Pass it on!

May 2, 2021 § Leave a comment

On Sunday afternoons, often you will find me grief writing with Diane Zinna (www.dianezinna.com). These hour-long online workshops include about twenty minutes of writing time to a specific writing prompt or two and sharpen our thoughtful listening skills when a few attendees read their words. This is an all together inspiring time.

As a widow, I will always count our ‘if only’ wedding anniversaries and this week would have been our fifteenth. I always think ‘you were supposed to be here.’ These words can bring me to tears but then I remember how sick he was and that is why he couldn’t stay for longer. No amount of yearning for him to be here, be here for me, could make a difference.

Today Diane was encouraging us to make a list of happy, joyful memories that are so painful to recall for they remind us of how much we’ve lost and our changed lives. Assignment: a list, maybe just a word or two. In memory of our anniversary, remembering the good times we shared feels like a celebration, an honor to what was and it is indeed painful.

We often talked about happy memories and I promised him that I would remember for us, when he no longer knew his own name. It doesn’t matter how many good times we shared, it wasn’t enough. Saddened, I looked at our photograph album and see that these are all the photos that will ever be, no time for just one more selfie.

The shared laughter comes through my writing today about glorious happy memories. Once again, I am reminded that love lives in the small stuff. How joyful simple lives can be! This is the wisdom about relationships that I wish someone had told me before now. Pass it on.

Writing poetry

March 25, 2021 § 4 Comments

This is a poem that I wrote in Diane Zinna’s online Sunday Grief Writing workshop. It is only one hour long but it feels like five minutes. I don’t attend every week, but when I do, the exercises are so creative that I feel inspired down to my toes. This is my first poem ever. Diane showed us five poems in foreign languages including French, German and Portuguese. Our assignment was to select one, looking at the rhythm of the words, imagine their meanings and then write our own poem, matching the number of lines. Time to write: 15 minutes: ready, set, go! It’s an adventure!

My poem

Today I awoke at dawn, yearning to see you.

I see your face in my dreams. I know that you can’t stay for long,

we are together.

I will hold onto these memories forever.

I look into your blue eyes, you are looking at me.

I did not leave you on that day.

You will always be gazing into my brown eyes that yearn to see you.

In my dreams I ask you to please stay, I yearn to see you.

You tell me that you can’t stay for long.

You tell me to hold onto our love.

You tell me to feel your embrace and I see you.

Writing Workshop: Fiction

February 11, 2021 § 2 Comments

This is an exercise from Diane Zinna’s online Grief Writing Workshop. We watched a short video of a New Orleans funeral march. The exercise was to create a character and when he turns the corner, what will he see, what is he thinking about and do, action please – you have 15 minutes of time to think and create, go!

Who would you create? Here is my character called Irwin.

  • Gender Male
  • Age 28
  • Hair Color Brown
  • Eyes Brown
  • Education High School
  • Interests Unafraid, brash, willing to dig deeper and get his hands dirty, longs for love and connection, wants to do the right thing in the world (think Robert De Niro in “Taxi Driver”), not interested in accumulating material possessions
  • What is on their mind today? Finding love and maybe connection
  • What he is about to see? A New Orleans funeral march

Irwin decides to walk off the too many beers he just drank, listening to the blues music that he loves. It was hard to pull himself away but the band took a break and he wasn’t sure he could remain upright on the bar stool until they returned.  

The air was hot and stuffy outside, filled with leftover smells from po’ boys frying.  He was looking up the street to see if there were a lot of people just hanging.  Maybe he would find a friendly face and stop for a chat. He had no plans for the evening or the rest of his life. Twenty eight years was weighing heavily on his shoulders and he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was lost, lost to the future and not having one.

He turns the corner and hears the loud music first. He knows that is, a person has died and there will be a party tonight. He doesn’t feel like celebrating, he wants to watch the goings on, just the same as in his life – observing, not participating, not reaching out and always purring with feeling bored, a dim hum from deep within, not knowing what to do next.   Irwin looks around for someone smoking to get a light for a smoke. He searches and his eyes clasp onto the palest green kitty eyes of a young, blonde-haired dancer and puts his cigarette back in the pack in his pocket. Now he has a plan.

the painting speaks up

January 16, 2021 § Leave a comment

I am red, yellow and blue with many lines and tiny dots, in all colors.  I saw the artist painting slowly, with great care, keeping my colors bright and edges neat.  I can feel the sadness  she carries because it is taking a long time for me to appear completed.  I depend on her inspiration and try to pay attention as my colors swirl on the beautiful paper she has chosen for me.  I feel her search for another color to pull me together and turn on my yellow glow.  Now she blasts me with a whoosh of hot air to hurry up even though I am rushing while she paints to get dry.

I am not rebellious when she chooses blue paint for leaves.  Maybe this is the color of her grief, I try to help by keeping all of the vivid colors in their spaces.  I think that this is what she wants although in her searching, there is tentativeness and uncertainty. I want to soothe and comfort her, to reveal why I am here. 

Her husband would have loved me, early on, even before blue came to the painting and would have given her a soft kiss saying this is colorful. I see her crying, face wet with tears, searching for a kleenex. A bit of green and surely she’ll trust her creative instincts to feel satisfied knowing that I’m her best work of art, so far. So far, that’s what he’d say.

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