That’s what I called my journals throughout my younger years. My “bound shrink.” I scribbled with passion, if not always memorable prose. I poured out my heart and my thoughts, my faults and my foibles, my dreams and my deepest desires.
I’m certain if I opened those tomes and read them today, I would swoon with embarrassment. My good friend Melanie and I vowed once, many years ago, that whoever died first, the other would hightail it to their house and have one heck of a bonfire. We’re both still here. And the journals still sit upon my shelf like dear, old emotive and geeky friends.
It was just over three years, by a few months, that I began to write snowbirdredux. In the beginning I poured out my heart and my thoughts almost on a daily basis. It was my main fun in life. It “tickled” me to write with abandon. I had vowed, after all, to chronicle my musings, my fears and excitements, about the whole process of moving from California to Minnesota, and all that that entailed.
Everyday brought new concerns. How to leave the over 50 heirloom roses that I had planted and nourished and lovingly tended in my garden? The hammock under the pines? The lovely heavy smell of the ocean at the end of Morro Canyon? Who would feed and care for Button, the feral cat who pressed her nose against the window each day? Not to mention – how to justify leaving family behind? The children and the grandchildren.
There was so much to ponder.
Everyday I speculated about our new home. Would we fit in and feel part of the landscape and community? Would we master the art of manipulating ice and snow? Could we suffer through endless hot dishes and sliced meat on buns? Could mosquitoes ever become my “national bird?” Would the lakes and the prairies ever really feel like home?
I wrote and wrote. And readers came to know me. And commented if I neglected to report for a few days – “Are you all right?”
Then I joined a local writers group which, indeed, has become the highlight of each month, the inspiration and education of my literary life, not to mention – I love these guys! I have learned how to dissect my scribblings, edit and punctuate, cut out clichés, and above all – cut, cut, cut. And so much more. And now I write carefully, all the time analyzing the content for quality and publish-ability. And it has made me a much better writer I believe, but at the same time, I am now self-conscious and cautious before I share my thoughts.
To the extent that where snowbirdredux is concerned I have vowed and procrastinated and re-vowed again, to return to regular posts. To no avail. I even considered using what my husband calls my “whine” about all the volunteer jobs I have undertaken which overfill my days. And it is true that I am prone to practicing “Enthusiastic Hand Raise” whenever something needs to be done. “Oh, that would be fun.” “I can do that!” And before you know it I am running the Fergus Falls Farmers Market (now in two locations!), officer in Otter Tail County Master Gardeners (coffee chairman at Garden Day), directing the 1 Vegetable/ 1 Community Project (beets this year), conference committee for Lake Region Writers Network (that’s a major Uff DA!), programs for Underwood Unitarian Church, facilitator for Covenant Groups and – well, I’ll stop there before my whine raises in intensity to a shrill scream.
What happened, I begin to wonder, to the pleasure I had in simply sitting down at my desk and “riffing” without self-consciousness, the tale of my day? Yes, it’s true I have multiple volunteer tasks to fulfill. But also, I realize, my writing has been compromised at the same time it has been enhanced by my new found ability to critique. No longer do I sit, as I once did with my bound shrinks, pouring out my heart and enthusiasms.
I have taken on the habit of letting my husband do the first edit before sharing with the writers group and then, after a few rewrites, possibly proclaimed it good enough to post. Is it any wonder that my pages have been scarce and mainly non-existent?
Dear reader, if you want to comment and critique, I welcome your edits and suggestions and now pronounce you my extended writers group. I can use all the help I can get. I promise to post about passions and pitfalls, foibles and folly and as I would with my bound shrink, not fret about perfection or lack of.
Whoops. Did I just end a sentence with a preposition?
I love you guys. – Signed, Snowbirdredux