Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Foster Parenting While Writing OR Writing while Foster Parenting (You Decide)

This writing prompt courtesy of MRW:

18 months ago to this day, my husband and I took in two little foster girls. Very scared and very quiet,  we were their third foster home in a year.

At that time, I was writing about 3 times a week and editing about an hour or two. I felt very productive and thought I could see myself sending out serious queries at the end of summer. I signed up enthusiastically for the California Crime Writing Conference and managed to spend an hour or two a day getting all that ready.

Then these two little girls stood on our door step. Placed on an emergency order, Big Princess at 6 years behaved far too old and Little Princess at 4 came off much younger. Within 30 minutes of placement, Big Princess poo'd her pants and Little Princess cried off and on. We signed the papers to receive them and sent the social workers on their way.

The following days consisted of setting up showers for Big Princess who poo'd her pants out of anxiety, finding Little Princess day care, and driving Big Princess around to an amazing about of doctor's appointments.

Writing? Impossible. When I did find the time to write, I found myself endlessly interrupted by calls from social workers, setting up showers, and "Lee, Lee, Lee". So most of my writing of the time seemed almost schizo.

After the conference, I ditched my writing. I felt little satisfaction in doing so, but I'm a licensed Foster Parent and I agreed to taking them. After three weeks of taking them in, we learned that DCSF wanted them to stay permanently longer. We agreed.

18 months later, I'm finally sitting in front of my screen and hammering out words. No regrets over those 18 months of lost writing time or the lack of publishing, lack of query, lack of...everything creative.

We've gotten into a rhythm that allows me to write with them in the house. Big Princess, now poo-free thanks to anti-anxiety exercises, seems content to do crafts and can do her homework with little supervision. Little Princess, my budding drummer, can pound away happily while I write...and nope, it doesn't bug me.

The secret lies in routine, consistency, and setting the girls up for success. They know they need to think twice before interrupting Mommy's typing (if you're not bleeding or it out!). I try to only write when they're busy or during lunch time when Daddy's on duty.

All in all...I'm back in the office chair again and I'm ready to roll...but the Princesses still sit in first priority...and that's ok.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Having a Julie Andrews Moment.....

It's raining today. I love the rain and since we don't get much here in SoCal, the sound of rain makes today seem extra special. A perfect day to write about "my favorite things".

Each of my favorite things create happy remembrances when I hold them or re-experience them. That's what makes a favorite, isn't it?

I love See's chocolate Bordeaux's. I really don't love them exclusively, but when I see them in the fridge I go to my happy place. I don't love them for the taste: I love them because my husband thinks they're my most favorite and makes sure I always have a supply. I love that this is one thing that he does for me so consistently that I can put my hands on. It's physical evidence of his thoughtfulness and that gives me the happys.

I love the book An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa Alcott. The only copy I own belonged to my mother and I've never read any other copy. Dating from the 1930's, the book smells amazing and the crisp, brown pages have a feel that modern copies don't have. I make a point of re-reading the book every couple of years, but it's the copy itself the I love. My mom owned this book first and now I do...eventually I hope one of my foster daughters will love it, as well. When I read my copy, I can just imagine my mother curled up somewhere reading the same copy and that gives me such a strong sense of history.

At 14, if they'd had such a contest, I'd be a shoo-in for Awkward Teen Queen. However, that summer for two magical hours, I rode co-pilot for the guy who did the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. "Star Wars"  made a crappy summer pretty awesome as I plunked down $1.25 five times. I loved that film and I still get the chillies when I re-watch and don't get me going when about the shivers I feel on the rare occasion I get to experience it in a real theater. Yum.

Favorites aren't the best written, best directed or the yummiest tasting: favorites stem from the memories we attach to them. Memories of splashing in the rain, memories of indoor recess playing bingo or heads-up 7-up or eating lunch at your desk instead of the smelly cafeteria. We attach positive or happy memories to things, places, experiences...and that's why they're favorites.

Prompt Source: