Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Writing Routine

When I first started writing, I set up a really nice routine: first I'd read for a chapter or two of a book outside my genre, then I'd read a chapter from a writing book of some sort for inspiration followed by a writing exercise and then I'd start on my project. After I finished on my project, I'd re-read the writing book to ensure that I'd incorporated some piece of advice.

I wrote so much and I really loved my process. Then we adopted a teenager and, oh well, there went that routine.

My head swarms with ideas: I "write" scenes as I fall asleep at night, when I'm driving in the car,  doing mindless chores, watching boring TV shows with the family. However, I struggle to find the time and the inclination to get the words out of my head and onto paper.

My husband supports my writing habit, but my son interrupts me every time I sit down. I've taken to locking myself in the bedroom during the day and writing with the dogs crawling over me. However, this can only take place once in a blue moon.

I miss my old routine. I miss that feeling of accomplishment, of the sense of professionalism as I applied what I learned. I miss the Twitter chats that occurred when I used the hashtag #amwriting.

I miss the writing community.

When I started writing, I knew two people who'd meet up with me and we'd write together. I miss that sharing of our progress, that sense of camaraderie. Now, I'm the only one who continues to write while the other two gave up.

It's time to take back my life.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mothering the Troubled Adopted Teenager

A few weeks ago, Lovely Boy really screwed up and found himself sent home from a camp program he really wanted to attend. For the sake of his privacy, I won't share what he did and his transgression really doesn't add to this piece.

On the way home from picking him up, he went through the five stages of grief in the backseat of our car in about 90 minutes. He went from denial to anger to pain to finally acceptance. He started by jabbering about how much positivity he'd experience just before his screw up and chatted about the friend he'd made. His dad and I sat in the front seat, still reeling in shock over his camp actions and just couldn't bring ourselves to comment. This angered him and he tried to bite our heads off for the next few minutes before devolving into angry silence.

Then the tears began and still Dad and I sat in silence.

Finally, Lovely Boy began to reminisce about his life, first with humor and then finally speaking of his life from his perspective. What a nightmare he spoke of. A nightmare that lasted for 13 years of his life. A life of cycle: foster home placement, something happens (usually his actions), the foster home gives up on him, he's removed and re-placed. Fifteen times that happened. A vicious cycle of acceptance, error, rejection. I drove mindlessly as my son data-dumped his life in the backseat. For a good hour, I drove the longest way possible home so that we could - finally - fill in some of the blanks of my adopted son's life.

I do not need to tell educated readers that my Lovely Boy sits in an emotional mound of issues. We knew this when we took him in. We knew this when we stood before a judge and called him "son". We know this even now.

So, why am I writing in a Starbucks a good 30 minutes from home?

Well, evil parents that we are, we decided to enact consequences upon our errant teenager. Oh, what evil, evil parents Lovely Boy possesses. So wrong, so "over-the-top". Yes, we took away his cell phone, cut off access to YouTube, and (horrors!!!!) will not allow him to watch TV during his summer days. Yes, we evil parents want our son to get his butt of the couch and out into the real world. We're so vicious and cruel. The horror! The pain! The pain!

Get over it, Lovely Boy.

So, again, why am I writing in a Starbucks a good 30 minutes from home and with my cell phone turned off?

Guess who Lovely Boy wants to blame for the consequences for his camp actions? That would

Oh, yes. Last night Lovely Boy "lectured" his Dad: according to Lovely Boy, Dad never takes away my cell phone. Dad only bought me a cell phone because I made him. Dad never punishes me and I have deep ugly secrets, too, and I'm equally untrustworthy and....the rant went on for over a good 15 minutes before I decided I couldn't deal with the ugliness anymore and went to bed.

This morning, I got up, dressed comfy, packed my messenger bag and headed off. I'll spend a good portion of the day writing. Trying to not make the call to DCFS to come pick up the ungrateful brat.

Lovely Boy's new cycle: He messes up, he receives consequences, he says ugly things to me (not to his Dad, but to me), then after time passes, he says he's sorry and that he loves me.

The ugly things he says to me are, in reality, what he wants to say to his biological mother. He can't say them to her (she's part of the pain of his past), so he says them to me. I get that in an intellectual way, but I'm sitting in a friggin' Starbucks, listening to crappy music, drinking nasty-ass tea, and missing my husband. I need this time away from home in order to process and work through the ugliness of Lovely Boy's rants or I pass on that ugliness to Hubby which is equally unfair.

I do not in any way regret adopting Lovely Boy and he usually earns the nickname I gave him three years ago. I also emotionally understand that after each ugly rant, he's moved towards a better place in his emotions. However, I also emotionally understand that I sit in an emotional mound of issues until I can process through his ugly words and finally let them go.

I hope I let them go sooner vs. later: the chair in this Starbucks is friggin' hard and the music is especially crappy today.