Archive for August 2010

Committing to something as elusive as a dream….

August 30, 2010

I am amazed that this will be my first blog post specifically on writing. The fact is, I’ve always considered myself a writer. Classmates who knew me in grade school remember that I used to write 20-page stories when everyone else handed in one-page scripts. I have an entire trunk full of my journals (one is where I got that above piece of information, otherwise forgotten). All my day jobs have been in writing – journalism, freelance writing, corporate communications, marketing, and teaching college-level communications courses. And I’ve always dreamed of publishing fiction.

This last year is the first time I’ve actually begun to devote time to my fiction. It’s taken me more than 30 years, but I’m finally getting down to business! It helped that I had to give up my last job, move to a remote location, and to decide that the one thing that would truly keep me sane here, is to focus on fiction. Discover the real meaning of committing to something as elusive as a dream.

So I participated in my first NaNoWriMo (look it up if you don’t know what it is) last fall, and had no problem reaching 50,000 words in 30 days. All crap – except that it got me into the habit of writing daily. Average of 1,500 words each day. Then I was hooked.

The next major event in my serious writing journey this year, was to attend a four-day writing workshop when I was back in Ontario this summer. I found it quite by accident online, and was thrilled when I learned from the teacher, Marsha Skrypunch, that there was room and I could attend. It was a wonderful experience – one of the best things I’ve done for myself as a writer. I met amazing people – most of them women, and mothers, like me, taking their writing seriously, half of them already published!

Now I find I can’t go a day without writing, even if it’s only for an hour. I hope my kids don’t start to think I love writing more than them….so far, they seem quite understanding! I wonder if my baby, due in two more months, will be, too….

What is Home?

August 7, 2010

Discombobulated. That’s the perfect word for me right now. I went into this one-month holiday back “home” full of elation, plans and gusto. Now it’s all tragedy and frustration and confusion.

This is the problem with living far away from the place you call “home” – that coming back for a visit isn’t just for a weekend. It’s an intense week or two with each side of the family, several mini-visits with friends, a whole lotta packing and unpacking to the point where you don’t know what’s up. I know what’s down, that’s me. Just for now. I’ve got one more place to go away to, before I leave here for probably the longest time ever.

I call this place home (see last blog post) because it’s where my memories are. I spent summers here, most weekends, held jobs, made friends, fell in love. Driving back and forth from Mississauga or Toronto to cottage country is painful yet familiar. The tragedy is all the accidents on that bloody stretch of highway 400 before Barrie. This morning, after dropping my husband off at the airport, my kids and I headed north back to the cottage, and passed a gruesome accident (lucky for us it was in the southbound lanes). There was no visible blood, but I did see two police officers and an ambulance attendant trying to get the driver of a van out of his seat. I saw he was in shock, and convulsing. I cried for him, his family, his friends, his ruined weekend. I don’t know who he was, but he might be a dad, he might be my age, he is a human, that’s all that matters.

There are so many humans in this part of the world. One thing I miss, living in a remote location, is the interaction with them. Still, I hate the traffic all these people create in close quarters, especially on the southern Ontario highways. My husband used to do that drive every day from Barrie (when we lived there for less than a year) to north Toronto, and I swear there was a fatal accident weekly. I was so glad once we moved to Sudbury, and he worked only five minutes from our house. But still, this most crowded area of Canada is the place that is most familiar to me, of all the places I’ve been in the world – including Europe, where I lived for a few school semesters, and many different parts of this country.

So maybe to know a place, is to call it home. Since moving away when I was 18, I haven’t lived anywhere more than four years in a row. So I’ve lost touch with any other idea of what home might be, other than the places where I grew up. Even that, for me, is not simple, because I grew up in Mississauga, but I never liked it there. It was the drive north, and being two hours north of the city, where I left my heart.

I like the fact that I’ve been able to live in, work in, and experience a few different places on this great planet of ours. But I often mourn the fact that home for me is an illusory oasis in a dream – a mostly good dream, but every dream has nightmarish entries. Right now, I just want the dream to end so I can wake up in a place I can call home. I just haven’t found that place yet.