stories

On Swimming. And Writing. And Love Affairs With Story.

It’s consuming in a way. No, in all ways. Like a love affair. Or a roller coaster. Or a horror movie. It overshadows everything else in your world. It IS your world, Right Now In This Moment, permeating into every pore, every cell. This thing called creation. This growth of a story. This incubation period. Gestation. Evolution.

This immersion.

When you step away for a break or because other commitments make it necessary, it’s almost scary to return. You dip your toes in the water and think, am I ready for this? Am I ready to give myself over? To lose myself? To have this otherness responsible for whether I float or drown? To become dependent on it? To have it swallow me whole? To submerge? Am I ready to immerse?

Am I ready?

I will have to put everything else on the back burner, as they say. Bottom of the totem pole. Lowest priority. Things I’ve enjoyed being wholly present for while not consumed with Story. Things I love. Things I don’t necessarily want to have fade into the background. But it’s the price, isn’t it? The creative muse is selfish that way. “All or nothing,” it tells me. “I want you all for myself,” it purrs.

“You leave me,” my husband once said of my affairs with Story. Not literally, of course. I’m here. But I’m not. My body is here, but my mind is in bed with Story.

“MOM,” my son yells, because he’s had to say it four times before snapping me out of my reverie. “Mom, did you even hear me?”

No, I tell him. Because I’m not here. I’m not this mom you speak of. Not at this moment. I’m a character. In her skin. Or his. I’m seeing through other eyes. I’m reacting to other stimuli. “I’m sorry,” I tell him. “I was in my story.”

IN. As if I’m in another dimension. Inside. Part of.

Not merely treading water, or my senses would still be open to receive. Vulnerable to distraction. No. I’m under the water. Submerged. Baptized. Sound and light muted. Buffered. Protected. Shrouded from anything other than Story.

Like a siren, Story calls for me from its watery depths, luring me, pleading. My characters grow impatient. Pacing, checking their watches. “What’s taking you so long?” they say in unison, their features rippling just under the water’s surface. “Come back to us.”

“I’m coming,” I assure them, kicking the water with my toes, leaning ever so slightly over the edge of the dock, but even as the words come out of my mouth, butterflies swirl in my stomach. The thought of giving myself over so completely is both tantalizing and earth-shaking. Tempting and timorous. Irresistible and…..

Irresistible.

Irresistible. 

To be incapable of resisting. How totally and tragically accurate.

With a quick glance back at my life, at my family, at my friends, at my house, at my pets…my eyes say it all: Forgive me. I’m sorry. Be patient with me.

And then I slide into the water. Down. Further. Into the waiting arms of Story.

Immersed.

 

Pass The Effins, Please.

Abundance

Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion for ushering in the holiday season; it’s a time for stories, projects, cooking and sharing. That’s exactly what this post is about. I’ve linked up with 5 other bloggers, each sharing a piece of what the season has to offer. We have humor, thought, family projects and food.

I hope you’ll click on all the links below to see what we’ve put together for you:

Home on Deranged has a family post about the first and last Thanksgiving spent with mom.
Kiss My List is sharing a simple but meaningful family craft project that does double duty as Thanksgiving decor.
The Rowdy Baker  has posted a recipe for an Iced Pumpkin Roll with Butterscotch Cream Filling.
PinkWhen  shares a project you can display for Thanksgiving dinner and guests.
Baking In A Tornado will share a recipe for that leftover turkey.

Me? Well, I have a humorous story (surprised?) about what happens when someone is pushed just one step too far.

mashed-potatoes-23783286

Living several hours away from the majority of my extended family, often the only time I see them is on the holidays. So it’s odd that when I think of Thanksgiving, my first thought isn’t so much warm/fuzzy family nostalgia, or the amazing food, but more like when you reminisce episodes of your favorite comedy series, because the laughter is what I remember and what I look forward to most. As I’ve posted about them in the past, they are a lively crew with, shall we say, eclectic personalities.

There are too many stories to recount in just one post…like the time my one cousin walked into the glass patio door holding a full plate of food…or how Aunt Jane will inevitably show up behind you with a vegetable hanging out of her nose….or how my brother, who’s notoriously either late or a no-show for every event, will make my mother a nervous wreck until the very last minute, but then stroll in, sometimes even mid-meal, and my mom will be so happy he showed she’ll practically throw a parade for him – and I’m all, hey, where’s my frickin’ confetti? I drove 5 hours to get here with two kids and I was on time….ahem, I digress…

But there is one story that stands out above ’em all and continues to sort of define the holidays with our crew. The story of how mashed potatoes became known as the “effins”.

Approximately fifteen years ago, “the hens” – as I refer to the ladies who plan everything – were divvying up cooking duties, making lists, and getting organized for the upcoming holiday. I’m constantly blown away with the amount of preparation a Thanksgiving meal requires. Thankfully, I’m still given jobs like: bring wine and canned cranberries. Sometimes it pays to suck in the kitchen.

Anyway, as usual, Aunt Anne (of Superhero Otter fame) was given the job of making mashed potatoes, because, well, that’s her thing. She rocks mashed potatoes. What nobody realized was, she didn’t really plan on it being her thing. In fact, she aspired to contribute casseroles and desserts, yet was always assigned mashed potatoes. That particular year, she’d had enough and protested. After a few go ’rounds between the four sisters, where they continued to insist she make them because she did it best, this happened:

Aunt Anne: Fine! I’ll make the fucking mashed potatoes!

Initial stunned silence was quickly replaced with hysterical laughter. Although her outburst didn’t result in alternate meal assignments, it did birth a new family joke: mashed potatoes have never been referred to as such again. Instead, they became the f#*%ing mashed potatoes. Of course, to negate the necessity of repeating the F-word, they altered it to “effing mashed potatoes”…and now simply, the effins. For years since, Aunt Anne has received antique potato mashers for Christmas, lest she forget her special kitchen calling. I’m sure she burns treasures every one of them.

See you in a few weeks, my crazy-wonderful tribe. Aunt Anne, make plenty of effins. I’ll be having two helpings, as usual, because you know yours are the best.

tday