Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Is A Writer?

I've had a few days of pouring energy into something that has seemed to bubble up from the core of me the moment I claimed a loss for words.  Funny how that works.  Like by claiming the missing I conceived the finding.  How by the voicing I damned the damning.

I read this today: "Write something that you can't stand NOT to write."  How can I stop if it's pouring out all on it's own?  I can't.  I couldn't stand to stop.

I have this vision of running away - anywhere will do - running away to just let my fingers do the see this from conception to the birthing in one large unbroken breath.

I had this notion that to be writer you had to be "published".  But don't you only need to write?  To make music with words; verses with rhythm, harmonies with create something from nothing, from empty space where no story lay before - that is a writer.

So yes, that is what I am.

And all I want is to create something beautiful.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In A Novel World

2,569 words.

Pages of notes.

A growing list of research bookmarks.

Characters that are already breaking my heart.

A humble beginning but a beginning no less.

Tweeting the journey...@writeablackbird

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Writer's Block

I have felt stuck for a while.  Like maybe I'll never write anything good again.  Like I've used up every idea, sapped every notion, defeated each inkling before it's conception.

I have felt sad.

And desperate.

And empty.

And itching to pour out something of worth.  Something that might move you.  Something that might change you.  Something that might enter a conversation in a grocery store aisle in a, "have you read it yet?" kind of way.

Maybe that arrogance is what blocks me.  Did Leonard Cohen really think he'd change the world when he sat down to write?  Shall I step up to the humility plate and claim it as my homestead?

Instead, I am claiming today - this grey-skied dreary - and I will saturate it in black and white and the tap tap tap of words I'm not really thinking about but may read back later and think, "finally!"

Friday, November 25, 2011

Rewards of the Day

They come out of nowhere, whispers of goodness that catch you off guard and fuel your day.

1. I almost didn't go.  The line-up was out to the street but Noa was chanting "Tim-Bit!  Tim-Bit!" and if I didn't join the chugging train of fellow addicts I might have had to spend the day hiding underneath my desk.  So I traded my toonie for my sanity and was well on my way before I even noticed...

Did they know that I'd had a morning of 'I hate my clothes', 'My toes are funny looking', 'If only I could loose that ten pounds'...?

Probably not...but that's the thing with comes right when you need it.

2. I arrived to the ever-cheery 'Good Morning' from the ever-cheery best person in the world to work with.

3. I got to hang up my coat on the horrifyingly ugly black and brass coat tree I rescued from the church attic and I like it simply because it's horrifyingly ugly.

4.  I turned up the heat to 25 just because I can - because I don't share my office with anybody!

5.  I got to kick off my shoes and slip on my fuzzy slippers because comfy feet are seriously conducive to serious creativity.

6.  I got everything on my list done and checked off in Christmasy green ink.

7.  I took Zander to the bank where he opened his very first bank account and deposited his Fall Fair cheque in the staggering amount of $68.25.

8.  We stopped at the local thrift store because of the giant Papa Smurf in the window and I walked away with a pink cardigan, winter boots to replace my busted-at-the-seams, a Christmas Angel wreath for the front door and two Christmas candle holders.

9.  Outside the store was a box marked 'FREE' and in it, as if they didn't know he was a character from Toy Story 3, Noa found a Fisher Price Chatter Telephone and proceeded to walk it down the sidewalk like a puppy, pulling the little yellow rope and giggling as it chattered.

10.  And, as a perfect ending, I had a willing and splashing and singing helper as I washed the dinner dishes. was a good day!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


She crawls behind me on the couch, small hands pressed gently against my neck for balance as she perches at my back.  "Ten you take out you ponytaowl, Mommy?  I wantta bwush you hayar."

I unlock strands from a frayed elastic, letting it fall in a messy sheet, kinked and dull from it's dinner time prison.

"Whoa.  You hayar so long!  Wike Punzzle!"

"Like Rapunzel?"

"Dat's what I sayd...just wike Punzzle."

She already has the brush and lays it gently upon my scalp, pulling it down through tangles, whispering..."caow-fu-wwee...caow-fu-wwee..."

She plants a hand on my head and curls her face around to look at me.  "Do you wike dat, Mommy?"


Back to brushing.  "I haff to be caowfuwl."

"That's right.  I don't want you to hurt me."

"I wouldn't.  I be caofuwl.  I be nice.  Weal nice.  Wike Santa!"

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Will I Survive?

There are a few moments of silence before the yowl of a tortured animal screeches through a quiet Sunday - before he can catch a breath to make such a noise, this death-wail despair.
"It's bleeeeeeeding!" and he's high pitched and panicked, feral and shifty as he gasps and sobs - great splashes of pain down a twisted face.

The offending floor - unfinished and uneven in it's docile wait for the new - remains stoic and unapologetic for the stubbing that has split the pinkie.

He limps to the bathroom.  Trail of blood upon his foe, crimson stain upon this personal ground zero.

"I - tan't - bweath," eyes so red they too seem to bleed.

"Slow down.  Breath deep."  Like a yoga instructor.

I clean his wound, battle nurse to his war-lesion.  He shakes and shutters, sobs and sniffles.  I rinse the cloth, watch this whirlpool of pink - his life coiling around the porcelain drain.  

I cut the gauze and apply the ointment and secure with bandages because I have no medical tape.

His face leaks.  "Am I dowing to survive?"

The final piece secured.  Some of my best work.  "Of course you are."

"But has dis ever happened to anyone else in da wowld?"

"Worse than this, even."

I gather him and his snot against my sweater and I carry him to the couch but he won't let go of my neck - hugging me hard like I might absorb all that pain and carry it away from him.  "Did evwyone else survive when dis happened to dem?"

"Every single one."  

And this seems to calm him because he finally lets go and leans back against the arm rest to begin his recovery.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Game Night

Let's turn off the television.
Let's put away video games and computers.
Let's play.
Let's pull out the old game board.
Let's not worry that we've lost all the pieces because we've got enough jellybeans for a hundred games.
Let's laugh and roll and count and move and remember that this is what it means to be a family.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Is That Real Life?

The Princess Bride
Our hearts are stolen: captured by Buttercup, awed by Westley, forever destined to quote Indigo Montoya...

"Dat's towtowee my favwit movie!" Liam makes his declaration as credits roll and bedtime calls.
"Mommy, is dat weal life?
"What do you mean?"
"Like da movie?  Is dat weal life, like in da past ago?"
"You mean swords and pirates and princesses?"
"Yeah, like da movie?"
"The movie isn't real but swords and pirates and princesses are all real."
"Whoa...I'm gonna be da Dwead Piwit Woberts!"

And so...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Outta My Head

"Mommy, Mommy, Mommy..." He's running from the living room, half-eaten apple in hand.  "I have a loose toof."  There is an edge of panic, discovery creasing a frown between his eyes as I explore the new wiggle with a finger.

"You're right, Liam, it is loose!"

"Hmm."  He gives it another joggle.  "Is it just falling outta my head?"

"It's going to fall out of your mouth."




"Yes, Liam?"

"I wealized that it is just falling outta my head and it's 'cause I just bwush the top teeth and you said if I don't bwush all my teeth really good they'll fall outta my head and now they are falling outta my head and I think I should maybe bwush all my teeth better all over."

"You always need to brush your teeth well but I don't think you need to worry about this one."

"But should it hurt if it's just a loose toof?"

"No, but it might if you play with it a whole lot before it's ready to come out."

"Oh.  Well, it hurts."



"Yes, Liam?"
"Should you call the dentist?"


"'Cause it's falling outta my head."


"Mommy, Mommy, Mommy..."

He finds me in the kitchen.

"I dust wealized that this is a baby toof and baby toofs are supposed to come out!"

"Of course they are - you have nothing to worry about."

"Oh, 'cause I thought it was 'cause I don't bwush good."

"Do you still want me to call the dentist?"

"No way!"

Next day...

He bounces out of the kindergarten room, grinning wide to show the gap.  "My toof fell outta my head today!" But he's not worried any more, all concern is bent towards the tooth fairy and whether she's really real or not and if she'd rather collect a tooth in an envelope with a Donald Duck sticker or a clear, plastic bag.

losing his first tooth