Though I began writing fiction at 9, I started writing personal reflections in my monthly column in La Voz de Berkeley when I was at Cal. I then created a blog, Mujer Hollering, inspired by that column, and more recently, my blog, Mujer Evolving. While writing fiction is a long-term goal, my #40blogsfor40days challenge is a great opportunity to share my work and honor my voice.
I have suffered from writer’s block for many years partly due to time management. So am I going to complete this writing during Lent? I decided to solve the problem this year by beginning my blogs as voice recordings. During my morning commute, I have been recording five minute voice memos to capture my thoughts. There’s plenty of writing material whether it’s personal experiences, music, TV, or themes I have pondered. The commute has allowed me time to do some uncensored reflecting. When I’m at the computer, I get stifled by the desire to wordsmith or produce a clear and concise piece in a short amount of time. Drafting differently gives me a chance to voice my ideas.
Then it is time to transcribe. I don’t type it word for word. I do some revision as I go. Sometimes I stop the playback as I tend to speak quickly. I don’t want to lose any key ideas. Once it’s transcribed, I read it. I start the editing process. I take out repetitious phrases. I rearrange paragraphs. I add topic sentences, details, commentary, and transitions. I was an English teacher for thirteen years so I have those skills to help me produce a polished piece of writing. The verbal rough draft and more intense editing process has allowed me to produce work that is much more coherent. I’m excited that this may be an opportunity to fully commit to writing on a more regular basis.
Some of the best memories aren’t recorded on film. My brother and I were recently discussing one of the memorable moments from our days watching Cal basketball. We had gathered on Sproul Plaza to cheer on our NCAA-bound Cal Bears. Each player had his chance in the spotlight. Then one of the weaker players stood up. The crowd began to boo and jeer. The poor guy kept a grin on his face. Bless his heart.
These were the days before cell phone cameras and social media. But those images are as fresh as if they happened yesterday.
When M was two, we made our first road trip to LA with her. On our drive home, she entertained us with a giggly rendition of a favorite from our Music Together classes, “John the Rabbit.” These were the days before I had gotten hooked on Facebook and Instagram. There is no video but Rambo and I will always treasure that sweet serenade.
This weekend, M and I went to Fairyland to watch her friends dance. As sometimes happens, the phone battery died. Instead of focusing of taking photos or being distracted by the news feed, I simply watched her. I got to see her natural smiles, how she interacts with other children, and how she loves to play outdoors. Those moments were ours.
I look forward to lots of dead phone batteries this holiday season and in the next year.
I got an email from a former associate last night. I’ll admit I panicked. Truth be told, I loathe confrontation. I would rather avoid a person I dislike rather than argue. We can retreat to our own corners of the universe and not perpetuate the cycle of negativity. So I saw this person’s name appear in my inbox and I felt flustered. After consulting my boyfriend, I decided to open the message. It turned out it wasn’t for me at all. In fact, it was clearly meant for someone else, including names and situations of people I have never met (though I did know of one in passing.)
I have made mistakes in choosing friends. I have befriended people who eventually brought little into my life or even caused damage. Having learned from various experiences, I have chosen more carefully. As I looked over this mistaken message, I realized I chose wisely to end the budding friendship. This email shared judgments and details about someone’s marriage and health problems. The email ends with the telling line, “I got this info from a mutual friend.”While this may seem like harmless gossip, I’m sure the woman and man being discussed would be embarrassed and angry to know their troubles are being transmitted across the Internet.
Now I am guilty of continuing that cycle of chisme, too, by writing about this bizarre incident. I intend to work on that bad habit. And I intend to “block sender.”
*Props to comedian Steve Harvey for his bit in _The Original Kings of Comedy_ and making this phrase one of my catchphrases.
My iPod, that is. I downloaded the latest version of iTunes on Sunday and found myself swirling in a maelstrom of a negative mood swing when iTunes Help told me my mom’s computer was no longer recognizing my iPod. Thank God for Lisabet, Best Burger, and VH1 reality shows or I might have gotten all borderline impulsive and bought a new iPod or that laptop I keep promising myself. Tonight, I plugged my iPod in and all is well.