Tonight, without any prompting from me, my mother gave me three full boxes of my Dad’s cassette tape recordings. Some are his original music, some are recordings from various Spanish stations, all of them are memory.
I’ve been given a treasure trove of my father’s memories.
I have access to a part of soul, I can guess what he felt, I can reach for his motivation and thinking — Why did he record this and not this other thing over here? He was interested in this? Wow, I didn’t know this!
This is a big deal for me, as my parents have had nothing to do with the Facebook era. No statii on various posts, no 140-character thoughts.
Dad ebbed into the silence, and now I’ve been given the memory of his voice. … I’m still processing this. But I know it’s a magnificent thing. Thank you, Mom.
Why did he record so much? Was he lonely?
– No, Mom, he was alive. And making memories for us.
But there’s so much.
– That’s because he had so much to say. This was his language, a part of his soul.
We’re prepping for a multi-genre project. This is a WNB entry I came up with as I demonstrated extended thinking with my kids. Previous entries were “Moss,” “More Moss,” “The oak tree.” [this one], then finally “Moss Eulogy.” Sassy Oak is next, I think. I feel inspired.
As I sit here, I notice the lady with the flowery dress staring at me. She looks prettier than me, maybe. Her print dress has blue flourishes that go this way and that, her hair is kind of curly and wavy and interesting and all at the same time, and she has these funky tennis shoes with bright-colored socks, and a pretty pink sweater.
She looks alive and interesting.
Me? I just sit here.
I wonder what she wonders as she stands there wondering at me.
I know she’s wondering at me. She regards me, maybe, I know this, because she just snapped a branch off that Charlie’s been living on for the past six months, ever since he was a spore. How sad, I think I’m next.
I’m not too worried, though. Even if she were to peel my little twirly plant body off of this dead, twiggy branch, I would survive. Probably for a long time. I know this because Ralph and Doolittle (as we used to call him) got ripped off their branches by high winds — or was it a rogue robin (who was looking for filler for her nest who later changed her mind and just dumped him)? There they lay there on the ground for weeks and weeks — looking very much like I do. Until a storm passed through and washed them into the gutter. Now I’m sure they look like mud. I wonder if they live on.
I wonder what she’s going to do with Charlie. Maybe she’ll eat him. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, though, because she and her family came and consumed this cirlce-thig with what I know are mushrooms. Wait. Maybe we’ll be the toppings sprinkled on her next circle-thing.
I wonder how long it’ll take for me to guest in her stomach.
My youngest daughter completes her 8th year this December. To me, she’s already 9, which is mysterious to me because just 6 months ago, she was only 5 years old.
This particular phenomenon is all my doing. The children don’t see this in themselves, they don’t intend to demonstrate these ages at all, but as the wistful parent who’s watching the last of her children’s childhoods .. it’s all I can do to see them 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 all at once. Or 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, and 14. Or 21, 20, 19 and 18. Or 10, 9, 8, and 7. Or 13, 12 and 11. That would be my second daughter. She has always been 11 since she was 2, graceful and mature and independent since she knew she could run.
Beatrice, my youngest, aged quickly from 5 to 9 because 9 has always been my favorite year for the children, because 9 was my own favorite year. I have very few memories. What memories I do have depend on photographs of 1.) me nestling next to my mother when she was about 47 (… I’ve silenced myself for a second there.. Just this moment I realized this. Mom was just a few years older than I am now..) and of 2.) me before I go on my first trip, by myself to a big city.
Me, standing with medium-length hair parted on the right with a bow. Me, semi-toothless and joyful. Me, still clueless in childish wonder. This was the year before I woke up. Before I knew. Before I saw. Before I felt. Before I understood. Before I knelt. Before I cried.
Sometime several weeks ago, the age kicked in for my youngest. Which is unusual for my thinking. Usually, their little years will extend into their older years, and not the other way around. My soul must sense this last year, wanting to relish this last year early.
With every 9 that my children celebrate, I find myself cherishing the last of their childhood, but contemplating the strength of my will to sustain the joy, peace and innocence of their lives. Just by loving well, I think.
I originally titled this post “Insanity” — I’m in the habit of plunking down my title first, then revising at the end, possibly. But this one was Insanity. Or, “I Have a lot of Life Goals and I’m Really Only 12.”
I feel like I’m 12.
When I logged on just now, I loaded up Day 31, just to have him ready — again, because I have a habit of pushing it to the very, very end and posting super-last minute. Day 31 needs to be up! And when I see this page, I remember there are so, so many writers I want to visit and encourage and love and just immerse myself with.
Visiting and reading 5-6 posts in 1 blog was the most powerful experience I encountered during my time here with this Slicer Community. The strength of the people, voices behind the writing was exhilarating to me. “Exhilarating” is not a word I use very often. It’s like “immensely” — you save those words for those rare, very moving occasions. That was me when I was here.
So, this is one of my goals: to read each and every blog that I didn’t get to and immerse myself with wonderful, teacherly, writerly thoughts.
And I’ll continue writing. Possibly not here, though. I want to save this space for slices. I will continue to add pieces, and probably move longer diatribes of random thinking. Perhaps like this one. I don’t really have many plans, though. The one, overarching idea is to write everyday in the blogosphere, somewhere.
And to write a larger piece. I feel myself moving from Notebook writing, which is something I’ve wanted to do for awhile — tried to do, but could not imagine doing. Now piqued into writing larger pieces. So, we’ll see where that will take me.
And, I will continue to carve out this time for myself. I’ve been a Mom for a total of .. close to 22 years. I put writing on hold for at least 20 of those years, because I sensed it just wasn’t the right time. Forcing it just wasn’t me. Now, there’s this wonderful family accommodation I’ve experienced all month long and I’m not going to give it up.
I know I’m a writer. I’ve always known. Now, the only thing that’s changed is the people closest to me know I’m a writer and respect that space I need for my endeavors.
In 1 year, I weaned them off of me (no, this is true!) by pulling out notebook after notebook after notebook after notebook, finishing notebook after notebook after notebook after notebook, and so now, this blog is — not necessarily a culmination of all that work — it’s a stone in the river of I began wading across and now I just want to swim in. Cross-stream. Radically against the current. Fighting and breathing and feeling and thinking and strategizing down deep down to pull out the truest truth that’s inside of me.
Oh, my, I hadn’t even thought about that one.
Wow. I have a Radical Goal. I haven’t had one in years.
I want to write a little novel.
I want to write a chapbook of poetry.
I want to write a novel told in verse.
I want to write a memoir.
I want to write non-fiction pieces for children.
I want to write a book to my children.
I will write a little novel.
I will write a chapbook of poetry.
I will write a novel told in verse.
I will write a memoir.
I will write non-fiction pieces for children.
I will write a book to my children.
And I will work all these ideas through Process in my classroom with my students.
I'm the slice you didn't write
The moment you
took too long
and forgot about a moment later.
take the time
to plant me
In your Writer's Notebook for later. Why didn't you?
I'm one you'll
but come back, we'll talk, and you'll see.
You shouldn't skip
I’m right here, right in front of you.
I'm the slice you should write down when you think you didn't notice.
I'm the version of a story that belongs to everyone.
I'm the one you can't remember later, so think about using your phone to record the moment.
I'm the slice you're going to be thankful you didn't miss.
Don't let me be the slice you didn't write.
We’re traveling down to see my parents tomorrow. I already know that I’ll experience a rush of experiences, feelings and .. well, everything:
Like last time.
Because the prime is pumped with this blogging
And with our poetry unit. I’m noticing everything. Everything. The worst is within myself, I can’t seem to shut it off..
Therefore, meet Little Notebook. I bought one for Beatrice, too. She’s not keen on writing. This year, she’s discovered a horror of spelling, so she’s timid about even beginning an idea, and I think I’m about to break through with boosting her confidence.
You can write whatever you want, honey. You can always go back and fix, but it’s so important to capture your ideas, because they’re you! I can go back and check my spelling at the end. Yes, exactly!
When we go down, it’ll be the perfect time to reinforce this. She’ll be my little writing buddy.
I know I won’t have time for full-blown pages in my Writer’s Notebook and my goal will be to continue finding material for this blog. Thusly, Little Notebook.
This morning, when I woke up, I had 4, 5, 6 full-blown ideas, complete with BMEs (Beginnings, Middles and Ends). I had to grab a used post-it to bubble 1-words down as reminders. I NEVER consider myself a morning person, but, boy, what do you do when you have a whole mini-essay or story flash behind your eyes? This is the beauty behind writing everyday, blogging everyday. Right now, though, I don’t even know where that post-it is.
So, tonight, as I was at the market to restore our coffee supply, I swung by the notebooks, looking for something tiny to replace the need for those post-its on our trip. My fingers touched them gingerly, pining over them like a prayer. Oooh, I remember when I used these… (like, last week). This year alone, I must have filled.. oh, dozens. [Note to self — blog + pic of the stack. So, what your’e seeing is a near-replacement of my beloved notebooks. I’ve been bit.
I don’t know how long this blog will last, but I like riding waves, and right now, I’m giving myself all the permission in the world.
So, goal: fill Little Notebook in a weekend. Can I do it? We’ll see.