No Emotion Wasted

My writing teacher/mentor likes to say, "Go deeper."

I still struggle with what exactly that means and how do I do it?

She also talks about taking the emotion from a personal experience and applying it to a fictional situation for a character.

I've been trying to do some intentionally deep and painful journaling about what's in my heart. I know I have to write from the heart/gut/soul to draw a reader into the story. The problem is, I know my heart is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." I know the anger, judgmental attitudes, cynicism, and ugliness there. To let others see just how filthy it is in there is so hard. Maybe they won't like me if they know what I'm really thinking.

I've always been very self-aware. I do very little unconsciously or as a reflex. It makes me somewhat inhibited and I often don't respond quickly enough to tender or painful situations because I'm too busy thinking things through and by the time I come to the proper response, it's too late.

That's the con of being reserved and self-aware. The pro is that I rarely put my foot in my mouth. Not really a good sway, I'm thinking. So I'm trying to be more reflexive in what I say and to let my feelings more than my rational mind dictate what I say.

Some emotions I discovered during this journaling and self-examination have been interesting to dissect in the light.

My parents divorced when I was 5 or 6. I remember parents and grandparents being very concerned about how I was handling it all and Mom took me to see a child psychologist. At the time, I was pretty stoic about it and felt like I was okay. The counselor gave me a clean bill of mental health. But somewhere, sometime I began to not be quite okay with it. And the older I got, the less okay it became.

Somehow, I always thought the opposite should be true. As things get older, they get easier to deal with. Maybe that's true if you deal with it, instead of avoid it.

I've been processing and dealing with it all for forty-five years and it's still a journey. I bounce between feeling philosophical about it all (God's in control and He's good so it's all good in the long run) to feeling worthless (was I so unlovable that I wasn't worth putting up with an unhappy marriage? That their happiness was worth more than my well-being?)

The challenge is in finding the healthy middle ground. We live in a fallen and sinful world where fallen and sinful people make good and poor decisions.

That's the "deeper." Now to figure out how to use it.


Today I prayed for: Shelly Lazarus, Sarah, Heather, Amber.

Last movie: Ghost Town - loved it

Currently reading: Mistletoe and Murder by Carola Dunn


Little Lies

So wrong.

A few months ago I went to an afternoon matinee. Then I stayed and went to a second movie. I only paid for one.

When I left the second theatre, one of the employees said “Bye, have a good day.”

Guilt made me wonder if I knew I was there illegally.

I rationalized it.

I paid $8 for popcorn that probably cost them a quarter. I wasn’t taking up a seat that someone else had paid for.

I still felt guilty.

So yesterday, I went to the movies again. I saw two shows. Paid for them both. Overpaid for popcorn.

After I had paid for both matinees, I asked for help with my rewards card. They said they couldn’t do it, I’d have to call corporate.

Then I was irritated and wished I was getting another two for one. It served them right: Inconvenience me and I’ll get even.

So human. So wrong.

I’m glad I paid for both. I probably should skip the popcorn though. That’s robbery, pure and simple, and I voluntarily gave them my money.

No more.


Today I prayed for:

Benjamin Netanyahu, Liz, Paula, and Kathy.

Currently reading: Mockingbird, a portrait of Harper Lee by Charles Shields

Last movie: The Invention of Lying


Odd Profundities

I went to a movie yesterday and a line made me gasp. It wasn’t even in the movie I was there to see, it was in the trailer.

Whip It is Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut about Roller Derby girls. A character played by Ellen Page has just seen her first match and she tells the team they are her, “newest heroes.” One of the women looks at her and says, “Put on some skates and be your own hero.”

I felt like I’d taken punch to the gut.

Put on some skates. Or walk around the block. Write a story down. Take soup to a neighbor. Read a book to a child.

Whatever is that you value, that you admire, go do it.

Pretty simple, isn’t it. So why do we (meaning, I) sit and watch others do those things? Why don’t I?

I’m not too busy to watch television.

I’m not too busy cleaning house.

I have enough clothes to keep warm.

So, why don’t I?



Gotta go get some skates.