Sunday, January 17, 2010

Aging, Writing, and Rock & Roll

Today is my birthday, and I've been celebrating in one form or another since Friday night. I think I'm entitled to a whole weekend at my age, don't you?

All week I've been receiving cards from friends and family. And today I've heard from them by phone. My brother's family sang (as did others) but he accompanied the singing on his guitar!

Friday night my husband's band, SPOT, played for a going-away party. There were more people than usual and the crowd was happy and dancing. Now you know that when I quit drinking, I quit dancing, but when Frank Gordon started in on the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" I had to shake a leg. And then the other leg started shaking and my arms joined in! It was a great night, but I only got four hours of sleep that night.

Yesterday, I went to a workshop facilitated by author Peggy Payne called, "Get Your Ganges On" and it was great. The title of the workshop came from Peggy's own India experience and her feeling that the river is her writing symbol, or the companion on her writing journey. I decided that mine would be a butterfly, a symbol that comes up often around my writing. A butterfly "takes off" in the same way that I would like my writing to do, and it is so beautiful that people often say, "Oooooh" or "Whoa, how gorgeous" in ways that I would like to hear them talk about my work! Here is a doodle I did of a dammed river:

A few of the tips that I got yesterday:

1. Drop the self-consciousness around my writing.
2. Continue to learn the craft of writing.
3. Manage my time in a way that enables me to think of my writing first instead of after "everything is done".
4. Keep my hands in the writing sandpile, touching base with my work often.
5. Connect with my higher power and see my writing as a collaboration between me and the Great Energy. (I loved this!)
6. Learn to recognize resistance in all its forms.

As the day started, I began to notice that certain words came up over and over. And oddly enough, they all began with F. I thought of them as the f-words of writing: Fear, focus, flow, fire. I order them this way because they reflect the order of the writing process: First we are afraid to write, so we focus on the craft and lose our self-consciousness, soon our words begin to flow, and finally we are on fire!

If you ever have a chance to work with Peggy, take it. She wrings good stuff out of me, and leaves me worn out but motivated and excited to carry on.

This has been such a good birthday weekend that next year I may try for a birthday month! At my age, you know....


kenju said...

Happy Birthday, Mamie!!

Peggy Payne said...

Mamie, I wish I'd known earlier and made a tremendous fuss Saturday. Anyway, Happy Birthday! I feel honored that you came to the workshop on such an important weekend. And thanks for all the kind words. I love the F observation.