A Time to Dream

Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash

How I long for a community of writers.

How I long for a community of writers and a desk to sit at where I can be comfortable and write or type my heart out.

How I long for aa community of writers, a desk where I can sit and be comfortable at which to write, a perpetual vase of flowers and a good novel, hours to work each day and a publishing deal. I am daring to dream and fearful to dream all the same. I made that first terrible step towards reality today in telling my husband my dream and my plans and how many years I spent squashing my dream.

I am daring to dream and fearful to dream all the same. I made that first awful step towards reality two weeks ago by telling my husband my dream and my plans and how many years I spent squashing my dream.

The story of my writing is simple. In 5th grade, Sarah wrote a poem and read it for the class. I wanted the attention she got so I wrote a poem as well. I wrote poems about horses because I loved horses. I read them for the class. I received the attention I sought.

In 6th grade, I stopped my make believe games and began my make believe stories. I wrote all the time throughout middle school, continuing the poem but living in the stories. There was the adolescent depression which came through both prose and poetry.

In 8th grade, I fell in love with the Lord. With my love of the Lord came my scruples. In my immaturity, I feared writing was a gift the Lord would take away from me. I would only have it for a little while. Any story could by my last. My poems were spiritual. My writing was complex, for me, revealing more about myself than I would have thought at that young age.

In high school, every piece I wrote way daydream fodder for publishing. Every piece was formatted, title centered, chapters separated, all ready to be read by the world. In a scrupulous effort to crush my pride, I told myself it was folly, foolishness, that I ought to hide away the words and people I loved so much. I ended high school with short novel stalled with a stuck character, my fourth novel of substance.

During my year of service with the National Evangelization Team, I seemed to stumble upon my last great work (it felt). It was my soul on paper and I wrote furiously, the pen leading the thought in the chapel. I completed this novella in the year following, wrote two more excerpts and seemed to put the pen away. The character of the last book found her way through sisterhood, a lesson I could not have learned without my time on NET.

I began college as an English major in college. I disliked the politics of the group and the teachers. The only class I enjoyed, I seemed to derive little benefit from the professor. It was an exercise of what I already knew. I switched to a major in psychology. I felt at home there.

Then graduate school began.

As always, I loved to write and sought to master the art of writing for whatever call I must. Yet graduate school lacked an emphasis on mentoring. My writing stalled, limited to my joy of writing psychological evaluations. Even these were joyful.

I entered into the blogosphere for a forgotten motivation. It awoke my joy in writing and returned me to the bike riding they say it’s difficult to forget. In order to gain free advertising for my new life coaching business, I started a weekly column, free of charge, in the local newspaper. I found my way to a local magazine and received compensation. I was happy but thought little of it.

I found my plans in the career of psychology stalled for many reasons. I had written a great deal of late, for the blog and for myself, to process my grief. At once, when it seemed one door closed, I knew the path for me was the path toward writing, as a freelance writer, which I could already call myself because of my previous publications.

But would I sound like every English professor I had during those two semesters in college who were all “writing a book”? “I’ve written a book,” I said to myself, “there’s nothing to that. It is whether or not someone thinks it’s worth publishing.” Now I find myself desirous to say the words, I am writing a book, but I am frightened.

I am frightened to be prideful. To think too highly of myself and my work. Lots of people have a blog. I am not saying too much at saying that. By the book is the dream.

I am frightened to pursue the dream. Scared of being not enough, or scared to think I am enough and to find I am wrong.

Scared to admit it to anyone. Nearly in tears even to say it to my husband.

But I have something to say. I have a story to share. When I think of that, I think I can share it, and a 600-word blog post or a 1000 word feature is not enough space in which to say it.

So I will begin. Quietly, anonymously, with the support of my husband to work a little each day or each week, scared to demand time for myself for this pipe dream, which again, if I face only my heart, it simply a story I want to tell…and nothing more. Let’s be a more honest that that, the intention is to share it with others.

I will dream of something coming from it. It cannot be helped. I would not write without the intention of something coming from it.

It will be time to write. Time to plan and time to write. And when I have finished each day…time to dream.

Photo by Oliver Thomas Klein on Unsplash

A Wandering Professional

I arrived home from the funeral to find an email inviting me to take online courses through my alma mater to complete the licensing requirements to become a therapist. Through investigation, I made contact with someone from the Board of Behavioral Sciences who confirmed what I had not expected.

The moment when I read in her email, “your degree would not be eligible” I felt the relief of one question answered. I would not be licensed in California. It would not make sense for me to obtain another master’s degree. I could not commit to a doctoral program. This was it. This is my life. What does that mean?

What can I do, I asked myself. I’m sitting in this hospital room with my son in the bed thinking that the period of frequently, long and dangerous hospitalizations is not over. I thought it might be over, otherwise, I would not have taken these steps to finally make something of my degree.

My degree program changed my life. It changed my husband’s life. It formed our marriage in beautiful and inexplicable ways because it altered how we relate to each other. My degree formed my parenting style and helped me navigate the throes of coping with grief and helping my children express their grief at the death of their baby sister, who was born without a brain. Yes, I know intellectually my degree was not worthless, but I never wanted to be one of the many with a personally enriching degree and a mountain of debt I’ll never be able to pay.

I continue to probe these thoughts and try to understand. What can I do? I can write. And the moments come to me that I have spent writing each morning in that hospital room while my child still sleeps. The moments were enlightening, relieving, and, in truth, fun. So my heart fills with light and joy as I describe this as the direction I’ll throw my energy.

For close to two years I have been a columnist for our local newspaper. This decision meant looking for new publications, sending out samples and pitches, reworking my resume. I felt the grace of not fearing rejection. I’ve learned enough through past publishing that sometimes the piece just is not right. I can learn. I can write something different. The key is finding places to submit.

This morning, I am very excited to share with you the first fruit of this new search. You can find my letter, here, at The Catholic Woman. I hope you enjoy it!