366 Days of Gratitude and Good Things: Day 107

When I was out and about over the weekend to get my hair done (looks AWESOME, by the way — my stylist ROCKS), I took with me a notebook I hadn’t opened in ages. I used it a bit for journaling (or trying to get into the habit of) for a year or so before things blew up, general note-taking a time or two at the Job That Unceremoniously Ended Without Notice, and once things had in fact blown up, I used it a lot during the writers’ group at the women’s day shelter where I spent a lot of my time.

I miss that group.

I miss it because Esther, the facilitator, is awesome — and has become a good friend despite not being able to get together due to my transportation issues. I miss the writing exercises, and I miss being in a group of like-minded people doing something as fulfilling as writing.

So of course I had to go back and reread some of the exercises, and I found a few I’d like to share with y’all. Since they were timed writing, some of them are cut off at odd, or possibly want-to-read-more places.  🙂

From July 17, 2012:

PROMPT: Create a journal entry that begins with “It was a dark and stormy night…” Describe this night in detail.

It was a dark and stormy night, if you’re willing to include cloud-dark — hence the “stormy”, although I don’t remember rain. And “night” if you’re willing to call an afternoon “night” on account of the dark.

What I remember about that night — although really it was late afternoon — is the color. Sky purple and silver, threaded with lightning from the plummy clouds, silver on the edges, the horizon still blue-white but getting darker as we drove east.

Mom and “Aunt” Penny, who rode shotgun because she was the other grown-up, even though I was all of twelve at the time; they, my mom and her high-school friend my not-aunt, complained about the fact the radio would only play static, no matter the channel.

Wasn’t a problem with the radio, which was new, since the car was new, a Plymouth Duster two-door. And not just a Duster, but a Gold Duster, the special model for the year, in a color you might call dark metallic pine green (or, less charitably, dark metallic pickle). No, the problem was that every damned radio station in the Texas Panhandle had apparently decided that static was the coming audio trend and they were going to get in on the ground floor.

So Mom and Aunt Penny talked, as they had talked from California to Flagstaff the day before…or was it Tucumcari, New Mexico? I’ll have to check a map. Anyway — those two could talk!

So can I, given half a chance.

From July 3, 2012:

PROMPT: Looking out the second-story window

I was with his parents, cleaning out his storage space. A few weeks after his death, I think, so that would make it late October 2000. Also, I was taking a class at massage school called “The Body/Mind Connection” and the instructor had told us all to write little haiku. Or sort-of haiku, short bits capturing an emotion or idea in the moment, and I wrote one about this experience. So, yes, October 2000.

His storage space was on the fringe of West Hollywood, and I can only conclude the building was repurposed from something else. I’m pretty sure it was a three-story building and his storage space was on the second floor. I got there first with one of my friends and was afraid I’d have to have someone cut off the padlock, one of those four-wheel combination sorts. But I had the bright idea to try the digits in his birthday and the lock clunked open.

Over the furniture and boxes and lamps and mattress, high up on the wall, was a window. And looking out that second-story window, I could see the roof of the next row of buildings, and the next, right up into the hills.

Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I could see the Hollywood sign. And it struck me so, that evening I wrote this pseudo-haiku:

Why is there a
window in the storage space?
Does the furniture need a view?

From June 27, 2012:

PROMPT: Write an autobiography of your body

Where exactly do I start? With the blue eyes I was not just born with, but kept? With the gold-blonde hair that betrayed me sometime after nursery school went to dishwater blonde and thence to mouse-brown, inspiring me to who knows how many dye jobs to be the redhead I’m supposed to be. Maybe I should talk about the fact I’m really and truly big-boned as well as fat, that when I weighed a hundred pounds less, most people thought I weighed even less than that?

But weight, really, is boring. Then I’d have to talk about being chubby until I hit junior high or high school — or being told I was, and feeling I was even though now I’d cut myself a lot more slack. Hindsight and all that, I guess.

Maybe I should tell you I always hoped I’d get so many freckles, they’d join together and I’d have a permanent tan. Or the way I could, for years, find my vaccination scar because it was a round white mark in a sea of cinnamon spots. It’s harder to find these days, since I’m in the sun less and always wear at least short sleeves. Well, almost exclusively short sleeves, since I seem to run at least ten degrees warmer than everyone else I know, even in winter.

So that’s something else. Ghu only knows what’ll happen if I actually have a menopause with hot flashes — I’ll probably spontaneously combust.

No tonsils — they got yanked when I was about four and a half, since I had recurrent strep throat of the type that would have led to rheumatic fever. Still have my appendix, and so far my wisdom teeth haven’t come in to the point of being a problem. No major ongoing aches or pains, although my recent accident brought on a few, and could bring on more as time passes, or so folks in the know tell me.

I think that will do for now. If anyone wants to know more about any of these, let me know in the comments and maybe I’ll expand on things in another post.  🙂




Filed under 366 Days, gratitude, writers' group, writing

4 responses to “366 Days of Gratitude and Good Things: Day 107

  1. jp

    These entries make me want to write like that.

  2. Those were the dearest days in the world; I felt lucky to have you in my life, and yet I hated seeing you having to lug stuff around in the heat; I remember our days in the library’s patio; over a cool ice something or other. I am of the feeling the hearts are always connected; we’ll rendezvous soon; I’m wimpy about freeways; just moved to Altadena, and am in a sea of disarray counting the vagaries of my mind; a lovely thing to lose. It is a good move tho. I am still teaching different classes and trying to write a memoir. Think of you often; some day life will settle down; hugs and love, esther

  3. Syd

    And what’s getting your way of doing it, jp? I’ll be happy to toss you a writing prompt. 😉

    No worries, Esther — one of these weekends I’ll bus-and-train it to your end of the world. Lunch is on me.

  4. yes it’s madness right now

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