Life, Musings, Reflections, Time, Writing

Fitting the Pieces Together

After my father’s sudden death four years ago, my mother spent nearly every waking moment working jigsaw puzzles. For more than a year, she sat sorting, moving, fitting piece after piece to create the final picture. Hour upon hour. Like a Buddhist monk creating a sand mandala. As soon as she fit the last piece in one puzzle, she tore it apart and reached for another.

Her life was in chaos. She created order out of a thousand one-inch pieces because she could not, was not ready to create a new order in her life. As her hands worked, her mind let go. As much as possible, she ignored the present, even listening to WWII music, the music of her youth, the music she danced and sang to before my father entered her life.

Gradually, her puzzle obsession waned. My father was gone. She was not. Life would go on.

The death of a loved one is surely the most severe disruption of our lives, but no matter what has knocked us off kilter it takes time and patience to get back on track. We have to sort out what went wrong and then, piece by piece, form a new picture.

Time and patience. I need them both.

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Update: After a couple comments, I see this post has caused some unintended concern. I am all right.

Advice, Tips, Writing

Perhaps I am a loaf of bread

“I am raining down in pieces. I am scattering like light.”

That quote is from Suzanne Vega’s song “Small Blue Thing” which I rediscovered while sorting my CDs. And it perfectly describes my current state of mind. I don’t seem to be able to concentrate on anything. The least thing distracts me. I am scattered in pieces.

bread This is a state of emptiness, I think. A time to refill, to soak in, to expand and solidify. This feeling reminds me of a familiar process. Usually, three times a week, I make bread. I mix the flours, water, salt, yeast, and oil and I knead it, let it rise, punch it down, let it rise again, form it into a loaf, let it rise once more, and then bake. When that loaf is eaten, I start the process over.

You can try to hurry the bread-making process—knead it less, skip a rising—but you won’t get the beautiful loaf you expect. Right now, I am scattered. I am in the ingredients stage. I need to be patient and let the “magic” happen.

Dream, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Writing

Writing in my sleep

I woke up this morning with the vague sense that I had never gone to sleep. I believe I wrote all night long. Every time I roused to roll over, I realized I was looking at words forming on my computer screen. I pulled up Word first thing this morning, just to make sure I hadn’t been Sleepwriting! Unfortunately, no. I’ll have to do it while awake. But “there’s the rub …”

I’ve long noticed that I write best in the early morning, which has always confounded me because I’m not really awake until at least three hours after I get out of bed. Finally, this morning I got an incredible insight—and please don’t anyone comment with a “DUH!” The reason I write better when I’m still groggy is because it’s only my LEFT brain that’s still asleep. My RIGHT brain is busy typing out all the lovely lines it composed during the night, without the left brain challenging every word.

Now I say, “Ah ha! No wonder many of my stories grow out of dreams.” The right brain never sleeps. That’s why we dream … why we have to dream. I know there are those who teach that we can control our dreams, direct them. I’ve tried for various reasons throughout the years, but so far, without success. I could certainly use that power now, though because I’ve hit a roadblock.

I’m supposed to be pulling together all the bits and pieces I’ve written for Part III of my current work, but this is Renee’s story and she’s balking. I don’t think she approves of my plans for the end of this novel. I hope it’s only a minor objection, but I don’t know to what yet. So I wait. Maybe tonight, while I dream, it will all become clear.*

*I wanted to quote Hamlet again—“To sleep, perchance to dream …” but I’m not suicidal. 🙂