Sunday, September 26, 2010

Finding time to write

School started and so did dance and soccer....and we are off and running. I am struggling to find time to write. I write in my head as I drive to work and try to pick up where I left off on the commute home. It is not satisfying, but it is my escape. I like to think that my mental notes will some day become pages in a book. I am relying a great deal on my memory which is a very scary thought.

Greater writers are always sharing their secrets of how they became great. Number one on the list is the advice that you must write every single day to be a good writer. Because I cannot figure out how to squeeze this requirement into my day, I am contemplating the idea that I may just be a mediocre writer. I've removed the pressure and have given myself permission to write when the stars align and I have a few minutes of alone time with my keyboard or pen and paper.

It's a full moon tonight and their is a warm and gentle breeze blowing through our house. The kids are sleeping and I am writing. Life is good.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Learning to tell a lie

I can’t remember the first time I told a lie. I do remember when I felt that I needed to get better at it for a variety of reasons. The obvious one at age six, was to avoid my mother’s punishments. She was all of five feet tall, but looked like a gladiator as she came at you with the thick black belt hanging from her hand.

I can remember when I was a little girl my mom would say “Connie Louise, I can tell when you are lying to me because its written all over your eyes. Don't you ever lie to me because I will know!” This was a scary thought especially given the size of my eyes. Growing up, when my mother would introduce me to her new friends they would look me over and have the exact same response, “Wow, what big brown eyes she has.” Sometimes, I imagined that my eyes were oversized like those of the cartoon characters I watched on Saturday mornings. Like Betty Boop. Of course, being so young I took my mother’s threat literally. And given my disadvantage, I knew my eyes were the most obvious first place anyone would check to see if I was in fact telling the truth.

I wanted to know if my mother was right and if I unconsciously gave myself away each time I tried to lie. So I took to locking myself in our bathroom to study my eyes. I would climb up on the bathroom countertop so I could get a closer look at my reflection. I remember I would sit Indian style with my hair in two braids in front of the large vanity mirror. I looked for the evidence that my mother had talked about. Naively, I imagined letters would float across my eyes spelling out the words that would eventually rat me out. I would begin by trying to avoid any lying related thoughts; you know getting a baseline read. (This could be considered a clear foreshadowing of my future love and understanding of research and data.) I didn’t notice anything unusual, just the clear saucers looking back at me. Then I would begin saying little lies aloud. “Yes, I did wash my hands before dinner. Yes, I did eat my green beans.” Complete lies. I hated green beans more than anything and waited until she wasn’t looking before spitting them into my napkin at dinner.

I studied my eyes like an archeologist with fossils. I looked from side to side and then up and down hoping to catch a glimpse of some clue of fabrications. With my fingers, I probed and pulled my eyelids up to my brows to inspect the entire space. I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for. I imagined letters would spell out LIAR and it would flash like a warning light around the pupils of my eyes. I gradually progressed to bigger and more complicated lies, testing my ability to keep my guilt contained. I decided to try out a recent biggie, “No, it wasn’t me who broke the lamp. It was Curtiss.” It was so much easier to blame my three year old brother who was handed down an extended naptime as his most severe punishment. I sat there waiting for something to appear, some incriminating evidence that could put me away. I only saw my reflection.

So after much face time in the mirror, and no letters or words to be seen, I ended the observational study to conclude that I had perfected the art of fabricating a story to save myself from punishment and shame. I was confident and ready to defend myself whenever necessary. However, just to be safe, I avoided looking directly into my mother’s eyes when trying to cover my ass. This went well into my teenage years.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Another Day

Sometimes it is the weight of not knowing what to do next that causes the perpetual feeling that paralyzes my thoughts and continues to weigh my fingers down. I attempt with little success to push the keys as I concentrate on freeing the voices and the stories that want to dance. In honesty, I have only contemplated ways to loosen the bag of rocks. I have yet to muster the courage to walk toward a solution or even an attempted stand for their rights. Others have joined my battle and have supplied tools and certainly there have been plenty who have lent their experiences, whether absurd or beautiful, to my cause. Perhaps today is the day I take stock, put my pen to paper and soar so free and true.