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As in life, I find it impossible to focus on any one thing.

Archive for Writing

A Safe Place

A safe place for me is more about whom than where.

It’s Tuesday evening, which often means writing with the Get-it-Done, then Published Writing Group, at Eclipse Chocolat on El Cajon Blvd. 3 of 5 of us are here this evening; 1 of us is moving to D.C. in a few weeks. I don’t know that that means we’ll have an opening we want to fill. It may mean just that we are 1 less, or it may mean that we’re using Skype to keep our group in tact. We’ve used it before; we can use it again.

The GID-P group @ Eclipse
Get it Done Writing Group

Our group germinated during writing classes given by San Diego Writers, Ink and after the 2010 Blazing Laptops Write-a-thon, Brian suggested we establish a formal, ongoing group. New members were invited after a week long summer “camp” taught by T. Greenwood. Initially, we named ourselves the Get-It-Done Writing Group. But, as we gained experience and began submitting our works to various anthologies, we upgraded the name to the more optimistic Get-It-Published Writing Group.

We have submitted pieces to the SDWI anthology, A Year in Ink, Volumes 4 and 5; So Say We All’s anthology Last Night on Earth, The Paris Revue, and a few poetry foundations. Our pieces run from science fiction to fiction to poetry to historical fiction to memoir. 3 of us are currently awaiting notification from the to-be-published-in-February A Year in Ink, Vol. 5. Dylan was invited to and read her poetry at the “The Fab & Furious Queer Circus of Dastardly  Delights” held in conjunction with Pride week here in San Diego, put on by SDWI and SSWA. 2 of us have pieces accepted by SSWA for inclusion in the Last Night on Earth anthology. It’s exciting. It’s nerve-racking. It’s fun.

Initially, we began the group to establish accountability. The idea being a set appointment is easier to keep and, like work-out buddies, knowing someone is expecting you forces regularity. Also, writers know it’s almost impossible to write at home: there are children to look after, spouses to entertain, dishes to wash, and phones ringing. We arranged scheduled writing times and visited different establishments, trying out the right combination of quiet, location, and time of day.

In the course of writing, and reading and critiquing each others’ work, we have become quite comfortable with each other. We’re learning each others’ stories, developing an easy intimacy, in fact. This group and these people have become, for me, a safe place to be.

Just Say NO!

NO. This is a concept a 1-year old is beginning to know and try out – a lot. At 2, it’s the stock answer to most of Mommy’s commands. So, why is NO so difficult for adults to say? Or, rather, why is NO so difficult for me to say?

I keep busy. I like to volunteer at events, for friends, and at non-profit organizations. I go to drop-in writing groups, scrapbook evenings, stitch-n-bitch afternoons, and book groups. These activities keep me involved in outside activities, keep my brain working, and get me out of the house.

The problem starts with a question.

The scrapbook lady asks if I wouldn’t like to sell the products, getting a discount, making extra money, and joining her exclusive club of sales reps. Even though my heart flutters and I remember, in a cold sweat, previous attempts to “sell” products through multi-level marketing plans, I say, “Hmmm, let me think about it” and way too soon, the inevitable, “Yes!” pops out of my mouth.

My last crop time - December 2009

Scrapbooking-Dec 2009

The leader of the writing group, where I go to write and to listen to author readings and to participate in book group discussions and to volunteer and to be around like-minded artsy-fartsy people, asks if I wouldn’t like to be on the Board of Directors. Adding, of course, the ego-stroking words, “We could really use someone with your skills.” Again, before I can run home and beg my husband to stop me, I say, “YES!”

That's me hiding in the back

SDWI Board 2010-2011

And then, it’s no longer fun. It’s no longer a hobby or what I do to get away from work, which is bookkeeping. I’ve added bookkeeping to every activity. Ugh. I haven’t scrapbooked almost as long as I’ve been a consultant. I occasionally visit my drop-in writing group or take a class. But, the “yes” kind of killed the joy.

The lesson: Think first. Stay calm. Be conscious. As much as I love being part of a group, being involved and integral, my yes’s are an attempt to be everywhere, do everything, and know it all. That’s it; I want to know it all.

And when, finally, a commitment ends and I can lessen my load, I tell myself that next time I must say NO. At long last, I have time to begin a new hobby, which I throw myself into whole-heartedly. It’s exciting – I’m learning something new, having fun again, and meeting new people. Or, better yet, I can relax, maybe go on vacation.

The view from my lounge chair

Poolside - Cabo

But, just as I’m really beginning to enjoy my new hobby and before I get very comfortable, the new hobby leader smiles at me and says, “You know… you’d make a great…” and I’m hooked, once again.