Thursday, 25 September 2014

Writing in the storm

It is 10.59pm and my eyelids are twitching from lack of sleep and stress. I haven't written much fiction for a while, well grown up fiction that is. I have several novel outlines waiting for time and attention but life is rather hectic at the moment so I am not in the right mind space and I am in constant demand which reduces my creative time. To really produce a good scene I need to immerse myself in the story and not be constantly interrupted.

 I currently have three adult sons, a daughter in law, a teen daughter and a 10 week old baby plus a dog sharing my miniscule house while they all have challenges in their life to work through. I love my kids and would do just about anything for them but there comes a time when I want to let go the selfless mother role and embrace the inner rebellious teenager who hasn't yet had her turn at life. My first born isn't talking to me at the moment and it all seems so overwhelming. Then I read the news and think at least my kids are all alive and somewhere I can find them. I try to focus on the things to be grateful for so I have a healthier perspective about my own troubles. I have wonderful friends who support me as much as I will let them and I am in reasonably good health all things considered. I have food and clean water and a warm bed to sleep in. I have social media to make friends around the world and my car works. I am living in a good town with easily accessible services and good health workers.
And I get to create art and tell stories and sing to my grandson. I can weather the storm when I 'count my blessings' and focus on the abundance of good things in my life.

I read an article by Neil Gaiman today. It was about Terry Pratchett. Neil described Terry as an angry man and while I was reading it and the message that Terry uses that anger to fuel his stories I realised I too am a bundle of anger and maybe I could use that anger to fuel my own stories. So I wrote one. It is less than 600 words and is the first flash fiction I have written in several months. I read it to my favourite beta-ear(the first person I read it to over the phone) and she said it has powerful imagery. It was a strange sensation to be writing with such anger in me. Acknowledging the anger helped me connect to it. I think I need to really tap into my emotional state when I am writing. I am thinking some of my more recent stuff is quite bland and probably reflects a lack of passion.

I weeded my front lawn today. I dug out the thistles and broad leaf weeds with an old table spoon. I had to do something with my hands and get out of the house. I was incredibly excited to see that a dozen or more seedlings have sprouted from the seeds of the trees that were cut down recently. I carefully dug them up and put them in a seed tray before the mower kills them. I will plant them in the back yard once they are established beyond two leaves and nurture a whole new forest.  The silver lining shows itself and I am grinning about the resilience of nature in the face of human onslaught.

Have I told you guys I have been a foster parent for 25 years. No quater-century commemorative medal for me just a lot of experiences and memories and some extra permanent members of the family. I fostered more than 55 kids in that time. Some for short terms lie weekends or two weeks at a time, some for much longer and one for the whole 25 years. Fostering here in Australia is not a paid gig. It is a volunteer position and if the fostering is done through a legitimate agency then the foster parents can be compensated for some expenditure. It is not something anyone should do lightly. Many of the children in care are already damaged before they land on the doorstep in wet pyjamas and need a long term plan to support them. The foster parents need constant and ongoing training and support and it is a 24 hour seven day a week possibly lifetime commitment. There are all sorts of reasons why kids need out of home care and every one of the kids who came to my care had different stories. I don't like a lot of the things that happen in the system that actually compound the damage to the kids and I don't like that good relationships are difficult to build but there has to be some kind of system to help kids who need it. I have discouraged people from fostering because they were going into it with an attitude they would get to look after some poster child for their local church group and were not mentally equipped for the challenge. I don't think I was either but I have proactively sought training and education that would help me help the kids. I hope that the experience of living with me for however long or short a time made a positive difference to the kids. It breaks my hear that I failed some kids and hope they found better experiences further along their life paths. I fell in love with some and often wonder where they are.

Life is an adventure.

I am so excited. One of the members of a group (musical) that I am supporting (with the pittance I can share) actually took the time to acknowledge my tweet to them. I am very honoured. (ps guys when I make it big with my writing I will up my patronage from ten cents to 25 cents okay).

Inktober is not far away and I did some preliminary pics to rediscover the feel for ink. I popped them on my pinterest board for Inktober.  and on this page of course.  

Well on that note I suspect I need to get some sleep since it is now almost midnight. I hope your life is not too stormy for you to weather. Focus on the positives to help you navigate the negatives. Hugs and love.