A few years ago I heard a speaker talk about redwood trees. He mentioned how the redwoods, giants of the forest, had shallow roots. Surprising, considering that those Ent-like beasts of beauty can reach up to 375 feet. There is no taproot, but the roots can spread out 50-80 feet from the base of the tree. One of the things that makes the redwoods special is that they intertwine their roots systems. They lean and depend on one another in some ways. That is the only way that they can hold themselves together. That is how they support themselves – by helping to support others. Single redwoods simply don’t happen often because their roots can’t hold up the massive weight of the tree.
And this is how I feel about recovery and to a large extent, the blogging world. I started as a lone wolf, just trying to carve out thoughts on blank bark here and while it served a purpose at the time, I knew that reaching out and being a part of a greater community was where I would truly grow. And that I have done and continue to do. With everyone’s help and guidance and support and love, I continue to learn and grow.
So you can imagine how chuffed I was to be asked to be a part of this blog tour thingy (I’m technical in talk, as you can see) that’s going around these her parts. It’s not an award (I’m BPA and award-free here, and we haven’t had termites in ages), but an ongoing open project so to speak that gives bloggers a chance to share their writing process with others and in turn tag others to share as well.
I want to thank the lovely and talented Karen at Mended Musings for tapping me on the shoulder for this one. If you don’t know Karen or her work, please make your way on over there. Now. I’ll wait. Where once her fine work leaned more to the recovery side, she’s blown the doors open in the last year or so and has crafted beautiful, thought-provoking (and Freshly Pressed!) posts that allows her light to shine, on all sorts of topics. She’s as kind and unselfish a person as I have met out here. She’s a self-described Heart Teller, and always look forward to her work. Her latest is heartbreaking, harrowing and yet hopeful. And one of my new favourites from her – The Flashback.
Now to answer some questions.
What am I working on?
I don’t have a project, per se. I have a novel that I am supposed to be working on, but I have clearly decided that running is more important to me that the book right now. And that’s okay. I parked that book ages ago once the booze bug bit me and recently took a month long shot at it 9the book, not boozing), got some good work done on it, and then…nothing. Story of my life – binge efforts on everything and then move on to the next shiny thing!
So this blog is my main focus. I do write articles for my old treatment center’s newsletter, and I have been asked to do some other one-off writing things, some of it even paid, but the blog is where I butter my bread. In a non-culinary way, of course (the screen wouldn’t hold up to all that saturated fat). In fact, you can say this post is what I am working on right now. But by the time you read this, it will have been done, so does that mean I am still working on it? I just hurt my brain thinking about that. So next…
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
In terms of recovery blogs, it’s not too different from the others. I must say that I am fairly consistent in talking about how it was, what happened and what it’s like now. And I am always trying to hit recovery from where I’m at (whether I am at a healthy place or not), and try not to preach. I have to admit that I have painted myself in a bright green neon corner in terms of content . I rarely stray from recovery talk and yet I feel that I am pretty open to whatever comes.
I think that the blog does try to be inclusive, even though I come at things from a 12-step background. To me this is not about counting days or months, or talking about how I’m rebounding physically, or anything like that. If i started this bad boy up from Day 1, I would probably would have talked about all that stuff. Today, it’s about the journey within. It’s about connecting. It’s about getting plugged into the juice and living life in a way that never occurred to me before. About making contact with the Maker and sharing my missteps and blunders, my small victories and thoughts. It’s how I share. Using what works best for me – words.
Oh, and pictures. I put lots of silly, goofy pictures up around here.
Why do I write/create what I do?
There’s a pull in everyone to do something that seems to complete them. Whether it be a small thing or a thing that takes them to Jules Verne-type leagues, we have an inner compulsion to move towards much needed soul food. Writing for me is that nourishment. I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, nor can I carry a tune even if it had a handle on it. I can’t carve a turnip out of a turnip or do anything more crafty than glue sprinkle onto a piece of construction paper. But in terms of creative outlets, writing has always been my vehicle. Not that it comes flawlessly to me, but when I have my fingers on home row, I truly am home. I don’t feel bound or held under water. It’s like I have wings.
Now when I abandoned my writing (I used to write short fiction), it was like my spirit was anaesthetized – and it was, with spirits. My one form of confession and sanctity was cut off, and that pushed me further into the darkness. It wasn’t until many months after I got sober that I was able to feel that twitch again, that drawing near to the Creator. I was still gun shy about writing, so it was easier to segue into it by sharing my personal recovery thoughts. It wasn’t about entering writing contests or hoping to get published by a lit mag. It was about cracking open the vault and letting the stuff fly. About reconnecting with my authentic self.
This blog is a way to tell on myself, to challenge myself, to shine the mirror on myself and to show others that it’s not that scary. It serves me be of service because this is how I draw from the well of other people’s experiences and strength. I create because I can and touching that place is drawing on what has been given to us – that thing in us that we can share without fear of failing…ordained to be shown.
How does my writing/creating process work?
My process comes from the seed of something planted within that I just allow to germinate and come to some fruition. Sometimes the thoughts choke themselves out and it slips away. Other times a singular thought brings me to many until I get a fuzzy sort of picture of what I want to share. It’s funny, I find that precisely every four days, I get that itch to produce. Sometimes it might be a day early or late, but it seems that 96 hours is my threshold of holding back the dam.
I don’t plan my posts like some bloggers do. I don’t research when the “optimum” time to post is. I post when I post. I hit the blue publish button with hesitancy each time, unsure of what I am sending out, but I know that it’s meant to be, regardless of the final product.
I find that no matter how much I “write” in my head, the magic doesn’t happen until I sit back and have my digits on the keypad. Stuff flows out from corners unseen. That’s where I am at my calmest, and most frenetic. That’s where I touch the unconscious. And it touches me.
Editing? I wish! I need to edit my words. I was a ruthless editor when I wrote fiction, but for some reason I don’t edit much here. Not sure why. Just seems to be more stream of conscious at times, methinks. But I have been aware of keeping length of the posts down, and have stuck to under 2,000 words. Which is still a lot. So sue me.
Okay, enough about me. Here’s the folks you really need to be reading.
1) Kristen at Bye Bye Beer was one of the first people I followed when I was a newbie here on the scene. She wrote in a way that I could really identify with, both as an alcoholic and as a work-in-progress. She made me laugh and had a way with words. Still does. What I admire in Kristen’s writing is just how it flows and shows so much by saying so little. She writes in a way that I wished I could. If I wasn’t so enamoured by her style and personality, I would be jealous. I love her soulful, holistic and yet tactile approach to her life and her journey. Her works have matured into observations of her world and her place in it. This isn’t just about saying Adios Pilsner, but of showing the afterglow of a life lived well. One post that seems to have stuck with me:
2) Gina at Dawning on a New Day is very thoughtful and thorough in her writings. She comes from a place of being centered and of gratitude. I am attracted to the spirit behind her words and how she gently weaves through the nuances of her heart and places them right on the page. While she does speak of recovery, she often speaks of writing of family, of issues that speak to her. She is a “real” writer and I am so blessed to have crossed paths with her. A pleasure to read. One of my favourite pieces:
3) Allie at And Everything Afterwards is new to the recovery blogging scene, and after reading her for a bit, I started to notice that her writing seemed to shift into new and different territory. Always a good thing. I am impressed by her strong writing voice, her emotional temperament and her ability to craft a tale. I always look forward to her posts, and always seem to find another layer to her work after re-reading it. She speaks honestly, with grace, with humour, with poignancy. Always ringing true to her self. One of her finest:
Now stop lollygagging around here and start reading those posts!