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[Quiet Thoughts] Do the Best You Can

3 years ago

1269 words

Photo: Focus not on the atrocious condition of my messy desk, and instead on the adorableness of these little baby booties! Of all of the things that I set out to do this year, knitting has been the best thing. I love it. It’s probably saved my children, my marriage, my life… It is the single most relaxing thing I’ve ever encountered outside of swimming laps. If I can join a pool and swim laps during school mornings and then knit in the evenings, I may never have high blood pressure again…

 

My Quiet Thoughts are scattered today because, like many of ya’ll, I am utterly distracted by the news. There is so much to process, but this serves as a damning reminder of the human capacity for unspeakable and obscene cruelty and violence. Between the 295 souls lost in Ukraine and the many others lost as collateral victims in Gaza, I’m feeling a combination of mourning, frustration, fury and sickness. Political and news junkie that I am, there is an almost addictive fascination that can come over me when thinking about the impending domino effect of consequences from both of these crises. But my heart is very firmly focused on the number of people simply lost yesterday for the failings of men.

And, because the world is just too small for this kind of bullshit anymore, I think about the rippling waves and what could happen if they come to my shore. In a moment of irrational fear, I told my husband not to take the red line train for a while “you know, just in case there is some sort of retaliation or something.” My husband looked at me like I was an idiot (though he loves an excuse to stay off of the subway) gave me a kiss on the cheek (like I was a child) and went to catch his commuter rail train. I know that it was an irrational thing to think about or say aloud, yet I felt better in that moment to give into it.

Though I know what my very scientifically-minded husband was thinking, I also know that he knew what I was trying to do: That was my best expression of love at that little moment in time. To worry and to express that worry.

World news aside, this has been an intense week. It was hot and stormy here for the beginning of the week, we had the crazy running-around day on Wednesday, The Husband worked from home yesterday so as to facilitate getting the car fixed, the boys have not napped a single freaking day (including right now as I type), I’ve been racing to get the latest section of my writing project done and I’ve been on pins and needles waiting on an answer for my submission to a literary magazine. Oh, and we’ve been doing all of that without the very important help of a television in the living room. Of course, no week is complete without two simultaneous playdates in two completely different parts of town this morning…

It’s been a lot. It has been a week with not enough hours and too many tasks.

Hm?

The submission?

It was rejected. I got the email yesterday around this time. The frustrating thing is that it was a form letter, so I didn’t get any feedback on the story that I sent. I think that this magazine is more genre leaning while the story I sent was pretty mainstream (no hocus-pocus involved) and I might have just sent a good story to the wrong place. Then again, though, I don’t really know because all I got was a “Hi, we decided not to publish the story you submitted.” It’s disappointing but I’m really ok. Mostly because I believe that I created a good story and I’ve received good feedback on it before.

I’m also feeling ok because I decided to take a chance this week to become a little more invested in my writing. I started working with two other like-minded, very motivated and previously published mama-writers in order to create a group for encouragement and consistent feedback. We had a Google Hangout last Friday and all of this week, we’ve been furiously writing and cheering each other on all week. Pessimist that I am, I keep asking myself “will we be this excited to be working together this time next month?” but I’m trying to stay as positive as possible. Right now, this feels productive, so that’s what I’m going to think about.

The inspired writing that I’ve done has produced 7,000 words total of fiction and blogging this week. I’m about 1,000 words away from completing my draft for Act II of my larger project (I’m code naming is Project ViBo). No promises for that September delivery, but I’ve certainly got momentum. I’m excited to finish this draft tonight. I’m not going to write this weekend (gonna knit instead) and get up on some outlining for Act III and maybe try to write another short story for submission next month or September. That’ll be 3 out of 5 for my year, right?

I guess my Quiet Thoughts are about accomplishment, which seems to be a running theme for the year. I’m thinking about all of the things that I’ve managed to get done this week in comparison to all of the things I wanted to do and the things that should be done and probably won’t be done. I’m thinking about the goals I’ve yet to hit (being published somewhere) and how best to hit them. A little tiny part of me is wondering where I got the audacity to think that this was such a good idea…but I think that my Quiet Thoughts are telling me that this week, I did the best I could.

My new television is coming any minute. And did I tell you that the car turned out to be ok? Was able to get it taken care of in one day for only $100. God is Good. He gave us a break this time around. I’m hoping that, with a little help from The Husband, I’ll get some good binge time in in front of the new screen. Maybe House of Cards? I still haven’t seen it yet.

For you on this Friday, dear reader, I wish you lemonade. A lot of it. Cold and refreshing and an entire pitcher full, with real slices of lemon mixed into it. I wish you a sweating glass on a table, next to a good book or accompanying you as you enjoy a good story of another kind. I wish you light sandwich, maybe the crunch of potato chips. I wish you a belly laugh thanks to a great joke or a well told yarn. I wish you a hearty and happy reaction as you tell as story of your own. I wish you a starry night and a look at the moon, maybe a peak of the sunrise or a lazy observation of a sunset. I wish you a held hand, a friendly lick from a dog, the warm smile of a child. I wish you the heavy knowledge that you are here, and likely in no danger, while your brethren are not so lucky. I wish you a moment of acknowledging them, in prayer or in another form. And I wish you the opportunity to act in kindness, if only to bring a little bit into a world that is otherwise distracted by cruelty. I wish you warmth and joy, because you deserve it.

Until Monday, Take Care (of yourself, and your neighbors).

7 Replies to “[Quiet Thoughts] Do the Best You Can”

  1. House of Cards it da shit. Spacey, as always, is on point.

    Good luck with resubmitting and the Google group. It’s nice you’re coming together to conquer.

    Speaking of groups, I always thought it would be cool to have three people write their stories, all separate, in a sort of chapterish form (so you could divide it at comprehensible points). Then get a fourth person to “weave” it (or glue it, rather). Like in real life. One person knows three people, but those three never know each other.

    I think the things that would come out of it would be really interesting from a human study perspective. The fourth person would not actually tie the story together for the reader, purposely, but would be the link. The reader would just observe how the connections interact, while simultaneously developing a personal investment in each story.

    You’re a knitter, thoughts?

    1. Wait, I’m confused. I want to clarify:

      So there are three people who write three different stories.
      The fourth person (a person in common, even though the other 3 don’t know each other?) takes the three different stories, discerns a narrative from them, and then arranges the story around the narrative he found within the stories? He never actually explicitly TELLS the reader what the narrative theme of the three different stories is, though I suppose the reader can glean it (or something else) for the larger story presented by the “editor”/”director” fourth person?

      Because that would be a fun blog thing to do.
      Or a cool dissertation if it could be big enough and you could pull out major sociological themes? Wouldn’t it be interesting if a graduate student was able to do that sort of project with say, teachers. Or even students… or even whole school communities? What if you could create a writing project like that with an entire classroom of high schoolers? Oh oh, like, private school students at a boarding school, students at a suburban school, and students at a city school? Wouldn’t that be freaking fascinating? It would be a story told, but through the eyes of a bunch of different very authentic characters. Then again… the authenticity is sorta lost once you run it through the filtering narrative “weaver,” yes?

      Got a little carried away there…

      That would still be a fun blog thing to do.

      1. Yes. lol. I think something like tho would have to start with a basic framework, and would probably evolve, possibly into something completely different.

        If you wanted to be strict and adhere to the initial idea, it would take a lot of work to make it not seem contrived and stiff.

        The 3 storytellers could be randomly assigned to simply write a story. Then 4 would take them and somehow bride the gaps with connected the bridges directly. As an analogy use like the states. They each have a story and are connected by many things: the country, highways, crap like that; but they are totally exclusive I by their way.

      2. Crap, I hit reply too soon, continuing…
        Imagine say cats on a highway perhaps. All totally separate, connected by the road, also with its only narrative.

        Like I said, just throw it out to three people: write a so many word story, about anything (not fantasy-I’m not connecting fucking aliens or monsters). Submit.

        Fourth person writes their story, also separate. Then read all of them and connect them through number four. I think it would also work to write no four off of he other three.

        But the key is one through three can never meet, overlap, connect directly, perhaps countries separated but connected by oceans would be more appropriate? People on apartment buildings. The disconnected connection is the important part. Three authors who never get to interact before the book, and have no knowledge of the others would be like the…hook?

        And YES! You could expand it to a grander scale. I think floating a small test book (batch lol) might be a nice marketing angle. Make it awesome, leave the readers wanting you to do other groups. Everyone has a story to tell, why not give them a forum.

        Imagine the connector was the main author, say me, it’s my book. I get you and two others to write stories. You sen them, I compile. Basic premise. Now imagine I am that same connective tissue I everyone in the US I don’t know. How does that chance my story when trying to connect all of those people without ever connecting them? Fuck me.

        The col thing is that the developmental potential is really quite astounding. Exponential connections available, but the author would only be able to find a limited number. What would be the benefit is that he readers make connections, and They become part of the process. They connect to each other via the book, and never ever meet.

        Now the authentic part is where it’s cool. For example, say I get stories from random people I Don’t know. How cool to connect my own story to them without being obvious.

        Ok, like we are technically stranger right? Our stories only collide here. We interact digitally. The book can’t do something so easy and one dimesional.

        If we were to have a third person (a stranger to both of us) connect us all, how would they do it?

        I think I’m being redundant, so I stop there. But know what I mean? Is that too much like strong theory? I want it to be something original and in my head it is lol. Hard to write out.

        Oh, no 4 does no alteration to stories 1-3. Can’t touch em, can only “play” off em. He writes HIS story only and let’s the rest of the connections kind of happen. That where the reader comes in. You get that interactive bonus, which is kinda the main idea. How do you network without networking? How do you crowd source without a crowd?

  2. Doood,
    Imagine a live-feed, multi-author, story that continues indefinitely. It would like mirror life. It would be the reality TV book.

    Anyone can contribute, but the rules would be as follows:
    1) proofread before submitting
    2) only one submission per person, per day
    3) not a chat room. Submission must be a personal narrative
    4) must interact, improvise with, or play off if at least 2 other posts (make a substantial and unique connection
    5) not a debate room
    6) no multimedia. Text only (this might change-I like visual stories, and to have those playing of textual stories makes wicked connections and new opportunities)
    7) we said PROOFREAD ya lazy git!
    8) dialogue may be opened in another public chat. Make the link accessible to whomever wants to follow
    8) no death threats, crazy conspiracy crap, no overt violence for attention, no critiqueing, no shutting down of narrative avenues-see number ten
    9) violence and swearing, as well as god and Girl Scouts are a reality in life. Deal.
    10) you must accept all narratives with a yes. Your narrative must continue with another. You can take any new path you want, but you have to say yes to anything that precedes you. Much like improv- it stops if the follower says no; it stops the forward momentum-always say yes.
    11) this is the story as life unfolds between the people who submit. It should mirror life, be unpredictable, boring, shocking, helpful, ridiculous, funny, smart, derp, and continuous-always continuous. The death of one does not stop life; it just keeps going.

    What if it was by invite only?

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