Writing is in my Blood

I have known for a long time that I come from a long line of storytellers.  Writers, musicians, poets, thespians, and artists abound in my family tree.  However, I was unaware that my paternal grandmother was not only a brilliant seamstress and artist, but she was also an aspiring writer.

This week, a gift was shared with me by a cousin: folders of written pages by my Grandma when she was taking Composition classes at our local university a couple years after my Grandpa died suddenly of a heart attack.  I have so enjoyed getting to know my Grandma a little bit more (she died of cancer when I was in high school) through these yellowed handwritten (and a few typed on a TYPEWRITER) pages.  I thought it would be fun to share some of it here on this blog.

The following was written during an in-class free-writing exercise..  I am sure many of you will relate to her words as I did.

Why must I write this essay?

by Martha Williams

I am handed two sheets of clean white paper, along with the rest of the English composition class, and told to take my pen and free write for about twenty minutes.  The topic is on “The Persuasive Theme” and my mind is as blank as the paper before me.

Now, anyone who knows me will tell you I am an argumentative son-of-a-gun and will take sides at the drop of a hat, any side, both sides, up one side and down the middle.

The girl next to me who has been writing steadily, suddenly crumples up her paper and tosses it in the wastebasket and the class gets a laugh and I agree, out loud, that “that is how I feel, too.”

Surely in my head, that has been crammed with ideas and knowledge since childhood, there must be something I can write about with some intelligence, presenting one side clearly and yet showing the opposite side for reasonable doubt.  What does one do on the days when no sensible thought appears?

For two days, and longer, this essay has been on the edge of my mind.  I’ve known the whole semester that I would have to do it some day and I still am here, stymied, dumb, no thoughts at all in my head.

Would the teacher accept a note with the explanation that I just couldn’t think of a thing to write about?  No – I don’t think so.  She might be sympathetic, but since she’s passed this way before, she’d expect me to come up with something.  After all, she did it, didn’t she?

“The Zoo at Glen Miller Park is Shameful.”  Now there’s a really good subject and I can get into it with both feet.  I love animals, especially exotic ones; lions, tigers, peacocks, and all the little woods animals; the bear, the silly monkeys that look like members of my family tree; they are beautiful, cuddly, and soft.  Or are they?  Out at the Glen, they’re dirty and cross and smelly and evil looking and who wouldn’t be?  Now the other side of the argument – there isn’t one.  Well, scrap that idea.

My little friend in the next seat is going through a painful period of finding her worth in a world of people whom she thinks have everything while God has somehow passed her by.  I could write on that theme.  I certainly know a few things about that.  Some day she’ll learn that the pain she’s going through is her growth in body, mind, and spirit and she’ll recognize it and be thankful for it.  Her sorrow is only one of many kinds, but I can’t tell her that.  When you hurt, you hurt and no one else’s pain compares at all with yours.  She’s OK and she’s going to be better.  I don’t want to get into that subject anyhow.  I can solve my own problems and no one ever is popular who preaches one way or another on any phase of religion.  Who wants to be told, “just forget it, it’s happened before”?

It’s time to pass papers around for editing and ideas.  Good, that always helps and if I need anything at all today, I need help for this paper.

The first gal doesn’t really think I’m serious because I’ve been so silly today.  She is kind and laughs at my silliness, but the young man is trying to help and makes me a list of good reasons for why I should write a debating paper.  Bless them both.

Well why should I?  I’m working for credits for this course.  I have to earn them, no one’s going to say, poor little old lady, we’ll give her good grades as our good deed for today.  At least I hope no one is going to do that!  And then, even with earned credits, I’ll be a freshman for thirty years at the rate I’m going.  As kind as the good Lord has been to me, I don’t think He’ll be that patient.  So why do I work so hard?

Well, what if I do have time to earn a B.A. degree; to take all the subjects I’ve yearned with all my heart to take for 42 years?  To fill my self with the knowledge that this little gal has got a lot on the ball after all these years?  Wouldn’t I crow?  From the top of the highest tree I would!

So I’d better stop foolin’ around and get busy.

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written sometime around 1980 for Composition I at Indiana University East

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I was so touched to know that my Grandma would be proud of me.  Although she never got to finish her B.A. degree, I did; and now I know that when I was handed that diploma from Indiana University East 25 years later, she was smiling down on me.

 

 

 

 

Repost: The Real Rich Mullins

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I grew up in the same community as Rich Mullins and was a huge fan of his music.  He graduated from the same high school I did.  When I was in 7th grade, he came and spoke to a group of students during our activities period.  This was the first time I’d ever seen him “up close and personal”. He sat at the piano in the band room and just talked.  He would play something every now and then – but he spoke from his heart.  I don’t remember a lot of what he had to say that day – but I do remember that he said some radical things, because I watched the teachers in the room cringe.  I LOVED THAT.  He wasn’t afraid to say what he thought.  I know a lot of what he said at the time went over my head, but his love for PEOPLE, the “everyman” was apparent.  And he was very open and honest about the fact that he was not perfect, just another human trying to do the best that he could.  I think that is a big part of why I always connected with his music.

Rich’s brother Lloyd wrote the following about comments he has received regarding the movie Ragamuffin and I loved the post so much – I had to share it.

“I really believe that [Rich] believed his job was in pointing people toward heaven, and he tried to do just that. We all wanted the movie to try to do the same. Schultz could have painted him as some kind of saint, kind of a Christian Yoda who’s got it all figured out, but that movie would have only glorified Rich, and Rich would have hated that (of course, he probably would have loved it too). Schultz took a braver approach: to show the other side, the private side. The side that only a few ever saw. I almost said were privileged to see, but frankly, there were a lot of times when it was no privilege, I’m sure. The movie Schultz made shows him as we all are; flawed, fallible, and frequently a complete asshole, but a complete asshole who never stopped loving God, who never stopped trying to please God. His struggle was not with God, but with himself, just like the rest of us.”

Please read the entire post here:

The Real Rich Mullins, Shameless Namedropping and the Cult of Personality

My Heart Keeps Remembering . . .

I have been writing poems, ‘ditties’, and songs since I was very young.  As a young girl, my poems were often about sunshine and rainbows or silly, funny little things that I would write for family members.  I still remember one of the first poems I wrote that I was proud of – and I drew a picture with it, and my mother added it to a collage she made of me that hung on our living room wall.

window

The View From My Window

The view from my window
is shiny and bright
when I see the view
everything seems all right

The view from my window
after a busy day
when I look out my window
everything seems okay

The view from my window
day in, and day out
leads me to know
without a doubt

That the view from my window
will always be
the sunshine and moonlight
that’s all for me.

I think I was probably about nine years old when I wrote that.  I always believed that no matter what, things were going to turn out all right.  Then I hit the dreaded TWEEN years and my poetry turned darker.  It was often about the emotions I wasn’t sure how to deal with – but USUALLY, it was about some boy I was SURE I was going to marry, or the one who had broken my heart.

I was, am, and probably always will be a hopeless romantic, deep down in my soul.  And even though so many people seem to compare poetry that rhymes with CHEESE and sappy greeting cards – I still cannot help but fall back to my roots when my heart is having trouble dealing with something.

So today – I am allowing you to read something I wrote recently in hopes that someone somewhere will relate and feel better about their own story, knowing someone else feels the same way.

Please be kind.  🙂

unrequited_love_by_danielablossom-d3frm0i

PHOTO:  Unrequited Love by Daniela Filipescu

My Heart Remembers What My Mind Tries to Forget

Out of my sight for so many years
Thought I’d forgotten what he made me feel
How my breath caught and heartbeat increased
That very first time he looked back at me

My crazy heart brought it all back again
With his few simple words on that screen
I guess that it’s true, some things never change
Connections remain, sight unseen

He never professed he’d love me in return
Never offered me the world, now or then
He only agreed he would be there as my friend
And never leave without warning, again

He foolishly promised a soul-scorching kiss
If perchance we someday crossed paths
Maybe he knew, that time wouldn’t come
His pledge would have no aftermath

Yet my broken heart felt hope for a beat
Conjured pictures of roads not yet taken
Warm wind in our hair, our only care
To keep dreaming and never awaken

Curled up beside him in silence
We explored what we both dearly love
After a while, we trade words and worlds
And rejoice at these gifts we’re part of

Reveries never once meant to be
Hurt more than I cared to admit
I couldn’t be just his friend anymore
My heart was convinced he was IT

Why would I be given this chance
To love him and lose him again?
If only I’d known all this pain in advance
Oh wait, I did.  Way back then . . .

But what if the first look, a second time
Lasts longer than we meant it to?
What if when our hands touched again
We felt ‘that spark’ and we just knew?

Stubborn, passionate heart of mine
I’m begging you, please, let him be!
I’ll be content seeing him in my dreams
The one place I’m sure he loves me.

What do you get a writer for Christmas?

The best gift you can give a writer (or any creative artist or small business owner) is SUPPORT so they can keep on doing what they love.

There are several things you can do:

  1. Buy their book(s).
  2. Read their book(s).
  3. Write a review for their book(s).
  4. SHARE on social media, tell your friends and family.
  5. Encourage them to continue pursuing their dreams.

Here are a couple of books you can check out and help support some of my favorite writers this Christmas.


 

American serial killer

Raymond Thomas Lang Junior

Last seen in the county of Lancashire, England

Believed to be the main fictional character in the new thriller/suspense novel

‘YOUR LAST BREATH’

Widespread rumours claim Raymond Lang is currently hiding in an eBook of that name, located in the Amazon Book store. 

ylb

Congratulations on the release of your novel, Doug and Carole!


“The War of Scars is over. Our war has only just begun.”

At seventeen years of age, Adria Idonea has already seen both sides of war. Once princess in a citadel tower, she followed the ghosts of her childhood to become a Hunter, a healer, and a visionary among the enemy in the Wilding forests of Heiland.

But now Adria has come of age, and a promise she made in haste has bound her to return to her home after long exile. She doesn’t know what she will find… but they don’t know who she has become.

heirofscars

The first in an action-packed fantasy series by Jacob Falling.


artists

Support your local artists and dreamers this Christmas season.
Make a difference.

Going back to the beginning . . .

When I began this blog, it was about a journey . . . of self-discovery . . . of revisiting my past and seeing what I have learned and what I still need to work on.

After a few weeks, I got derailed.

I became a feedback junkie.  I worried about how many people were reading what I wrote – and not what I or others might learn from my words.  And I lost my passion for the basic reason I write.

So, I’m going back to the beginning.

On one my very first blogs, several  years ago, I shared part of a journal entry from a writing class about why I write.  I’m sharing an updated version here to remind myself why I do this; It isn’t for the reblogs, or the views, or whatever kind of recognition I might be seeking.  At least, it shouldn’t be.


 

littleizzy

Why do I write? Because if I didn’t, I honestly think I might go insane.

When I’m not writing, things are not right in the world of Izzy. And even when I’m not physically putting things down on paper (or on the computer screen), I am constantly writing things in my head.

Sometimes I get frustrated with myself because I will come up with a brilliant idea while driving down the road, but by the time I get somewhere to do something about it, it has run away with the other thoughts crowding my brain and it feels like a lost opportunity.

I have so many ideas of what I want to write about, learning from my past, being a single mom, music, poetry, and even the never-attainable fairy-tale romance.  I probably have 20+ drafts of things that I have started and not finished.  I get caught up in the reasons why I’m writing it, or what any readers might think of it, or if what I have to say even matters.  Often, I chicken out and don’t go where my heart and my words are leading me.

But I continue to write.

I write because it is born in me.

Writing has been passed down to me through generations of storytellers, poets, and musicians.  It is a part of me that makes me who I am and a part that has never gone away, even when I’ve tried to suppress it.

I always write more than required when it comes to school or work assignments and often get teased or even reprimanded for “writing a book” when only a paragraph is required.  I don’t do it to be an overachiever.  The truth is, I love words.

I do not want to write for recognition and I will not allow myself to follow that path anymore.

I write because I really have no choice.

And it is time to go back to the beginning where I remember that.

-Izzy

“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.”
—Allen Ginsberg, WD

When Random Acts Find You

Can you believe we are just ONE MONTH away from Christmas?  I have not started my Christmas shopping yet.  But I’m not stressing about it.  I have learned that the holidays are more about spending time together and making memories and not buying expensive gifts.

We are also 17 days away from my 40th birthday.  I spoke on several other blogs about my wish for this birthday and having at least 40 random acts of kindness performed and helping make the world a better place.  A few people have already started doing this and have given great creative ideas for paying it forward to others.

I wanted to write this post to reiterate that you do not have to PLAN random acts.  All you have to do is keep your eyes and your heart open to those around you, and opportunities will present themselves to you.  This happened to me the other evening at Meijer.

My youngest daughter takes forever in the bathroom.  I know she will kill me if she sees this someday but SORRY – YOU DO!  As we were checking out, she said “I have to go use the bathroom.”  I groaned internally, wishing she had decided 10 minutes earlier that she should go.  My son and I finished checking out and then went to stand by the door and the restroom to wait.

An elderly woman with snow-white hair and piercing blue eyes was also waiting in the mobile cart, her basket filled with groceries.  She looked at me and asked if I knew what time it was.  She was very soft-spoken and looked a bit timid, but something about her reminded me of my beloved Grandma whom I miss so much this time of year.  I pulled out my phone and told her the time.  Her expression changed as she said “Oh, I will be waiting here a long time.”

I know of times when my car was broken and I had to rely on others to get to where I needed to go – and it isn’t fun to lose your independence.  I felt for her.  So I asked her if she needed to call someone and I let her use my phone to call her son who said he would come get her right then.  When she handed me back my phone, the sparkle had returned to her eyes and she thanked me.  My daughter had already emerged from the bathroom by this time and she and her brother had taken our groceries to the car.

I wished her Merry Christmas and hurried out to my car, tears running down my cheeks.  I could have continued to be irritated at my daughter being slower than molasses, but I chose to just look up for a second and the opportunity to help someone was right in front of me.  It changed my attitude for the rest of the evening.  It wasn’t a big elaborate gesture – it was just doing what we should and looking out for our fellow human beings.  Loving people in whatever ways we can.  That is how we can turn this world around.

I hope you will join my 40th birthday celebration on December 13th.
Let’s change the world one Random Act of Kindness at a time.

 – Izzy