do now?”

Ugh! This is part of my problem with this particular doctor. If I knew how to treat myself, I would, but she’s supposed to be the expert. In my opinion, she should lay out my options and then help me make decisions, not ask me to tell her what to do. I’ve seen her twice now . . . we shall see if we go past a third visit.

On the second visit, she had my records, but not all of them. No sign of my immunization record. Luckily I have that (current as far as I know) and will bring it to them eventually, or send it. But seriously, where the hell are they? Supposedly Kansas didn’t have them either. So then why didn’t Colorado send them? When all medical records have been put into a computer, why are mine so incomplete?

Ok, next visit involved getting my vision checked. True, I didn’t have those records sent (different doctor, and in Colorado) but I wasn’t concerned. I didn’t think there were any major things that they couldn’t discover simply by doing the exam.

Oh how wrong I was.

See I have a Nevus inside my eye. What’s a Nevus? According to Wordnik it’s :

“n. A congenital growth or mark on the skin, such as a mole or birthmark.”

Translation, I have freckle like birthmark inside my eye. Sarah has a freckle that you can see on her eye.

It’s a freckle.

Anyway, in Colorado, my fabulous eye doctor had the technology to take pictures of the inside of my eyes to look at the size and the shape of the nevus, as well as my general eye health. For that reason, I haven’t had to have my eyes dilated in years.  When I went to get my eyes checked, I assumed that would be the case here, but of course I was wrong.  And, not being a medical professional, I didn’t know to mention the nevus early in the appointment. After a severe scolding from Dr. Lackofpersonality #2, I was informed that I have to come back (with an expensive copay this time) and be dilated because “now that he knows, he has to check it.”

That fun happens tomorrow.

Next, of course, was the fun female examination I discussed in “Things I Don’t Understand”. At least there I connected with a fabulous Nurse Practitioner, and solved the mystery of my past history by simply choosing (under her guidance) to move on and let it go.

Ah the relief.

Back to today’s misadventures in Medical history. I walked in thinking there should be no problem, they sent my records. Well, yes, they sent my records. They sent the analysis of the records. They DID NOT send the films. No pictures. Nada.

“Do you have them?”

“No, they wouldn’t give them to me.”

“They might not look at the new pictures without them. We’ll have to send for them again.”

Aaaauuuuuggggghhhhh!

One of the worst things is waiting for the results of a mammogram. Even though there’s no family history of breast cancer, it looms as a possibility in every women’s mind. But, because of the incompetence of medical records and a confusing inability for one system to talk to another, I have to wait longer than the average time to find out my results.

There are a couple of good things about this now. I finally have access to my own medical records, via technology. So if we find ourselves moving again it shouldn’t be so hard. I also have finally caught up to myself in terms of proactive medical treatment.

Except for the dentist.

Bleah!

Alone But Not Lonely, Writing in a Crowd

“I know I should be working on my book/course work,” I said to Nathan this morning. “But the problem is my instructor chose the story A. I don’t know where that story begins. I don’t really know what the conflict is. I’ll never be a writer.”

“Let’s talk about this,” he said, and started asking me questions about the characters, the world, and anything he thought might help.

This all happened as he was packing up his lunch and preparing to leave for the day, which would leave me alone in a house where you would think I could get a lot of writing done. Except that I don’t. Or maybe I can’t. Or is it simply that, in my current state of confusion, I simply don’t want to write?

No that’s not it. I want to write. I want to create a story, a world. While deep down inside I hope that I write something good enough to be published, I know that I will never achieve that if I don’t sit down and write.

Nathan left for work. A quiet home. Do I sit down and write? No. I lie down and read, not even something new as I am rereading one of my favorite YA fantasy series (the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull). But thoughts begin to distract me, and I just down some ideas on my yellow pad. I finally think I know where the story can begin.

I hop into the shower, and a chapter begins to write itself in my head.

Of course, out of the shower, over at my computer, the first thing I do is check Facebook.  Uh oh! I think, time to make a move away from the lonely so that I can get some actual work done.

I’ve written about before about the pros and cons of a coffee shop office. The truth is there are times when I want to be in the comfort of my own home, locked away in the privacy of my office, working. But, recently I find that I accomplish more when I get myself out of the house, take myself to one of the two or three locations that have internet access and wall plugs, buy myself a warm drink and a little snack, and then face the blank screen.

I guess there’s just something about being alone in a crowd that helps me focus.

Today’s writing location. I’m sure you can figure out where it is.

It seems to have worked. I have managed to write a chapter, edit some others, write a rough draft of a 1500 word summary, and now I am working on this blog post.

I was going to quit after I finished the summary, but I hopped over to Facebook to find that blogging buddy Mckenzie is attempting to write at a bakery in the hopes that it will help her write. We chatted for a minute and I started this post. She is typing away (I hope) on a chapter as we speak.

See, I’m not alone. We had a short chat and it inspired this post. Writing can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be.

For me, at least, it seems I write better in a crowd. How about you?

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