Friday, September 28, 2012

Tracking Down the Elusive Muse

Inspiration is one of the greatest con's of creativity, especially for writers.

What's the number one question writers are asked at a reading- "Where do you get your ideas?" The idea being that one of the elusive goddesses appears out of the mist of creativity endowing a fortunate few with an elixir that keeps them prolific masters.

New writers often get caught up attempting to lure the Muse and it's no wonder when you read interviews with writers who treat writing as though it is a religion only entered into by those with  faith. For these writers words are supplied by the Muse and they are nothing but passive vessels. These are the writers who chant, burn incense, pray, meditate and treat writing as an ineffable act/

All of these rituals might work for the privileged few but for the rest of us the Muse is found in rolling up our proverbial sleeves and getting to work.

My Muse doesn't care that today I was writing on the damp chilly porch while the rain fell and I was buried under my daughter's electric blanket. My Muse doesn't care that I don't have a dedicated writing space anymore. I write wherever the mood and time hits me. If that means I'm typing out a paragraph or two during half-time at a soccer game then that's where she'll find me. The only thing my Muse cares about is whether I'm writing or not.

We've a simple relationship. If I don't write, she doesn't particularly give a damn about me. If I'm writing then she's there like my dedicated corner team in a boxing match or pit crew at the Indy 500.

The relationship between the idea and creativity only occurs from action. Not just any kind of action but consistent daily grinding away until art is created. It won't happen if you're plan is to wait for some fickle god of inspiration to sprinkle fairy dust on you to get you going. It won't happen tomorrow or even the day after tomorrow. It only happens in the now.

So I write, my Muse shows up. Tonight she's brought a glass of Pinot Grigio with her and has turned on the soccer game for me knowing the words flow with a good game in the background. If I'm lucky she'll send me off to sleep dreaming about the story and wake me up first thing in the morning with the first sentence of the day. But this can only happen if I keep my part of the bargain- keep writing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Relaxing the Stressed-Out Brain

I never thought I could it. I tried it dozens of times to no avail. I would find myself in a quiet house, cross-legged at an un-godly time before dawn. I'd breathe in and out attempting to shut off my brain and the more I attempted to shut it down the louder the thoughts would intrude. I suddenly felt as though my brain was covered in adhesive and a wind storm had kicked up, every possible thought would stick as I flailed helplessly trying to swat them all away.

Meditation became a lesson in frustration, so I simply gave it up as a task beyond my feeble abilities.

Then one evening, I took my son to a soccer tryout on a chilly evening. I stayed in the warm car, crossed my legs, and began to slowly breathe in and out. Before I knew it I lapsed into a state of consciousness, I can only describe as hyper-awareness. Coming out of this state, I was relaxed and free of the stress and fear breathing down my neck for years.

After that evening, I found a meditation app for my iPad and I meditate at least twice a day. Instead of the blankness I had desired in my early attempts, now I seek to simply be. As thoughts enter my head, I allow them to pass through, accepting and releasing. The thoughts change but the breathing is constant, anchoring me to the present in a way I never took the time to appreciate.

Before meditation stress would hold me in a death grip and I sacrificed my peace of mind to it. Time poured out in a flood overwhelming me and I drowned in the endless turmoil. With meditation, my days are fluid and stretch out before me. I am productive. I am relaxed. I breathe in and out and I am here and now.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Miraculous New Diet

I've always been petite. I was always the annoying friend who could eat an entire pizza and down a nice healthy dessert and never gain weight.

Even after giving birth to two children, I still maintained my petite figure.

Then I began life with my then boyfriend and now husband and suddenly I began putting on a pesky pound or two here or there. After I gave birth to my youngest, I couldn't seem to shed my baby weight. I thought it was simply nature's cruel trick since I was of AMA (advanced maternal age- the crappy terminology for getting pregnant after 35).

But no, it wasn't nature.

It wasn't even my love of caramel lattes or the fact that as a mother I wound up eating my kid's leftovers.

Nor was it the fact that my running ranged from sporadic to non-existent for some months.

Weight crept on to my thin frame because cracks formed in my husband's emotional facade. The moodiness he blamed on his food sensitivities escalated. He gained weight. He was exhausted all the time. He was dissatisfied, he complained. He no longer smiled and my kids were uncomfortable when he was around.

I did what any one who loves their partner would do, I tried to make things better. The more I tried the more work there seemed to do. I completely lost myself to this emotional nightmare. I stopped writing, I stopped growing, I'd start projects and then stop them because I was juggling too many balls in the air trying to keep him happy and reminding him how blessed we were in our lives.

Weight piled on me until I was over 38 pounds overweight. I was in shock when I stepped on the scale. I tried everything to lose the weight- getting back into running, going to the gym, Weight Watchers, Paleo Diet, tracking every bite I ate... to no avail.

Then when my husband's careful disguise fell away to expose the raw emotionally distant and mental illness he'd been hiding, I realized I couldn't help him. He was beyond a pep talk, beyond love and support, beyond even therapy. If I continued trying to save him, I would lose myself.

So I stopped.

I let go and suddenly... the weight began to fall off. I started taking care of myself. I began running regularly. I started back to writing. I started enjoying my life again without the shadow of his mood swings. To date, I've lost over 22 pounds.

Today people who hadn't seen me since the spring were amazed by my transformation. I glow! There's a spring to my step. I smile a lot. I sing again. I laugh.

What's my secret? Living a life of awareness, letting go of fear, and handing someone's emotional baggage back to them to deal with. No matter how much you love someone only they can tackle their burden. Every person has to find their own peace.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Posting Again

I am posting again.

I am truly writing a life right now. I started this blog a different person. I was a woman stuck. I could see where I wanted to be in my life but I was weighed down by the unhappiness and gloom of my husband. A naturally caring and nurturing person, I gave up myself to the moods and emotional swings of a man never satisfied.

I believed we shared our lives together. Both of us were married before and knew what it was like to be in marriages where our spouses were disconnected from the idea of family- my ex-husband because of the drugs and alcohol he used to self medicate; his ex-wife struggled with her sexuality and theirs was a passionless relationship.

We dreamed of lives of true partnership where we could live out our dreams- me as a writer, him as an artist. We wanted our children to experience what it was like to have parents who adored one another so they could seek out the same examples for themselves.

I thought I'd found it. Despite the occasional cracks in the careful image he cultivated of a passionate, warm, loving, happy and involved man- I loved him deeply. We married and brought another child the world. This child would never have to refer to "Mommy's" or "Daddy's" house.

Now my husband questions every aspect of our life together. He doesn't think he loves me. He doesn't think he'll ever be romantically interested me again. He's not sure he wants to be married but he doesn't think he wants to be divorced.  He's content to live together in a house with no passion.

For years, I watched him struggle with himself- his weight, his creativity, his self image. Now he has chosen to turn that inward hatred on me, making me the enemy. Unfortunately I have come to realize this is a pattern he has fallen in to before.

But through all of this I have learned something incredibly important- EVEN THOUGH SOMEONE CAN BREAK YOUR HEART, THEY CAN NOT BREAK YOU. As my blind grandmother who died at 102 used to say, "I'm navigating."

I have been hurt by my husband more than anyone has ever hurt me before but I can say with all honesty it has been the best thing that has happened to me. I sacrificed myself and my dreams to emotional and mental illness. I wasn't writing or creating, I was desperately trying to placate a man with a deep well of emptiness.

Now, I am writing. I am picking up the pieces of my life and creating a real family for my children. We were fractured for too long, retreating from the emotional vacuum that accompanies my husband. My older children are now not running from the room when he comes in, they have learned to ignore him and feel a desire to hold on to our life and our house. My children are proud of me for not breaking.

I pray. I meditate. I run. I laugh and I take care of myself.  I hope he will find peace but I know now it is not up to me to do it for him. This detour has led me to see no one can write my life but me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A New Day

Today was an amazing day.

It was amazing because I chose not to allow myself to feel bad. Without realizing it, I'm a pro at feeling bad. Which is really kind of funny since if you'd asked me I would have considered myself a rather happy-go-lucky person. The image I had was of the kid who was always smiling, always ready with a laugh.

But then I started thinking about the last time I really laughed. I mean, the holding my sides falling on my butt kind of laughing and I couldn't remember. I also couldn't remember the last time I'd actually felt good, really good like I wanted to whistle or hum a tune.

My days have been chock full of badness. My every day has been about piling on regret after regret until I wake up facing the Mt. Everest of Regret each day. No wonder I've been achy and cranky. No wonder I'm exhausted before I get out of the bed. No wonder I haven't been able to tell one day from the other- it's all been a blur of misery.

The saddest realization for me has been the fact that all of this misery has been self-inflicted. It's been so easy over the years to point fingers at everyone and everything. I could have won first prize in the, "If only..." contest. If only, this would happen or that person would be, then I could... (fill in the blank).

So much wasted time and hours wallowing in misery but not today.

Today was different. When the negative thoughts formed, I pushed them away. It's not like I ignored them. Ignoring them would only mean they would return at some point of weakness. No, I carefully analyzed the thought, put it in a rational perspective and then dismissed it when I realized it was nothing more than a thought that would keep me mired down in the muck. Once I did this, it was gone. I was free (and not just metaphorically).

There was no more blur. My vision was clear. I had the kind of energy I remember possessing as a child when there were no cares, no misery. I set out time to write and I really did it. I finished a Chapter and started another. I cleaned. I spent time with my kids. There was no crankiness, no sadness, no fatigue. It was a brilliant day and tomorrow looks just as brilliant.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Well-Intentioned Bullshit is Still Bullshit

I've been thinking about words lately.

I love words. I've had a passionate love affair with the spoken and written word since  I was able to distinguish that sounds and images held meaning.

Anyone who knows me closely knows how much I love to talk. I am filled with ideas and images that come pouring out. Sometimes I can't even stop myself as the words flow.

My relationship with words has been symbiotic- as many words as I send out into the world, I take in. I listen and read constantly. I love the sounds of people's voices and am constantly capturing words, phrases and rhythms, allowing them to fill me up.

But after all these years, 45 to be exact, I've had to re-evaluate this relationship. Lesson after lesson, as of late, has shown me that words are meaningless with out action. I am embarrassed to think about how many powerless words I have allowed to flow out into the universe. They have fizzled in the air before they even left my lips. I have made promises and made declarations that have gone no where. My life has been littered with this kind of pollution.

Even the words I've put down on paper have suffered from being little more than litter as I have left them limp with no intention of giving them life, meaning or purpose. I've forgotten them on my computer or shoved them into a drawer or file, never to see the light of day.

Words are nothing without intent. Intention implies action. Words without action are simply well-intentioned bullshit. Well meaning but as empty as a politicians promise.

The lesson has been learned and now it will be applied.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Challenge

69 Days.

I just counted them. Exactly 69 days of summer vacation.

A wild idea hit me as I realized today is officially the last day of school... Well it was more like a "what if?" rather than a full blown idea, actually. What if I finished my novel and what if I shed those annoying 28 pounds by the end of summer vacation on September 5 when school begins?

I know it's insane. Advertiser's like to paint summer as a time of relaxation- lounging by the pool, sipping lemonade on the swing porch or reading novels on the beach. Who are these advertisers? Obviously none of these people have been home or on vacation with children who lack any understanding of the concept of relaxation. Summer vacation, no matter how much you love your children, especially if you are home with them, can be as relaxing as preparing for root canal.

So why would I choose this particularly busy period of time to take care of two massive goals I've been spending years trying to accomplish?

Because I relish taking on ridiculous challenges. Because I think this time it will happen. Because... because... because this time I feel like I can do it. I can feel the spark of motivation. It's the same spark I felt when I declared I would run the NYC Marathon. At the time the idea was beyond ridiculous. I had never even run an entire mile. But that spark ignited and suddenly I was waking up at dawn to run. And that spark led me to cross the finish line of the 1997 NYC Marathon.

The spark has been ignited. Time to GO!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Facing Down the To-Do List as Part of A Year Project

I love lists. I love the idea of lists. I love their order and formality. I love their optimism; it takes much strength to believe order can be forced from chaos. But lists can often be a doubled-edged sword. On the one hand they can help to organize but on the other they can overwhelm. Unfortunately my relationship with my to-do list has been a perfect manifestation of this duality.

I start out with the best of intentions. The cacophony of demands needing my immediate attention threatens to deafen me. I attempt to silence these demands by starting a list- simple. I think about the most important demand of that day and then list them accordingly. It starts off small but then before I know it the list has grown to two or more pages.

Now see this is where delusion enters the picture. I'm the product of 80's culture that indoctrinated me into believing I am a SuperWoman. I can do it all- "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up and in the pan" kind of thinking. So I look at his multi-page list and think if I just move fast enough I can get it all done.

And I make a great start... I might actually make it to 10 or 15 things marked off of the lists but the costs exacted for these accomplishments is too high. I'm exhausted. I race around like a blur. I try and continue the list the next day, trying to achieve even more "Mission Accomplished" success but it's impossible because more has been added and I see no end to the exhaustion and the frenzy of activity. Then I crash and burn and enter I period where I get things done in a random haphazard manner.

Today, I'm bringing back the "New User-Friendly" To-Do List. It has a reasonable limit of 5 things. Anything I get done beyond those 5 things is just icing on the cake and definitely requires a treat. At least one of these things has to be from my "Big Scary To Do List" I keep in a word document. These are all those things that hit you in the middle of going through life (make a doctor's appointment, call the plumber, take the car in for an oil change, etc.).

But more important than instituting a limit is allowing myself room to stretch out a task as needed. It's incredibly comforting to know that some tasks don't have to be finished in just one day. For instance, it took me two days to clean the inside of my car. I could have done it in one day but I wouldn't have been able to clean it as thoroughly or take-care of my regular workload which goes beyond the to-do list (cooking dinner, laundry, picking up and transporting, dishes, etc.) Now I can take one more thing off my "Big Scary To-Do List."

So far I'm moving along smoothly and relaxed. Is anyone else struggling with their to-do lists?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Year

I've decided to give myself a year.

A year to get through all those desires that seem to stretch off into the infinite. As long as time stretches out before me and there is no sense of urgency. I just keep plodding along.

This morning I had this EUREKA moment. The light bulb turned on and suddenly I realized what I needed to do.

I was in one of these depressingly circular conversations my newly diagnosed depressed husband and I have been having for the last month or so and I realized how much these conversations have turned into my life. All movement happens in the same loopy progression. I want to write. I write a little. I don't write. I want to write. I write a little. I don't write and so on and so on. I feel like every area of my life is stuck in this kind of loop.

I've been doing a lot of soul-searching lately and what I have seen hasn't been pretty. I can blame my husbands depression for some of this but ultimately, I have not been handling my life well at all. So instead of firing myself which would involve a lot of bureaucratic paperwork and pose a real hardship for the whole family, I've decided to give myself a year to get my shit together.

I know a year seems, as my teenage daughter would say, so random but I like the idea of a deadline. I also thrive on challenges. Whenever I've had a challenge placed on me and I only have a certain amount of time added with the responsibility of accountability, I always thrive. Well now I'm doing it, I'm standing up, clearing my throat and making a public statement before the universe.

A year or bust. A year or admit I am a miserable failure who needs to rethink her entire life. A year or admit to simply being nothing but a fraud. A year or continue to feel powerless.

I'm betting on the year. I'll post updates and tweets about my progress.

Bear with me as I'm making it all up as I go along.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Putting BenGay on My Bruised Ego

All this time I've been walking around believing I was in great shape. Yes, I'll even confess to being a bit smug about this. "Ha! I can go out and run five or six miles, easy-peezy." I've patted myself on the back as I run by darkened houses first thing in the morning or when a driver stares at me in surprise on frigid mornings or when the rain is pouring down and I'm running.

Then I met Shaun T... Well, I didn't actually meet him. To my amazement, one morning I was sitting and watching an informercial about the Insanity Workout. Usually I laugh at these kinds of things but then there were these people who kind of looked like me, in relatively good shape but soft and a little flubby around the edges and I was sitting on the edge of my couch.

Here's a bit of background: I was that woman other women hated. I could eat like a truck driver and never gain a pound.  Four weeks after giving birth to my daughter, I went to my high school reunion and no one believed I had been pregnant. I had to show them pictures. Two years after she was born I ran the NYC Marathon.

The weight didn't leave me as quickly with my second child but he was a giant baby. At my highest, I was 180 pounds while carrying him. This was more than 60 pounds over my normal weight. But the weight did come off.

At 39, giving birth to my youngest, I discovered my body just wasn't rebounding with the same quickness and I have to admit I slacked off. Living in the country, I found myself not getting outside and walking the way I did with my other two kids. I didn't run with any regularity. I didn't do anything with any regularity but I could still look at myself and feel I was in great shape compared to most people living around me. Sure I could stand to lose some weight but I can still get out there and run miles or kick butt on the elliptical machine at the gym.

But something was missing.... I didn't have the same power. My body wasn't as lean as it was and there was this annoying little pooch in my mid-section. And that's when Shaun T came in with his promises of strength and power. The brilliance of this informecial is that the producers didn't decide to only focus on overweight people to show the transformative powers of their fitness system but showed people who were obviously athletic and active people, like me. I closed my eyes and made the purchase.

Of course I sat with the DVD's hidden for two weeks embarrassed to admit I purchased something from an informercial (I still hide my LintLizard after each use). Then I put in the first DVD with the fit test and I scoffed- actually scoffed at it. Nothing seemed particularly challenging- squats, jumping jacks, ha! Then I did the Fit Test on Saturday and it kicked my butt hard. I haven't made sounds like that since I was giving birth. The next day, I could barely walk I was so sore. I skipped the next day DVD because of scheduling conflicts and the fact that I couldn't lift my leg without wincing. Yesterday I did the first Plyometric/Cardio DVD and had to scream uncle- I am not in shape!!!

Today is DVD #2. Hopefully my dog won't need to come over and lick my face as I lay prone on the floor unable to move. Thank goodness I can curl up in a fetal position in the luxury of my own home.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


I'm cheating big time now. As much as I would like to stay focused on the collection of connected short stories, this novel that's been with me for seven years is dying to be written. I can't get the characters out of my head.

It's like being in the heady early period of a romance. I can't think about anything else. When I'm not thinking about these characters I feel lost and irritable. Other characters just can't compete with these characters and the creative world is just hazy outside of this novel. I've got it bad.

I'm taking the month of June to finally write this story out of my system. Now that I have the beginning, I feel like I can go all the way. I'm stretching my fingers, ordering more ink for the printer and opening a new ream of paper. Ooh, I'm excited!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Whose Depression Is It Anyway?

So for years I thought I was simply dealing with a moody spouse. My husband's moodiness was often the subject of light-hearted teasing. I picked up a Good Mood/Bad Mood button years ago so that he could give all of us a little heads up on which person we were dealing with at any given moment.

I bought into the whole idea of moodiness going hand-in-hand with creativity. He was an artist who needed lots of head space. I could relate as a writer. There are definite times when I need to be alone and think. This is why I prefer to run alone and am fond of the long hot shower.

But unlike me, when my husband was involved with his art, there was no joy in the act of creation. I thought this was just the normal frustration that comes from trying to marry the desire to create with living in the real world. There's nothing worse than being right in the middle of some creative burst and then having to stop to take care of something outside of this creative haze.

I have always tried to make certain that my husband had room to work. I appreciate the fact that he is the one who is working at a "real" job to sustain our life. I encouraged him to carve out time even when I desperately needed time to write myself. It was important for me to feel that he was fulfilled. It seemed simple but little did I know I was dealing with an unknown foe.

Moodiness was simply a cloak covering up the depression that has always been present. I was spending a lot of time and energy trying to make everything as perfect as possible for him without understanding the ground rule: satisfaction does not exist. I've been running like a hamster on a wheel trying to please him while my husband's been emotionally checking out of our life.

Over the past year the depression has gotten worse. My children have been affected by my husband's moods. It's been very difficult for my two oldest children since their father is not involved in their lives. My husband is unable to engage or be involved with anyone other than his daughter from his first marriage. It has been most upsetting to watch him explode at our youngest son when he behaves in the same way as my step-daughter did when she was the same age. My children feel I am their only parent. My daughter once described my husband as "just the guy who lives in the house."

After my husband's depression led him towards a self-destructive act, I've had to put a magnifying glass up to my life. What I've seen is that my husband's depression is a weight my whole family is bearing. My children and I have been experiencing the fallout that comes from living with some one who has been in denial about their mental state for a very long time.

My husband is making a start. He has begun seeing a therapist but he is still having a difficult time understanding the impact he has had on us. For him depression is still a "me" disorder but from here we're all going through it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

To Cheat or Not to Cheat

I made a commitment last summer. I swore I would be true. I would forsake all others... But now temptation is pushing me hard to ignore any pledge I might have made in the heat of the moment.

I've always struggled with creative monogamy. One idea will seize me and I am all aflutter. My heart races and I'm in love. I have goose-bumps and I can't concentrate on anything else until.... that next idea comes along.

I'll try to stay focused on my current love but then that new idea starts calling to me. The next thing I know, I'm journaling about my new idea- the characters start to take shape and plot lines start to connect. But I'll resist entering the story. At this point, it's just a harmless flirtation.

Then I take those furtive first steps- just a sentence, then a paragraph, and before I know it there are pages. The first story is tossed aside. It might linger around for a while. I'll write a line or two but the magic is gone.

I don't want to go through this cycle of falling in love with the newest and shiniest idea again, leaving a string of unfinished, unloved stories in the dust behind me. But...

I'm diligently working on Project #1 but then recently an old love appeared to me. This story has been playing around my head for years. Every time I thought I got close, things didn't work out, until now... I always had this inkling that the story wouldn't flow until I could work out the beginning. Now I have the beginning and the characters are demanding to be written.

So what do I do? Leave one story for the other? Stay with one but keep the other on the side? Or do I practice creative polygamy?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Writing in Public

I'm composing this post in a crowded cafe in Warwick, NY and realizing how much I miss writing in public.

The first writing class I ever took found me sitting blankly in front of a sheet of paper at my typewriter (yes, I'm dating myself here). I sat staring at that blank sheet with my fingers poised over the keyboard ready to pounce when the first word poured forth. I waited and waited some more. Waited for what? I'm not sure but I figured I would know when it happened.

After all this what I believed writers did- they sat, they stared, they lined up their pens and pencils by height and color, and re-arranged the expectant ream of paper. Their desks were sparse. Their lives were rigid and filled with a monastic quality I found attractive... Well this was my vision of a writer back when I was 19 and still believed there was magic involved in the process.

I signed up to present my story to the class. Like the over-achieving honor student I was, I jumped in early taking one of the first slots. It didn't matter I had no story. It didn't even matter I only had a vague idea of what a short story was.

In class when the instructor spoke about short stories by Faulkner or James, I nodded along with everyone else. I didn't want to admit the closest I came to the short story were my grade school readers which were heavy on moral but light on character and plot. I rushed headlong into the arms of the 19th century masters of the novel. The novel was my idea of writing. Our instructor said to think small, I thought 200 pages.

So there I was, the deadline looming, the typewriter ready with a fresh ribbon and enough paper to write the epic of all epics and still no story.

While wandering around the village one day, sans typewriter, looking for a bite to eat, I found this spot right on Broadway and Bleecker called VG's. It wasn't crowded but there were enough people to make me have to concentrate to make out the music playing over the speakers. I sat down, ordered and stared out the window and like an unexpected smack to the head, I had an idea...

I didn't want to wait until I got home, I grabbed my trusty journal our instructor demanded we carry at all times and just started writing. More people dribbled in and the waitress seemed to enjoy my presence refreshing my coffee and giving me a plate of fresh baked cookies. I sat there and finished my first short story.

I returned to VG's often, until it changed management and became a less friendly eatery. I found other spots. One of my favorites was Pat's Jazz Bar in Chelsea where I sat at the bar writing. Ralph Avanti, the manager, seemed to know when I was deep inside a story and he'd keep the men away, only sending the amusing ones my way when he felt I was ready for a distraction.

I've been trying to write at home but it's slow going these days, chores always seem to rear their ugly heads. So it's write and put another load into the washer or vacuum the floor and then write some more. Occasionally I'll get on a roll at my son's soccer practice but there's always the danger of an errant pass taking me or my computer out.

Today, I'm realizing I need to venture out into the world more often. It's a lot less distracting than writing in between laundry cycles. Although the guy coming in with the knee-hi socks circa the 1970's with sandals is pretty distracting.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

That Which Doesn't Kill You...

Gives you writing material.

Through all of this emotional turmoil going on in my life, I've been trying hard to not let it consume me. A friend suggested I go to therapy but there is no need for that right now. If I feel emotionally stuck and unable to move forward in my life, I'll seek the help of a professional. Until then, I lace up my running shoes and head out for my kind of therapy.

For the last week it's been running analysis. I have assessed. I have probed. I have broken down all facets of my relationship. I have seen areas where I can and have made changes. I have let go of areas that are beyond my control.

There are have been some days my thoughts have raced so quickly my legs, lungs and heart could not keep up. There were days I longed for physical pain to replace emotional pain and I have run recklessly. Other days find me methodical and focused. I set out with a clear goal and reach it, feeling something positive.

Yesterday, I set out, in what is slowly starting to become habit again, for my run. The day before had been a hard day for me emotionally. I felt shaky. My legs were tight. I still felt out of my body, out of shape. But I went out and the thoughts came rushing at me. Is there hope? Can we survive this? Can my husband find his way back from his depression and his self-destructiveness? Can I find a way live without being weighed down by his emotional pain? These were questions I was becoming sick of repeating- a different answer each day. My legs felt heavy and there was so much sadness in my body as I began replaying the moment of discovering my husband's betrayal.

Then it happened...

The opening for the novel I've been obsessing about for the last seven years appeared to me in such clarity. I've tried writing this story at least four times but it always felt shaky, a great plot on an iffy foundation.

Now it is finally here, the start of a great story. Like a Law & Order episode, it is ripped from my pain. In the queer way only a writer can appreciate, I'm glad for all the shit I've gone through this past week. It's been worth it if some good can come out of it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

O' Pioneer

I've always held back in my public writing. I'm private and I've never been one to toss my business out there for the world. Perhaps it's this reticence that has led me to be a less than regular blogger. Well I've decided to throw all caution to the wind and allow this blog to be free of restraint. Why now? I was wrenched outside of my comfort zone and now I'm journeying through the universe on unfamiliar and unstable terrain. This weekend I discovered my husband went on a dating website and met a woman with whom he has developed a relationship (according to him it was non-sexual). I'm not sure what is the bigger betrayal that he went on this website and actually met someone or was it because this was how we met more than 10 years ago. He hasn't been able to explain the reason, there are lots of why's- boredom, depression, and the stress of working on a novel (it took a lot for him to throw this out to another writer), financial worries, fear of mortality- a general melange of existential angst. When you're younger this kind of drama manifests itself in screaming, tossing clothing out the window, breaking of glassware- the stuff of nasty break-ups but with four children that isn't an option. Instead of crying myself blind and falling into a bucket of Ben & Jerry's, I spent the weekend driving from one soccer venue to another. I'd stand chatting with someone, having a rational conversation about offsides and ball possession while phrases from the love-note my husband penned to this woman floated through my head. If she was the custodian of his soul, then what was I? If she were his darling, what was I? I've had to remain calm outside because I've already gone through one divorce and the idea of having a replay of that experience is as appealing as being locked away in a room forced to watch endless episodes of "Dancing with the Stars." My children know something is going on. I've spoken about some of this with my 16 year old because she knew I was in pain. My boys are still young enough to believe me to be suffering from nothing more than a extended bad day. This experience has been like one of those life and death moments where images of your life come rushing at you. Instead of my entire life, it's been the 11 years I've been with my husband. Instead of life and death, there is the before and the now. The love story that came before is no longer. It is forming into something else. Right now I'm not sure. At first I had this idea we could put the marriage back together but then while out on my run today I realized that the marriage was probably broken to begin with. I don't want to put back together what wasn't working. So now I'm pioneer setting out in unexplored territory- scared but excited.