There’s a reason this blog is called Beautiful. Ugly. Me. The last few months have been undeniably difficult, but here’s the thing. They’ve been beautiful, too…and I missed it.
I was flipping back through some of the photos from the last few weeks and am in awe of what I found. I’m overwhelmed by the fact that the inanimate lens of my iPhone picked up what I failed to see.
So I’m taking a moment to step back and remind myself, and hopefully you, that goodness is available for those with eyes to see. That if I’m patient, I’ll stop sabotaging myself and find what I’ve been looking for all along.
For Five Minute Friday, I usually write a short story. The character “magically” appear in my mind along with how they feel and what’s happening. Normally, I can see a scene—a rise in the action and the fall. (It’s a lovely byproduct of telling stories for YEARS…until someone catches you actually talking to yourself.)
But this week, the prompt speak has left me scrambling. It has, ironically, stripped me of words. Bits and pieces of thoughts & characters tumbled through my mind—images of my daughter speaking up for a fellow student, a gentle word from a friend, the struggle to tell the truth—but they’re void of the rise and fall.
I am, at my core, a storyteller. So it shouldn’t be surprising that I think we all have a story. We all have a family of origin. We all have some blend of disappointments and accomplishments, loves and hates, comforts and discomforts.
It explains why I still sometimes cringe away from someone moving a quick hand and love the smell of orange-spiced tea. It might explain why the sound of moving water comforts or frightens you. Why the smell of cherry pipe smoke makes you smile or spikes your heart rate.
For anyone new here or doesn’t follow me on Facebook, my daughter had surgery 2 weeks ago to rebuild the ACL in her knee. We went into surgery expecting her to be able to start walking without crutches 10 days post-surgery. That all went sideways and she came out with the additional diagnosis of 2 meniscus tears, a brace that made it difficult for her to get out of a chair unassisted, and the news she wouldn’t be able to start therapy until after the 2-week mark.
That all went sideways and she came out with the additional diagnosis of 2 meniscus tears, a brace that makes it difficult for her to get out of a chair unassisted, and the news she wouldn’t be able to start therapy until after the 2-week mark.
Well, my girl had her 2-week check-up…and more not-fun news. Because of the tears in her meniscus, she can’t start physical therapy next week or the week after…for another 4 weeks. Which means crutches more time on crutches.
To recap, she injured her knee 2 months ago and we have 4 more weeks before we can start working on getting back to normal. Six weeks. Including the time she spent waiting for surgery, that’s a total of 12 weeks on crutches. Twelve weeks.
I haven’t been writing much lately. My main goal really is to be more available to my kids, but I’ve also taken time to let my reading range wide and far. One of the things I’ve been studying up on is line edits. In case you didn’t know, I’m a developmental editor by trade and I rarely deal with details.
But that won’t do for my own books. So I’m searching and rewriting words like smile and hand and look.
It’s humbling to realize how much I missed because I’m too close to my project. And it made me realize how often I miss things in my daily life because I’m all up in it.
When I started this whole business of stepping back on my writing, I have to admit that I was not happy (and that might be an understatement). But with a little distance behind me, I’m starting to see good things.
I’ve seen places where I’ve missed life’s details and I need to search out the negative, annoying, repetitive weakness and rewrite it.
I can’t eliminate the weakness…they happen to be my strengths, too. But that doesn’t mean I get to leave the equivalent of a million references to “hand” in my life’s manuscript.
So I’m digging in, studying, and learning my habitual mistakes. And it’s humbling to admit that I’ve lived with them for so long. That like the book that’s been finished for a year, I’m still rife with elementary errors.
But the good news is I’ve discovered them and that’s the first step. If you need me, I’ll be over here making a few good edits.
This little curl of colored wood broke off my front door wreath when I took it down. I set it on the windowsill intending to throw it away. But I couldn’t help noticing how the deep red captured and focused light.
The frayed edges nearly glowing under the sun. This everyday bit of junk, under the light, became something sacred.
And so it is with life. It isn’t a question of how much time I spend doing sacred, special things, but how I practice the mundane, boring, daily grind—the “secular” if you will. Do I focus the light?