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Tilt-O-Whirl

My head began spinning a couple days ago at the writers’ conference I’m attending and I don’t anticipate a quick recovery. It’s reminiscent of stepping off a tilt-o-whirl at the county fair after eating too many elephant ears and a giant bag of sticky pink cotton candy. Happy. Dizzy. Nauseous.

The red half bubble would leave me suspended from some serendipitous pole after I would wrap the grimy black seat belt around my legs in anticipation of the ride, but not before the carney flicked his cigarette atop the dried, crunchy grass of late July or August.

Even once the ride concluded my head continued to twirl. But this, this woozy loss of control, is the precise reason I decided to attend the writers’ conference. Last year, the place, the time, the mere state of being led me on different path from the one in which I arrived.

My personal writing this year stalled after I changed jobs. The transition of full-time work left our family in flux trying to figure out where we all need needed to head as individuals and as a family. I’ve shared here that I felt like it was My Turn; however, my writing failed to reflect it.

I hadn’t planned to attend the conference this year so I had not prepared a written piece to submit for critique for the afternoon workshop so I submitted a couple small pieces that I pulled from my ever-expanding idea bank that I knew I wanted to elaborate upon, but I couldn’t untangle the root of what I needed to reveal on the page. Also in there was a hint of an exploration that I wanted to take encircling the death of my twins.

This space was a vulnerable and squirmy place for me to reside in solitude let alone deciding to share it with a group of near strangers. This week was about the stretch, and I knew I was going to have to really push myself if I hoped to uncover what I really needed to write.

These people who barely knew me picked up the pieces I wrote and nailed me to the side of the wall. As I hung dangling, they talked about my writing as if I was nowhere in sight. Each writer agreed to enter the room of silence when her submission was critiqued. The fact that I AGREED to utterly hush my voice is an impossibility in and of itself, but I managed, well mostly, and it was from this place I made my discovery.

I knew I needed to write about the grieving experience of when my twins died, but I couldn’t organize my thoughts let alone articulate how I wanted to tell this story. Sitting there listening to these people talk about me and my work as if I didn’t exist was life altering and still causes tears to spill over my cheeks as I sit and recount the scene.

Clarity found me, found me on the ride home as I wound around the countryside. The day’s events whirled in circles inside my head, until I pulled into the drive way. I released the strap holding me tight and wobbled to my computer to capture the words as they spilled onto the page before they packed up for yet another season.

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One Response

  1. I have had this post of yours flagged in my email inbox for three weeks now — and I just have not made the time to reply. I just wanted to let you know that I loved reading it. The imagery and symbolism was wonderful. I can almost HEAR the faint sound of a distant calliope amidst the bobbing horses! You’re very talented.

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