Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Mole Day!

Today is Mole Day and my 60th birthday. What is Mole Day you ask? According to the National Mole Day Foundation Inc., Mole Day is celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m.. Mole Day commemorates Avogadro's Number (6.02 x 10^23), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry. Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry. Ever since they took high school chemistry, my children have been wishing me a Happy Mole Day instead of a happy birthday. So Happy Mole Day everyone…has your interested in chemistry been fostered?

I am spending the week in Austin, Texas with my grandchildren, Megan (5)  and Hunter (3). The older I get, the more I realize how quickly time passes. I can see how much Megan and Hunter have grown every time I visit. They aren’t babies anymore. They are small, interactive humans. You can have a conversation with either of them and understand most of what they are talking about.

This morning I found evidence in the bathroom that someone had diarrhea. I asked Hunter, “Do you have diarrhea?”

“No,” she said  shaking her head, “I don’t have diarrhea.”  Then she wandered from room to room, searching saying “Where’s my diarrhea?” I enjoyed that sight for a few minutes before trying to explain to her what diarrhea was. I finally took her into the bathroom and showed her the potty chair.

“See the poop in the potty,” I said “that’s diarrhea.”

“Yes!” she says “There’s MY diarrhea.”

It’s a great way to celebrate turning the big six-oh. Grandchildren keep me in touch with the child I used to be.

Life is good. Happy Mole Day!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nana Has a Writing Revelation

I haven’t had much to write about lately. My reclusive, retired life hasn’t given me much fodder for writing. What I have done is read several books by writers on writing. I enjoy reading about how other writers do it. What inspires them? How often do they write? Where do they write? There’s so much I want to know about how to write.
Advice that is often given is just to write every day. I suppose that’s good advice because sometimes I can find a nugget of worthwhile prose in a page of drivel. Occasionally an idea in my daily jottings turns into a longer piece, but what I have now is several notebooks of random observations and mundane thoughts.

I just finished reading A Broom of One’s Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning and Life by Nancy Peacock. The author is a writer whose first book was selected by the New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year. Prior to publishing her first book, she dreamed of the day she would be published and her life would change. She could give up her day job as a house cleaner and spend her days writing. Then she was published and nothing changed. After the first whirlwind book tour she still had to pay her bills, so she went back to cleaning houses and writing in her spare time. Sometimes she even found copies of the books she had written on the shelves in the houses that she cleaned. She kept writing because she had to.

Since I’ve retired and started writing more, I find myself thinking about writing all the time. I write myself to sleep at night, working out just the right way to phrase a sentence. On my few excursions out of the house I’m thrilled if something out of the ordinary happens or I see something interesting…like the house on the corner of 11th and Hermiston Avenue. It has been painted pepto bismol pink, everything, the door the trim, one giant pepto pink house…what’s up with that? There’s got to be a story there. When I substituted at the high school last week a student asked me “Did you write about us in your blog?” I understand why Nancy Peacock kept writing. I feel the same way. I have to write.

What has been difficult lately has been actually getting the writing out of my head and into the computer. I had an ah-ha moment when I realized that I was reading all the books about writing to delay the actual process of writing. For me it was a new form of procrastination.

So today I am grateful for writing. It helps me process my thoughts and sometimes gives me insight. But most of all, I write because I like to. I write because I have to. I write because I am a writer.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Good Day in Retirement

I’ve had a hard time letting go of summer. Last night when I went out to the hot tub I felt the chill in the air and the stars shone brightly in the clear night sky. There was crispness in the air that isn’t there in the summer. Summer has gone.

I had put off getting my writing group back together. Summer is a time for travel, vacations and freedom. I wasn’t going to tie myself to commitments in the summer. But now, school is back in session, darkness falls earlier and earlier, and I’m wearing sweaters. I can’t deny it any longer; Summer has gone.

I sent emails out to the members of my small writing group and to bloggers I had “met” who live in the Hermiston area. We agreed to meet at a local used book store. This morning five of us got together to share our writing . Birgitta and Chris were in the group last spring. Chris had sent me emails during the summer asking when we were going to start meeting again. Birgitta read a short piece describing fall in Hermiston that she had written “to make my children homesick .” She’s been working on including humor in her writing and the group laughed out loud at several of her descriptions…auditory proof that she’d made growth

We met Milt and his wife Robin today for the first time. Milt is a blogger and a follower of my blog. This was my first experience meeting a virtual friend in person. Robin read a poem she had written and Milt read a piece that he had posted earlier in his blog. Milt’s writing was very self-revelatory and touching.

I read my recent piece about overcoming writer’s block and everyone laughed in all the right places.

We’ll be meeting the first and third Wednesday of every month at 10:30 at the used book store in Hermiston. Drop by if you’re in the area and bring your latest writing to read to us.

Today I had a great retirement day. The local coffee shop gave me a free beverage when I drove through…Cellular One picked up the tab today. I got to celebrate writing with people who, like me, struggle to find just the right word. I met face to face with a person I had met on the internet and he was not an ax murderer.

I guess I don’t feel so bad about summer being over. ..I’ve got writing group to look forward to. Life is good!
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