Monday, January 13, 2014

Who Am I?

Twenty six years ago, in 1988, I wrote/compiled a book for and about my family as a gift to them titled “Heart of One”.  I was 27 at the time, around half the age I am now.  The book was a blend of family history, stories and individual profiles of my parents and their five children. 

Just before the end of the book, I devoted a single page to each person, giving myself the freedom to mix what others had written and my impressions of them as well.  I picked a poem for each person I felt best described them.

I pull “Heart of One” out every now and then and read it.  I’m warmed by the memories it evokes and always a little surprised at how my feelings about stories and events evolve over the years.  I’m struck by both the clarity and obscured vision I had of my family members, and myself.

My page started with:

Her most precious possession was a magic box
that she kept hidden in a very secret place.
And whenever she wanted, she would unlock her magic box,
and out would fly all her favorite thoughts ~
Beautiful thoughts like the colors of a sunset
or the gentle flutter of a butterfly’s wings.

For 51 years, I've tended that magic box.  It holds all the slivered pieces of “Who I Am”.  Daughter, Sister, Friend, Wife, Mother, Gatekeeper and Writer.  I’m not the blindingly faithful (or naive) person I was then.  Now, when I ever so gently lift the lid (usually to engage in a writing piece) I don’t only see those favorite thoughts that mirror sunsets and butterflies.  I see a life balanced with joy and pain.  One that holds love and sorrow and surely more blessings than I deserve. 

A magic box indeed.  A place to safely cradle the pieces of who I am, the stories that got me there and the threads of where I’m headed.


This is in response to the “Who Am I” prompt from “The Blogging Lounge”.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cheap and Relaxing Kicks Off 2014

Steven and I have a running joke that it doesn’t take much to amuse us.  We don’t mind splurging on ourselves once in a while, but generally cheap and relaxing is what we look for in activities with the main ingredient just being each other’s company.  I’ve been off the past two weeks – a gift of time when the Catholic University I work for is closed for Christmas/New Year’s and the addition of a few vacation days. 

It took me until I turned 50 to really enjoy sleeping in and taking naps!
It’s been blessedly low-key.  With Steve’s work schedule, we got a lovely mix of days and evenings together.  We slept in and took naps (a past time I’ve only recently come to appreciate in the past year or so); worked on a couple house projects and watched a few movies and TED talks with the new Google Chromecast he got us for Christmas.

It was also a reminder of just how much I enjoy our time in the kitchen.  I wouldn’t call us foodies, but we enjoy sharing our meals and have developed a smooth flow around the kitchen when we cook together.  Steve’s often inspired to combine foods that I would never think to (with delicious results!) and I love to cook a wide range from simple to elaborate meals.  We can easily entertain ourselves with a night of conversation over a good meal. 
Ours looked just like these from the website!

Steve mentioned he’d like to make a bunch of crock pot freezer meals for when I go back to work and our schedules get tight.  And in Team Morgan fashion, it became an adventure.  Friday we looked at the website, Mommy’s Fabulous Finds, reviewed the recipes, shopping list and headed to the store.  Yesterday afternoon we laid everything out on the counter, brought over Steve’s lap top and started the prep work.  In just a few hours, we chopped peppers, onions, garlic and meats, assembled and labeled the ten meals and cleaned up.  We had a ball and are already talking about ideas for the next batch of meals.

Like I said, it really doesn't take much to amuse us.  Long live cheap and relaxing!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 - Make It So

“Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.”
     -Stephen King, On Writing

I’ve been silent on this blog for 158 days.  On the two year anniversary of “My Writing Corner” I admit that’s not a good thing.  However, in being true to its tagline of it being “A place to share my writing, the process of doing so and the part of me that it comes from”, I apologize for the silence and move forward into 2014 with a renewed commitment. 

Two years ago today I started out with the dream of beginning a blog, “ready to take the plunge and open myself up to sharing my writing…to hone my skills as a writer, dedicate myself to the craft of writing more and see where this adventure takes me.”

I had 67 posts in 2012 and found myself sharing not only my fiction, but surprisingly, different parts of my life as well.  It was an unbelievably productive writing time with the frosting on the cake being a published piece in Chicken Soup for the Soul: finding my faith. 

2013 began with a blog about my “growth as an artist as well as a writer” – heady stuff.  I started the year with I Should Be Writing BootCamp with Lisa Romeo (worth every penny, educational and inspiring!) I submitted a handful of pieces to different places and yes, received a couple rejections, but also had a My View published in the Buffalo News and an essay accepted on the “this I believe” website.  I wrote the 17th blog post for the year on July 27th and stopped.

I know from past experience that I don’t just stop writing for no reason.   And although there were numerous ones, in part, depression, like it or not, is part of where my writing comes from.  Sometimes I am able to write through it and other times, like the past five months, it numbs me and nothing makes the passage from my thoughts to the paper.   I’m fortunate to have good people in my life who help me through these times and thankfully, am starting 2014 from a better place. 

I am pleased that I did manage to write one piece in the past five months about a lesson learned from my mom, and got it submitted by the November deadline to Chicken Soup for the Soul for an upcoming book on traumatic brain injuries (I have not heard anything back yet.) 

I’m not sure what direction my writing will take this year, but feel ready for the glide of the pencil of paper and the tapping of my fingertips on the keyboard. It is with thanks to my husband Steven, son Abram, sister Darcey and longtime writing friend Elaine Kehoe of the blog, Tea Leaves for the love, guidance and gentle nudges that have helped make it so.