Don’ Give Up

Grandlings, Zoe and Noah on the Downtown Mall.

Grandlings, Zoe and Noah on the Downtown Mall.

I’ve been running into those words often for a couple of days now as I try to get myself back into my daily routine and at work on my memoir.  It’s been a crazy couple of weeks in which the routine, the writing, exercise, and getting enough sleep have taken a backseat to other things.

The loss of Brody took a number of days before the waves of grief that overtook me became fewer.  During that time I mostly sat and cried, unable concentrate on the simplest of daily activities.

Five days later the annual Virginia Festival of Book started here in Charlottesville, and with it came a visit from a friend whom I’d never before met in person, but with who I knew I had much in common.  We’d emailed and made comments back and forth on each other’s blogs and even talked on the phone once.  Shirley Showalter of 100 Memoirs was someone I’d stumbled upon on the Internet and it turns out she lives only about two hours away.  Her book, Blush, will be in print and on bookstore shelves sometime in the fall.  She’d been planning to visit the Festival of the Book and I invited her to stay with me here in my home.

What a wonderful time it was.  We went to a few of the festival sessions together and spent hours talking and reading to each other from our memoirs. Way ahead of me on the writing and the publishing angles, she is an inspiration and I know that if she lived any closer I’d often be on her doorstep asking unending questions. When Shirley returned home l was filled with excitement, new ideas and directions for my writing as well as pinpointing publishing options.

For a few days I struggled with catching up on all that I had let slide for a week.  The daily rounds of laundry, preparing food for the upcoming Easter weekend and visit from my daughter’s family took up most of my time. Not to be forgotten was taking time to play with our new adoptee, Max, who snuggled his way into our bed and hearts, easing the sadness of Brody’s untimely death.  There was little time for writing, except for capturing notes as I remembered things I would change in my memoir, made lists of new books to read, and emailed a few new contacts. I also just needed to sit with myself to bring the roar of excitement to a lower level in which I could think more clearly, keeping myself from being overwhelmed by all that I wasn’t getting done.

Easter weekend was a blast with my Grandlings (read grandchildren) staying with us, sleeping in our basement, “Harry Potter” room, which looks somewhat like a set from the movie.  We gifted Lisa and Deena with a stay in a nearby hotel so that they could have a few evenings without the kids. We spent lots of time walking and laughing and on Saturday helped to surprise Mark’s stepdaughter Casey on her 25th birthday with a lovely party.  It was the first time in a number of years in which my kids were all here together. We joyfully spent our time celebrating each other.  As I grow older occasions  like this past weekend become more and more important to me.

Casey blowing out her candles.

Casey blowing out her candles.

We’re all back in the daily grind now, and I can’t help but feel a bit let down.  I’ve not felt like writing and last night caught myself thinking that maybe this memoir I’m working on is a waste of time.

I’ve so enjoyed the distractions of friends, parties, great food, laughter and being with my kids, that returning to the serious work of reliving the past and moving through it to healing, seems more painful than usual. The sunshine and the bursting forth of new life is stealing my attention and my need to get my hands into the earth is growing.  Words flow onto the page with difficulty and I struggle to make myself sit down and dive back into what was.  Time marches on and there are so many things I still want to do.

But I am returning to my work, knowing that it is something I must do, even when it doesn’t feel good. I’ve moved my September 1st deadline for a finished first draft to November 1st, and plan on giving myself a few breaks along the way.  We’ re making plans to kidnap Zoe and Noah for a week this summer when we’ll ride the train up to Washington and take in the museums.  We’ll also go swimming, read books together, see a silly movie or two and just be with each other.

In the meantime, I’ll not give up working on my story.  I love the writing, even when I hate it. I’m growing way beyond the trauma that once made me hide from life.  The secret is to integrate the past and the present, stay out in the sunlight, breathe deeply, and enjoy every single moment that comes my way.  Time will do as it will.

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”  Earl Nightingale

This entry was posted in Books, Dogs, family, Friendships, Gratefulness, Healing, Life, love, Memoir, Navigating Through Life, Quotes, The Garden, Time, Uncategorized, Wise Words, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Don’ Give Up

  1. oh sweetie….i’m with you every step of the way here….how busy life gets, the struggle of writing, the loss of a beloved member of the family. and frankly, i would have run off with my newfound girlfriend just as you did….please don’t give up, we all need you…and i really, really get the part about loving the writing and hating it….sending some love to your muse!

  2. shirleyhs says:

    Dear Joan, your life is so rich, and it was so good of you to share it with me! I did the same thing you did — went from our tea-soaked conversations to intense work and relationships. Off to NYC today for more.

    The writing will come. I promise. And all this juice will find a way into it. Much love, Shirley

  3. jzrart says:

    Thanks so much for your reassurance, Shirley. Even though I know the writing will come, it’s always wonderful to hear it from someone you know and respect. Thank you for your visit and sharing your rich life as well.

    X0, Joan

    PS. Enjoy New York!

  4. warmginger says:

    Such beautiful, heartfelt writing describing your lack of a heartfelt desire to write. 😉
    I’m just emerging from a weird downbeat couple of weeks, compounded by RSI and work words draining the time and impetus to play with my own words. I think I just needed to reconnect with myself a little bit and maybe this is what you have been doing too. And my goodness, your ‘distractions’ are the most wonderful gifts and blessings aren’t they?

    • jzrart says:

      Thanks for you kind words. I do LOVE my distractions. They are blessings and make my life very full and rich. Sometimes when I’m very spoiled by them, and have slouched in a deep, soft chair, it’s hard for me to get up and move into a straight backed, wooden one. It’s a matter of balance I think, which I am getting better at … sometimes!

      • warmginger says:

        It isn’t easy, but I do love being a work in progress don’t you? Imagine how dull life would be if we thought of ourselves as ‘finished’.
        I’ve taken lounging to the extreme this Easter holiday. We have a rug and lots of cushions out the back, Arabic style, and I’ve been enjoying my morning pages and coffee out there. I think it’s a new bad habit I’m going to keep!

  5. jzrart says:

    Yes, I do love being a work in progress. I can’t imagine being finished. There would be no mystery … no surprises. Your morning pages routine does sound like a keeper. Keep on keeping!

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