Writing Wings For You

Marie Lukasik Wallace ~ # I LIVE Poetry – I'm passionate about life and writing and all things creative and poetic!


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Texture Tuesdays

I’ve been traveling across America, and I could hardly wait to get home and post for Texture Tuesdays with Narami.   I look forward to it every week, even if I don’t post. There are so many great things we see if we just pay attention and look closer, and there are a plethora of finds out there from State to State.  Posting along the way proved to be difficult with sparse to little internet.  KOA camps  try to have internet, but alas, their setup doesn’t always work but for maybe email.

The cool part is I should have enough pictures (over 5,000) to find something to meet the challenges for many Tuesdays to come!

Enjoy some of these pictures of landscape from Wyoming…truly one of the prettiest parts of the country from sunsets to wide open country, even the clouds are curiously shaped.   Have you ever seen anything so fluffy?  It looks like it came from a whipped cream can.   Have fun!

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Why You MUST Write – A True Story

I implore you.  If you feel the calling, you MUST write.  There are too many people who depend on you to share the gift you’ve been entrusted with.   It’s vital.

Day before yesterday, I freaked about writing my dad’s story…What qualifies me to write it?  How do I finish it when my dad can’t talk?   Am I good enough?

There were so many questions and feelings of inadequacy.  I reached out to my amazing writer friend, Bridget. She knows how to give a voice to others because she writes people’s stories.  I knew she understood what it was like to reach a point of vagueness, or sheer terror, and feelings of inadequacy…and still she wrote on.  She reminded me that if I didn’t write his story, then my dad truly would not have a voice, especially now that he can’t talk at all.

Today, I went to the nursing home and read my dad another chapter of his story….a story I know that has deep meaning for my daddy.  I read it aloud to him, and he crumbled and cried.  Was I looking  to make him cry?  No, of course not.  But what this revealed to me was the power of hearing the voice of a vaulted man.  This is a man who never showed emotion of any kind.  This is a man who used alcohol to not feel pain…not feel emotion…in an era where men were to be invincible over any kind of vulnerability.  When he cried, he showed me that he had been real and honest with me. When he cried, I knew he had heard his own voice out loud.  When he cried, I knew I had captured the essence of what he was feeling.  He had entrusted me with that part of him that revealed to himself he was human.   I remember earlier this summer my dad had said, “You gave me my life back.”   He needed me to be his voice.  He desperately wanted to be a part of this world and to belong.

Lastly, when I left, I reminded him, “Daddy, you’ve done some great things in your life.  You have left a legacy for your grand children and great grand children.  I am proud of what you have accomplished.  I am proud to be your daughter because you are honest and kind and good.”  He mouthed the words thank you with some sounds, squeezed my hand tight fiercely and kissed me.

Yes, he made mistakes…some really bad mistakes in which he felt the deepest darkest shame. But the darkness had not defined him.  As a writer, I got to reveal that the shame was only part of the story…that alcohol was the antagonist for a short time.  But the real Ernest, the one who overcame the darkness had risen and become a victor in his own story.   His reveal had provided a path for others.

This, my writer friends, is your mission, giving a voice to those whom can not speak or do not know how to speak.  This is how we heal our world, one story at a time.


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The Writing Process – Blogging Tour #2

I’ve been tagged by:

Shawn at: http://shawnbird.com/  (a most lovely author of poetry and YA novels. Check her out!)

Shawn has invited me on a blogging tour to talk about my writing process.   I feel like my process is evolving as I have been learning, so I am answering the questions again and elaborating more.

I enjoy learning how others write so I can get clues and improve on my own writing process. I can’t wait to hear what works for you! 

 1.) What am I working on at the moment?

I am currently working on writing my dad’s biography.  He has always been a closed man.  I call him a “vaulted” man.  He has Alzheimer’s and is a recovered alcoholic.  Through various techniques, like Poetry Therapy and my education experience, I am learning more about my dad and developing a relationship with him.

In addition, I’m developing my poetry style.  Usually I jot down phrases of things I notice and put together throughout the day.  I have a small journal I carry sometimes…I also have that great app “Colornote” which allows me to jot a note any time, any place I have my sweet little phone. I love that app!  Sticky notes for my phone…awesome.

Reading the poetry of amazing poets here in the blogging world has inspired me to write more and add juiciness to my work.  I know I’m still clunky at times, and sometimes not as thorough following to the end of a thought, but I do feel I’m getting better.  What I’ve learned from others is that daily  practice,  multiple poems a day, a sprinkling in of quotes and essays, assist me greatly in working it out and keeps the muse going as well.

I’ve always loved writing and getting to know people, so the blogging world has been perfect for me. and keeps me writing.  I used to do a blog about ten years ago and really enjoyed the community.  I also aspire to do a variety of other book projects that are budding for me.

2.) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

My current writing shows a budding relationship between a daddy and daughter, after 50 years, putting aside all the years of heartache and hard roads and differences from living with an alcoholism to forge a new relationship, leading from a soberly life.  I’m also hoping to offer ways for others to assist their loved ones in living a more quality life if they have Alzheimer’s.

It began with curiosity and a series of questions from a book about a Father’s Legacy and has developed into something more through a willingness to explore and trust.  It’s not an easy road, but it has its rewards.  There is much tenacity involved.

3.) Why do I write what I do?

My dad’s biography began as an adventure to gather some family history and seeking to know him better as a person.  Throughout my life, my dad revealed very little of himself unless it had to deal with the weather or fishing or other activities as part of his outside world.  I found some questions in a book that daddy allowed me to ask which opened a door for us.  Through a lot of patience and tender loving care of my daddy’s feelings and life, he began to trust me enough to work on building his biography.  Through the encouragement of a dear friend, I went from a 3 page essay to taking on the writing of a biography. Writing this way is a challenge and an adventure, but I’m truly enjoying the journey!

Each day brings about new discoveries and delights, and I am finding out how we are alike.  (And many ways I’m glad we are not alike..hee hee)

It’s also been fun to discover ways to access my dad’s memories through poetry and music and patience at getting the uglies out first so he can concentrate on what is meaningful to him.

His words on my last trip were that “You gave me back my life, thank you.”  No, dad I thought to myself, I just listened.  Everyone just wants and needs to belong.

 4.) How does my writing process work?

Because my dad is a vaulted man and has Alzheimer’s, it’s a delicate thing to gather information and to write about his life, especially linearly.  Life stories don’t come to him that way.  Often times I will get the same stories over again, but with new details, so I have to really be on my toes. And there are some stories, I can’t seem to access yet.  So, I’ve developed a system of interviewing him daily and taking notes and saving them in folders by category so as to access them later.

I have a living, breathing outline for my book.  As I discover things about my dad that are important to him or make vital, meaningful connections about his life, I revise it.  So my book is always “evolving” in a really good way!

If you have questions, please fire away!

My main advice to a writer is just write!     Get up everyday and just do it.  :0).

I would love to know what you do.

Here are some people I am tagging.

Phoenixtearshealed

Amy Rose

 


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BE PRESENT and Cherish Every Moment

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Now,  I get to tell you my favorite moment while I was in Texas interviewing my daddy.

As a prelude to readers who may not know the story, my daddy was a very VAULTED man.  He never spoke any emotion.  When he chatted on the phone, most conversations were short and spoke of two things, the weather and tractors and sometimes, fishing.  But in the last two years, given time and nurturing, the vault has been slowly opening.

While I was in Texas, the vault opened and closed often.  I never knew what day, what hour or even what minute my dad would choose to share.  I made him my priority.  I had some time with siblings, but even they knew my purpose for this trip was to spend time with him.  One beautiful moment was when we got lost, Father’s Day Story.

THE BEST PART:

Twenty minutes before people came over for Father’s Day, my dad showed me a paper that had the AA Promise on it.  I had seen the paper on the counter, but hadn’t really delved into it.  It was brightly colored sunshine orange, and I briefly scanned it.  Following intuition, I knew that my dad was showing me this paper for a reason, so I turned the video camera on it and started reading the promises out loud.  I read through the entire document so I would have a recording of the paper in case he didn’t want me to have it.  Again following my intuition, I was urged to ask him specific questions.

I asked dad what it meant to him when it asked  “not to regret the past.”  My dad sat back in his chair and began to tell me how the past was a teacher.  Upon looking at my dad, he was relaxed and open and telling me straight up how he felt!  I wanted to turn the video camera on him, but this action usually caused him to act goofy and uncomfortable and he would make funny faces instead of talking, so I left the camera focused downward so I could at least tape record his words.

On to the next questions:  “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.”  Explain this section to me dad.  My dad was really engrossed in speaking now and began talking with his hands, which I don’t remember seeing him do…but I use my hands a lot when talking and celebrated that I knew where it came from!  Dad was settling in his chair, so I settled back in my chair and began lifting the camera focus up, but still not directly pointing it at dad.  He hadn’t noticed too much and was still engrossed in conversation.

Finally, I slouched down in my chair a little more and faced the camera full on and began asking him more questions.  Explain the fear you had of people dad?  What about your fear of economic security?

My dad didn’t notice the camera because he was fully engaged in answering the question.  He understood these questions like the back of his hand.  He had lived these questions and knew that his very life depended on him living these principles.

“We suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”  I watched my daddy’s faith and convictions unfold. He had followed his intuition too and knew these promises were vital to keep. And because he kept these promises, we could talk today. I had never heard these promises full on before, though I had attended Al-Anon meetings many times.  Someone had told me once that the AA principles weren’t really being used much any more, and many people questioned how much those principles actually helped people in the past.  I can tell you from what I’ve witnessed, and that’s more than with my dad, these principles saved some lives and some families, and I’m grateful for them.  We continued with our conversations, actually talking and breathing together.  So raw.  So real. So unpretentious.  Me and my daddy.

Then a car pulled in the driveway and the spell was broken.  But for these brief twenty minutes which will be a lifetime for me were very beautiful. And I remembered that it was because I was PRESENT in the moment and didn’t judge what happened or how it happened.   And I fondly remember, it was just me and my daddy.

The AA promises

 

 


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A Father’s Story in honor of Father’s Day

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What qualifies a person to write another man’s story?  For a life is not a life unless it is fully experienced and lived, and the writer can hardly capture the essence, let alone tell a full story.But the one who has done the living is a tired soul and his hands are feeble and in pain, and his heart has been in pieces and it’s difficult for him to sort out.  And so it is that the writer must be the one to document whatever he/she can. For once a life goes, so do their libraries of stories.Two years ago, I felt the calling to get to know my dad when I walked in a Hallmark store and found a book called, “My Father’s Legacy.”  In the book are “get to know you questions” about family history, not just dates, but celebrations and dreams and memories. There were so many questions I didn’t know the answer to for my family, even basic questions of family tree information. You see, I have always wanted to get to know dad, but his life and his feelings have always been vaulted with at least a hundred locks and a secret code.  As I examined the book, I realized there was so much more I didn’t know, and the questions seemed simple enough.  So I thought to myself, “Let’s give this a try.”I introduced the book to my dad and told him I’d like to document family history and some traditions for posterity. “Hey Dad, maybe I could ask you some questions?” Dad said, “I think that’d be all right.”   When I would visit, I would ask a few questions and then I’d randomly call him and ask him some more.  However, if the question became too personal, dad would quickly close up and withdraw and suddenly had to go “feed the critters” or eat, even if he just called me!The next step on our journey, my dad then began to accept that if the question was in the book, then it was legal, and I could ask it.  It would make me giggle because he would look in the book to check if the question really was there.   What this phase allowed me to do was gain his trust.  He would feed me tidbits to see what I would do with the information.   Because my intentions were honorable and how I handled his information was honorable, he began to trust me.  From there, we could go a little deeper. There were times I would call, and he’d have to get through the roughness of his day, (Alzheimer’s has people living in fear and worry), and then I would get tidbits of information.   Other days after finishing his stories he was just done and hung up.  It was disappointing, but I knew it was part of the journey. Through patience and diligence and ears bleeding getting through the toughness of dealing with someone who is closed and stubborn and sadly going through mind games of his own, we began to forge a new relationship.  He began to look forward to my calls and sometimes called me.  The darkness was revealed less and less and the pep in his spirit was back.This week I got to visit him in Texas.  I came prepared with a list of questions in various areas, because I never know what he will be open to answer.  Needless to say, I didn’t get a lot of the prepared questions answered, but fortunate for me, I was open to the experience and whatever he had to offer me.   Because of this, I was pleasantly surprised more than once.We went on an adventure to visit his hometown of Georgewest.  He got lost, and I didn’t catch it because I had my head down taking notes…But the best part? GETTING LOST WAS A BEAUTIFUL THING. Because we were in the car seven lovely hours without phones or computers or people clamoring for his attention, we just got to laugh and be ourselves. Sometimes we didn’t talk at all.  And we can’t forget the Dairy Queen!  We both enjoyed our most favorite treat, icecream just like little kids!Daddy woke up the next day ready to take on the world.  He even talked about feeling inspired to write.  He said he had a dream that I didn’t just “come to Texas,” that I was “sent to Texas” to inspire him. I got a brilliant idea to create a feast for Father’s day.  I used a sheet as a table cloth, because daddy didn’t one, and I picked flowers from his garden and put them in his favorite mason jars.  It takes very little.  And twenty minutes before people came over, daddy gave me the most real, the most honest that I have ever seen him.  He was unafraid, and gave me the advice of a lifetime in regards to alcoholism…but I will save that for another time because it’s a most wonderful story all by itself.The trip wasn’t all peaches and roses, but it was time I treasured and got to know my daddy better. The focus was on being present and noticing. I will never know how much longer I have with him, so I embrace what I have.  Smile your silly smile dad and enjoy.

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LOVE you!!!


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Calling all Writers: What is Your Burning Question?

I have the privilege to write my dad’s story. For most of my life, he has been vaulted, and is still very guarded and sometimes avoids questions on the phone. But this week,I get to visit him in person, and will be able to be face to face to ask him questions. 

If I only get to ask about five to maybe ten questions, what would be that burning question you would want to know about his life?

He may our may not answer, but sometimes when his curiosity is peaked, he will dig deeper, or mull it over a few days.
Keep in mind he has Alzheimer’s and lucid days come less and less. It may be that I just get to keep him company, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

One of my friends asked this question:

“When you are face to face with Jesus, what will you tell him is your most proud moment?”

I know you have the best questions so shoot!


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Blogging Tour of the Writing Process


I first met my blogging friend Rhonda Blackhurst on the A-Z tour and really enjoyed reading all of her challenges because she writes passionately and from the heart, and I like that.

Rhonda Blackhurst asked if I could join her on a blogging tour of the Writing Process. I enjoy learning how others write so I can get clues and improve on my own writing process. I can’t wait to hear what works for you! 

 

1.) What am I working on at the moment?

I am currently working on writing my dad’s biography.  He has always been a closed man.  I call him a “vaulted” man.  He has Alzheimer’s and is a recovered alcoholic.  Through various techniques, like Poetry Therapy and my education experience, I am learning more about my dad and developing a relationship with him.

 

Off on the side, I am writing poetry and essays and other fun tidbits to keep the writing muse going.  I’ve always loved writing and getting to know people, so the blogging world has been perfect for me.  I used to do a blog about ten years ago and really enjoyed the community.  I also aspire to do a variety of other book projects that are budding for me.

 

2.) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

 

My current writing shows a developing relationship between a daddy and daughter, putting aside all the years of heartache and hard roads and differences from living with an alcoholic to forge a new relationship, leading from a soberly life.  I’m also hoping to offer ways for others to assist their loved ones in living a more quality life if they have Alzheimer’s.

 

3.) Why do I write what I do?

 

My dad’s biography began as an adventure to gather some family history and seeking to know him better as a person.  Throughout my life, my dad revealed very little of himself unless it had to deal with the weather or fishing or other activities as part of his outside world.  I found some questions in a book that daddy allowed me to ask which opened a door for us.  Through a lot of patience and tender loving care of my daddy’s feelings and life, he began to trust me enough to work on building his biography.  Through the encouragement of a dear friend, I went from a 3 page essay to taking on the writing of a biography. Writing this way is truly a challenge and an adventure, but I’m truly enjoying the journey!

 

4.) How does my writing process work?

Because my dad is a vaulted man and has Alzheimer’s, it’s a delicate thing to gather information and to write about his life, especially linearly.  Life stories don’t come to him that way.  Often times I will get the same stories over again, but with new details, so I have to really be on my toes. And there are some stories, I can’t seem to access yet.  So, I’ve developed a system of interviewing him daily and taking notes and saving them in folders by category so as to access them later.

If you have questions, please fire away!

Here are some fellow bloggers who have agreed to be on the tour with me.  I know you will enjoy their work.  They are truly personable people  with a passion for writing.  Be sure to visit them when they post their answers on June 2nd!  We have a lot to learn from each other.  Enjoy your day my friends.