Sunday, May 20, 2012

I Am a Writer

As the warm water washes over my body in my morning shower, thoughts are whirling around inside my brain just begging to be captured on paper before they once again elude me. I let myself allow those thoughts to go where they desire.

The ideas excite me so much I hurry through the rest of my shower, step out of the tub, towel off and begin to get dressed so that I can begin the business of writing today because....

I am a writer.

As I comb my hair it feels a little oily. Did I forget to shampoo? I ponder whether It would be possible to let it go since I've set aside today to really concentrate on writing a contest entry for the "You Are a Writer" Contest. I decide against it; we have Bed and Breakfast guests arriving shortly and it would not look very professional for a disheveled host with somewhat oily hair to greet them. So it's back into the shower.

Now, I am showered (twice), shampooed, dressed and ready to begin. I turn my iPad on, poise my fingers over the keyboard and....the phone rings. Better take this call it might be a B&B booking......

By now the clock is showing 1:00 and my stomach is demanding I decide to fix myself something to eat, but continue to keep the creative thoughts flowing, while I gobble down left-over chicken pot pie.

I stack the dishes in the sink, turn to go back to my bedroom office, ready to get a fresh start, when my little dog begins barking wildly alerting me to the arrival of our B&B guests.

I get them settled in, return to the house ready to begin at last.

I am a writer.

As I pass through the living-room I catch a glimpse of a white car parked in front of our house. I pause to look at it a minute trying to discern why it's just sitting there when I notice a lady getting out with a package. I grab the ginger ale I had poured into a wine glass and head outside to meet her. She hands me an overnight package to sign for and comments on the beauty of our gardens.  As I sign the receipt slip I tell her we are actually a B&B. I see her staring a bit at the wine glass and I explain to her that, though I am a writer, I'm not drinking wine in the middle of the day - it's just ginger ale.

"You're okay," she says soothingly, "You're okay."

I ask her if she wants to come in to take a peek at the gardens and I offer her some ginger ale, more for proof of my sobriety than for pure hospitality. We have a pleasant visit and then I head back inside and sit down to begin writing.

The house phone rings. I ignore it and keep writing. The doorbell rings. I ignore it and keep writing. It rings again, this time more insistently, so I reluctantly get up to answer it. It's my neighbor, explaining that he has some of our mail and that he tried to call but no one answered so he thought he'd better bring it over.  I thank him, but silently wonder why he didn't just put it in our mailbox. I try to be pleasant as I move towards the gate with him, all the while only half listening as he talks about the tree across the street that is sure to fall on our house when the next big storm blows through if the county doesn't cut it down soon. I excuse myself and tell him I need to get back to work because...

I am a writer.

I decide that I need to pack up and go to my favorite coffee shop to get away from all the distractions so I can really write. After I arrive, I order a cup of serene green tea (because by now I need it) and a cinnamon scone and pick out a table in an out of the way corner near the back of the shop.

At last I am alone with my thoughts. My fingers fly across the keyboard much like a pianist's fly across a piano during the Allegro scherzando third movement of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor. I become lost in the words, lost in the story, unaware of passing time. The ideas seem to flow effortlessly and I am quite sure that at last I will have something to show for my efforts.

Sharon, one of the shop's owners, invites herself to sit down for a moment to chat. She directs my attention to a large table nearby where the pieces of a puzzle are spread out and invites me to work a while on the "community" project. I decline, thinking that I am already hard at work on my own puzzle, trying to fit the fragments of sentences together to form an inspiring piece.

Sharon excuses herself to go and assist a customer and I see Carrie heading towards me with the same expectant smile she always wears. As she asks if I mind if she sits down, and does so without waiting for my response, I instantly feel a prick of guilt over not feeling more altruistic towards her today.  Carrie is a high functioning autistic which she proudly proclaims to whoever will listen. She is full of stories, mostly the same ones retold in different ways, but ones she loves to tell nonetheless. I push aside my iPad, give her my full attention and just listen without interrupting to comment. After a while, she notices my iPad, my pen and the papers which are strewn all over the table and proclaims to me, "Oh, you are a writer!"

"Why, yes," I reply.

"I am a writer."

Two hours later, 268 calories richer and $6.75 poorer, with two proud paragraphs to my name, I head home. I cook and eat dinner, clean up, feed the dog and take a long hot bath. 
I slip into my nightgown and then slip into bed. I pull my iPad close, ready to have some really intimate conversation with it but it seems that all that I've wanted and waited all day to tell it, has slipped away. 

I decide to thumb through a few magazines in hopes of gaining a little inspiration. I find myself getting pumped with creative ideas - ideas on how to make my environment a more inspiring one in which to write because....

I am a writer.

I survey my bedroom office. The floral lavender walls provide the perfect balance of inspiration and relaxation. The plum colored sheets covered with a beautiful ivory matelasse coverlet dress the king-sized cherry wood sleigh bed. A hand painted five-shelf bookcase holds only books which inspire me to create. On the right side of our bed is my writing space. Two huge 30x16 rose canvases are mounted above my antique verde colored wicker and iron desk. Two oil-rubbed bronze buffet lamps flank either side of the desk, and my laptop and iPad rest in the middle. 

Oh this is a place I can write! It's a place where I can withdraw from the world, be alone with my thoughts and coax them onto the page. In fact, I am able to coax several more paragraphs out in a short time and I begin to feel encouraged that I might make the contest deadline after all.

I am a writer!

But wait.....something is not quite right.....I hate to admit it, but I a person who is visually inspired and very cognizant of the psychology of color and how it affects my mood and ability to create, I have to admit that this iPad case which I ordered online last week thinking it was plum, only to discover it is actually grape, just isnt working.
I have tried to pretend it is plum, tried to pretend it works, but each time I look at it - it reminds me of the nasty grape-flavored anti-nausea medicine I needed to take last week after an acute attack of gastritis. It causes me to feel nauseated all over again and I just can't write.

I decide to Google " best iPad 3 covers" and also to Google "whether plum or fuchsia inspires more creativity."

Although plums resume touts it as encouraging deep contemplation, pink is described as a powerful color representing the feminine principal. I find both a plum, and a lipstick pink leather cover. I switch back and forth between the two, comparing them in high resolution, and I finally decide on the lipstick pink one hoping that it is in actuality closer to fashion fuchsia than to hot pink. It should perfectly balance out the lavender walls, the plum accents and look beautiful sitting atop my verde desk under the oversized pictures of the pink roses which perfectly blend shades of amaranth pink, carnation pink and Persian rose with apple and forest greens, sepia, ecru and eggshell.

I decide to forego the advertised free shipping and decide instead to pay the two day shipping cost. That way I can be assured that my beautiful leather pink lipstick case with its intricate pebble detailing will arrive before the deadline for getting my "You Are a Writer" entry in.

Then I can do the final draft sitting at my desk, bathed in creative surroundings and I can be sure that it captures, in my own unique way, through my own unique process, who I am....

I am a writer!

As I hit the "buy now" button, I notice the clock reads 2 a.m. I lay the iPad aside, pull the covers up and let my final thoughts of the day carry me where they will because...

I am a writer!

Terry Gassett

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day

Each Mother's Day I like to remind each of my three (now-grown) children of the sacrifices I've made as a mother, both as they came into this world, and as I raised them to be the fine young men and women they have become.

For my daughter that means listening to the story (again) of how I labored for 20 looong hours, without pain medication of any kind, determined to bring her into this world going the natural childbirth route. It means listening to how the doctors let me labor for those twenty looong hours under the illusion that nature would indeed eventually take its course, only to receive news that I had to have an emergency C-Section before she would make her debut into this world.
For my oldest son, it means listening to me tell the story of spending nine long months of pregnancy confined to bed rest due to a condition referred to as placenta previa. It means listening to me tell the story of stopping off at Mama Harbison's for lunch and one last piece of carrot cake before going into labor and delivery, then spending my prep time for my scheduled C-Section with my head in a puke pan because I ate too much!
And last but not least, my youngest - also born by C-Section - has to listen to me recount how he refused to come out of the womb until the doctors cut an extra incision above the bikini line, forever putting an end to all hope that I could one day wear a bikini again.

Then of course I like to remind them of the endless sleepless nights caring for them as newborns, the terrible twos, and the always interesting teen years where they each began  to spread their wings to fly, while I ran around frantically trying to clip them back!

Then, each Mother's Day they remind me  (not with words) but with their presence, just how blessed I am to be a mother - to be their mother. For you see, each one of them is special, each one is a gift to me - a gift that has made my life more interesting, more rewarding, more fulfilled.

They have taught me far more valuable lessons than I have probably taught them.  They have taught me that Motherhood is indeed a noble profession - a valuable undertaking.  As a mother, I have been entrusted with the care of three precious gifts, which each came wrapped in their own unique boxes, and to this day never cease to amaze me with the joy that each gift holds.  They have taught me the value of unconditional love, both given and received.  They have taught me the value of holding on and letting go. They have taught me the value of tears and the value of laughter.  They have taught me the value of prayer and the privilege of being on my knees for them before the Lord. They have taught me to be grateful - grateful for the moments which make up a life - which make up Motherhood.

So this Mother's Day - I'd also like to remind my children not only of the sacrifices I've made as a mother for them - but of the blessings I've received from them - blessings that far outweigh any sacrifice I ever made or could ever make for them. And I'd like to remind them how very much I love them.


Ahh - Stress - we're on all too familiar terms.  But how well are we acquainted with the other side of the coin - Refreshment?  Jesus tells us "Come unto me all ye who are burdened and heavy-laden and I will refresh you.

While Jesus and His Word provide the ultimate refreshment, we can also rejoice that we have been blessed with the creative canvas of our Father which is on permanent display for our enjoyment each day.

When was the last you stopped to truly delight in the beauty of God's creation? The last time you paused to enjoy a raindrop gently touching your cheek? The last time you sat quietly listening to the morning songbird serenading her young or the evening Hoot Owl bidding you a good night? The last time you drank in the intoxicating aroma of a rose or ran your fingers gently over its velvety petals?

Can you remember when you last witnessed a breathtaking sunrise or watched clouds morph from cats into old ladies?  How long has it been since you've said hello to the "man in the moon" or quietly waited on your front porch for "star light, star bright, the first star you see tonight?"

When was the last time you skimmed a rock out over the top of a creek just so you could count the ripples it made? Listened to the secret conversations hidden deep within the recesses of the sea shell you discovered as you witnessed the ocean changing from high tide to low tide?

When was the last time you paused and unloaded your burdens?

All too often we are so busy carrying our burdens from place to place that we miss the joy of the moment, and so refreshment eludes us.

Refreshment begans with a pause - pausing to put down our burdens, pausing to pick up the Word, pausing to commune with God in prayer, pausing to drink in the beauty of His creation.

Will you take time to pause today and experience the joy of refreshment?