A Swift Kick in the Butt from Daughter Liz

Okay, I am going to try this again. To get back into the groove of writing and posting to my blog.  This came after daughter Liz gave me a “Come to Jesus” talk yesterday, calling me a “weenie” for not recognizing that what I write has value even if it is not always political.  

A bit of background is in order.  

You see I have posted a blog pretty much everyday since 2012, some memoir pieces, some flash fiction, a whole series of haiku (which more than a few people told me they hated) and a  slew of basic “This is what happened today” journal pieces.  I started this after seeing the value of writing 20 minutes a day with my students – forcing (many hated this as well) to write nonstop for 5,10, 15, or 20 minutes depending on where they were on the writing spectrum. I watched massive improvement over time in their writing simply from that timed writing. Greater fluidity, more confidence, more openness and also a willingness to jump into creativity.  So, I decided I would officially and openly do the same with daily 20 minute timed writing blog pieces. I did this too because I knew that I was going to be presenting on the “20 Minutes a Day” method at a writing conference six months in the future and I wanted to have my daily blogging experience to draw from for my workshop presentation. 

All went well from 2012 – 2018 when I started feeling like a fraud when I was posting my mundane, everyday experiences and thoughts in the midst of such political upheaval in our country. I felt that I needed and should weigh in on these events, lend my writer’s hand to what I saw happening all around me. I was angry, upset, freaked out as I saw our country shifting from the decent nation I believe we are to one where bigotry, hate and overall nasty behavior seemed to be “trumping” the latter. I wanted to shout from the rafters, swing from the chandeliers, race around every social media space I occupied with my horror and outrage.  Yelling, screaming, maybe even name-calling. But…

You see, I have many people I call friends who happen to be Republicans. Many are from my rural hometown in Texas and I KNOW they are decent, kind, gentle and right-minded people who don’t deserve my holier than thou attitude. I know they do not respect our president’s bad behavior but believe some things have gone too far in our country and need pulling back. As a liberal Democrat, I know they do their best to put up with me and what they see as my “too far left” beliefs.  Those people (many are my childhood friends) happen to be readers of my blog, and I know them down to their toes and love them. Many are also the people who let me know on a daily basis how much they appreciated having the chance to have a window in my world.

The result? I felt utterly disingenuous on my blog talking about scrubbing mouse poop out of our Airstream in the orange grove while seeing Rome burn next door.  So, I stopped writing.  I could say stopped blogging, but the truth is that it went beyond that.  I stopped writing pretty much altogether.

Then recently, Ray suggested I take a Masterclass in poetry taught online by Billy Collins, which I did and I began to try my hand at sonnets, which I am still doing. And then Elizabeth, my middle daughter, sat me down yesterday and basically took a switch to me and whipped me, good and proper, for shirking my blogging duties at a time the world needs some different perspectives besides all-things political. “Everyone weighs on Facebook with what’s wrong with our country, Mom,” she said. “We need to read about things we all have in common as human beings, not just how everything in our country is going to shit.” She also pointed out that I am missing opportunities to educate others through my experiences. “You have a Mexican son-in-law, who you love,” she said, “and you’re going to Mexico more and more. How about telling people about those experiences so they can see first hand how they don’t have to be afraid of Mexicans or traveling in Mexico?”  

I cried. I nodded. “Okay, I hear you, honey,” I said.

So, here I am. Back with you because I know we need each other, regardless of political beliefs.  We need each other as human beings and we have so very much in common on a core level.

So, be prepared to endure some awkward poems from a novice, personal life antidotes, observations on the world around us (including politics from time to time), glimpses into my past, a tiny bit of flash fiction and a lot of talk about cleaning up mouse poop in our Airstream in the orange grove. I will do my best to stay true to my 20 minutes a day and trust that whatever I write will be a good enough offering. 

Here’s to our shared humanity.

Thanks, Liz, for the ass-whooping.

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Bryan Peeler says:

    Right, it’s ok to be Democratic…. some in your hometown benefited from Democratic legislation. Stand proud and tell Liz she did well

    1. Thanks, Brian! I will stand proud. I am very aware many in my hometown have benefitted (and continue to benefit) from Democratic legislation. I will also pass your praise on to daughter Liz. Hugs to you.

  2. Mary Jo Doig says:

    I join you, Len, in thanking your daughter. She is right on, which of course, you already know. I’ve noticed lately that the stories I want to write about are small moments (or large) of kindness between people or animals that I’ve been able to be part of… and this post makes me think that now I better understand why, more than ever before, we need to keep the precious and beautiful before us as much as we can, for it is, in the end, the heart and soul of who we are. Blessings to you and yours and glad to know you’re back in your blogging chair.

    1. Thank you, Mary Jo. I love your line, “We need to keep the precious and beautiful before us as much as we can, for it is, in the end, the heart and soul of who were are.” That is beautiful, my dear, and will help keep me centered. Much appreciated.

  3. Susan Schoch says:

    So glad that Liz spoke up and got you back to the blog, Len. I’ve missed it!
    I love your concern for maintaining those friendships even though you’re on different pages politically. Keeping communications open is our best hope for getting through the current morass and coming out as a whole country. We need your wonderful voice to make our shared humanity evident.
    So go for it again! Cheering for you from here!

    1. Thanks, Susan/s. I truly do believe keeping that communication open with others who do not share the same political beliefs is key to our getting through this tough time. Thanks for your encouragement and support.

    2. Yes! Yes! And more yes!

      1. Thank you, Cynthia. Much appreciated.

  4. Len thank you for this truth-telling and sharing the dilemma so many of us have faced in this divisive era. Welcome back to writing, and thank you Liz.

    1. Thank you, Ardine, for taking the time to express your support. I appreciate it very much.

  5. Glad you’re back, Len.

    1. Thanks, Carol. Glad to be back!

  6. Len, Happy to see you back and I completely understand how difficult it can be to keep up with the commitments we make. I too have fallen off the blog stream. You are an inspiration. Keep it coming.

    1. I have enjoyed your blog, Marjorie, and hope to read more soon. Thanks for your support!

  7. Joan Henehan says:

    The fallow days are also part of the writing process, as thoughts realign, well up and resettle. They add to the power of the words that will eventually be reported from mind to paper or digital form.

    1. Lots of wisdom there, Joan. Thank you for that. I have been trusting that this time off would re-ignite that writing fire within me.

  8. lgood67334 says:

    Can’t wait to hear more about the Mexican son-in-law, your travels there, and your unique experiences.

    1. Thanks, Lynn. I’ll be heading back to Mexico next week with that son-in-law so stay tuned! Hugs to you.

  9. Tina McAnally says:

    Isn’t it wonderful to have daughters to help keep us on track? I, too, enjoy your blog and am glad to see you are back!

    1. Absolutely wonderful to have those daughters! Thanks for writing, Tina. Much appreciated!

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