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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The Value of Run On & a Tribute to My Daddy

In my experience of writing, often the muse is elusive.   I do Poetry Therapy, which is healing through writing.  Our writing is on demand.   Talk about an elusive muse!   However, Natalie Goldberg, in “Writing Down the Bones” talks about the power of first thoughts and she encourages run-on sentences.  In my group work, it’s imperative to keep on, keep on writing, without critique, without the inner critic, getting to the first thoughts, the raw, ripe emotion of things.   In other words, it allows the writer to “get real.”

In honor of my dad, who has now left this earth for six months, a man, I was just getting to know, and didn’t get to say as much as I wanted to say, I decided to do a run-on.  (By the way, taking dictation for Alzheimer’s patients and asking them to just keep talking and not stopping works well too!)   Not only do I get first thoughts, but there is ‘Gold in them hills!”   I can always go back and underline what strikes me or my reader or has great emotion or provocative, intriguing language and rewrite from there.  Nothing is in stone!

Here goes my vulnerability:

I want to tell you daddy….

  •  That I started a garden with all your favorites:  tomatoes and cucumbers and green beans.  I have sunflowers too with big bulbous heads and radiant petals and some intense jalepeno peppers and onions with ruffious heads, so I can make your wonderful salsa.  You would love the spot…maximum sun spreading its goodness all over those plants.  It’s going to be a good crop daddy.
  • I want to tell you that last summer when we got lost and stopped at the Dairy Queen and slurped ice cream sundaes together to relieve ourselves of the hot sun and long car ride was one of my favorite memories.  I got to have you all to myself.  I don’t even ever remember a time I had you ALL to myself…and no one could call us and bother us…and no t.v. and no dogs or anything but you and me.   And I want to tell you that the other day I went to Dairy Queen just to spend time with your memory…it was most lovely.
  • And I want to tell you that I miss you terribly and that I want to call you all the time and tell you things…but I can’t…they say…just talk to his spirit…he can hear you…but it’s not the same…Joe preserved many of my tapes with you…that was nice…I can hear your voice now and again…and I want to say I’m so frustrated sometimes that our time was so short…we were just getting to  know each other and have great conversations…and now…well…you know…

This wasn’t great writing, but there are jewels in there and places I can write from that I want to explore or know more about.  The beautiful part of this journey is that I can keep practicing writing…I can keep working on my dad’s book..  This is also great for if you only have a few minutes.   I believe in the book “The Artist’s Way” Julia Cameron has writers do “morning pages” which is much the same thing.  And by the way, the TRIPLE ADDED BONUS is that it’s therapeutic too…no longer running around in my head.

Happy writing to you.  And may the power of run-ons forever be yours!

Marie


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The Mirror Decides to Speak

Many years ago, while going assisting a friend of getting out of a toxic relationship, I was inspired to write a poem.  You see, when a woman is abused, physically, sexually or emotionally, there are scars that won’t heal, like the ones that tell you that you are less than worthy, and no matter who else talks to her of her beauty, even people who know her inside and out, she won’t believe it.  She believes she has brought this disgrace and shame upon herself and that she deserves the treatment. Someday, I want to be that mirror that reminds those women of their beauty and reflect true images.  Upon reading this to a friend, he remind me that this could hold true for anyone. *

 

Woman in the Mirror

Brushing her grizzled hair

She gapes emotionless in the mirror

Battered, bruised

Tattered, confused

*

A spy could not detect

What she witnesses…

The shattering On the inside

 

The image looks fuzzy

So she asks him

What do you see?

 

His reply:

“A dandelion

Lawn cluttering pest

grass choker

worthless”

 

Inside she crumbles

believes he is right

puts her brush away

and cries her self to sleep.

_ _ _ _ _

“But please, please Ask me,”

the mirror begs.

“But don’t just ask me…

Believe me…”

 

For I have known you best

I have appraised

your heart  and soul

since you were a little girl

 

I have no intentions

Nor desire

to distort you Or lie to you

Only to reflect what I see.

 

You…you my dearest…  

 

You are a lily, A day lily

With its radiant face to the sun

You, who blossom With the slightest ray

You who invite with Arms flung open wide

 

To allow the drink of your nectar

You, who provide the Bees

with the sweetest Of nutrients

for their honey

 

Look… look closely

Your lines are not Prickly needles

Look even closer,

The lines, Your lines

Softly curve and flow

 

Welcoming.

 

Look again

You are unwrapped

You invite

You inspire a second look

 

In this breathless moment…

You are cherished

You are valued

You are amazingly beautiful. 

 

  lily

  Day Lily with arms flung wide open.


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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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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.


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The Messenger

red tulips

For all you out there who are God’s messengers.  Keep fighting the good fight.

 

The Messenger

Look out across

the massive field of

red bulbous tulips,

the same two foot tall structures

row after row.

 

And you,

lone tulip,

head held

one blossom

higher than

the others.

 

You,

face tilted

heavenward,

soaking in

God’s secret messages,

and piping them

to the earth.

 

You,

His messenger,

Remember this

When the sun

beats upon

your tiny shoulders

and you grow

weary of

it’s weight,

may you

find

the strength

to last

a little longer,

for the world needs your healing power.

@writingwingsforyou

Writing Can be a Rough Road

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Writing Can be a Rough Road

Don’t you wish there were a warning sign like this to point out a “Rough Road” in life?” Not only is there a sign, but a pink flag waving in the wind!

My daughter pointed this sign out to me on our way to school one day. It made us giggle because we were going through some tough times. Lately, the writing road has been a tough one for me….mostly time because my day job, teaching is really busy now. But honestly, the toughest part is working on my dad’s story. Dad is locked up tight inside again.

Alzheimer’s is a nasty beast to the patient and to the families. It is confusing to know what to say and what not to say because they are so caught up in fear and paranoia that often we don’t know what to say. I can’t even hardly talk about what he’s going through on this post for fear that it will get back to him and somehow hurt him. And I’m not trying to hurt anyone. I’m just working for understanding, and writing it to you gets it out of me.

You see, what Alzheimer patients are going through is very very real to them. As my dad’s story unfolds, I realize more and more where his fears come from. He is afraid of people attacking him because he was jumped daily on his way to and from school. He feared for his life often because he knew the guys who jumped him carried knives, and he didn’t know when they would pull one on him.

Rush forward to the present, dad feels this same fear of people wanting to harm him and fearing for his life. Like I said, it’s REAL to HIM. His reasoning skills are waning, so I can’t reason with him about what is real. The most I can do is find ways to comfort him and refocus his energy on positive things. And sometimes I just listen because he needs a way to get the ugly out of him.

I won’t give you details because it will feel like airing dirty laundry. It’s not like that. It’s just that I want you to know there are others out there who understand what you are going through and maybe we can talk strategies together.

Sometimes poetry works with dad because he had such a love for words. And words can be healing. We’ve even written some poetry. For a little while oils like peppermint and orange worked, until he was afraid that the oils were something that would harm instead of help him. Everyone says to use music, but he doesn’t like it and doesn’t have a player. I know through interviews there was music he liked fondly. I’m hoping this summer to bring a CD player with me to visit him with some of those songs to try this out.

The good news is that these episodes go in cycles with some really bad days and then clear days just pop in. I must always be ready because I never know if “today will be the day.”

But I do know this, I never know how much time I will have with him, so I cherish each moment and every morsel of him that is revealed, the good, the bad and the ugly…because he’s my dad…he’s a part of me, and his history is part of me, and I want his grandchildren and great grandchildren to know this man better than the “vaulted man” I knew most of my life. I want to get as many locks off as I can.

Nemaste dear friends. ~Marie


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To Do a Writing Retreat or Not? That is the question!

writing rereatretreat lodge

retreat timber mooseWriting retreats are an investment. You are betting your hard earned money that the retreat you are embarking on has the information you need to grow beyond what you expect. You hope that you will gain some writing skills, network with people, and learn some things about the publishing industry. From speaking with others, I KNOW that this isn’t always the case.

I’ve been on 3 writing retreats through Inspired Legacy, with best selling author,
Bridget Cook, and I can tell you that though it seems like it would be the same retreat for me, I learn exponentially each time.  Bridget is a soulful, masterful coach who is constantly growing and learning her craft and the latest and greatest in the publishing world so she can be the best for her clients.

Let me get more into more specifics of the retreat just in case you might be interested. Bridget brings phenomenal, engaging groups together and goes through the process of publishing a book, outlining steps of making your writing “juicy” as she calls it, assists you in your audience focus, exploring all publishing options that best suit you, as well as how the publishing process works. You also get to bring your book or idea of a book and have a one on one with Bridget where she gives her insightful feedback. What makes Bridget masterful is not only is she always learning her craft, but she is an avid reader and researcher. An avid reader knows what a reader wants, and an avid researcher knows the market well. You leave the retreat with so much information. I started my first retreat with a 3 page essay, and now I’m writing a book! (Blows my mind too.)

What I love the most, is you can extend the retreat by doing an intensive writing program with Bridget and go into the process deeper, making writing a COLLABORATIVE PROCESS. A dear friend of mine acknowledged this for me by saying “only you would take something like writing which is usually a solitary act and find a way to do it collaboratively”…obviously not only me, because there seem to be others craving the same thing. I believe that blogging is a lot like this collaborative process and we learn a lot from each other. This is just something a little bit more for those who might be ready for a new adventure.

I realize this is a plug for my friend, but I know there are others thinking of taking their writing to another level; and I know that Bridget is more than a writing coach, she’s an experienced author and a caring person who is great at individualizing the program for you. I went into the retreat with a 3 page essay about my dad, and now I’m not only writing his book, but have other great projects on a burner. DREAM BIG!!! (You’ll surprise yourself.)
Just some food for thought.

For those of you who read my blog and were hoping to hear more about my sweet dad, I should be getting back on track very soon. I’ve just had some busy weeks, and have another 3 busy weeks ahead until I can breathe. A teacherly life is crazy in May…and then you’ll really hear from me!

Have a blessed Sunday and happy writing!
Hope to give you an update later today.
Nemaste.
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