My children are the best version of me, and that thought was reaffirmed on June 11 when my youngest son married his sweetheart. From rehearsal through day-after celebrations, I soaked in the beautiful people they have become.
Hearing Corey recite vows that he'd written, committing himself to Autumn with a depth of love not often seen from young men, I knew/know that he is one of the best versions of myself. I marvel at his loyalty and commitment to his wife and his work.
Wayne, my oldest, has given me a chance at legacy with the birth of his daughter, Eloise. But more than that, he gave me the opportunity to try on this thing called motherhood and has become the wise, beautiful, funny man that he is today.
We shared a house during the wedding weekend; his family, his sister, my husband, and me. I told him it had been a long time since we had been under the same roof. But in the man approaching 40, I found remnants of the boy and fell in love all over again with him.
My sons had the good fortune of a sister between them. On the one side, she was the kid sister, on the other, the partner-in-crime. The callouses on my knees can mostly be attributed to this child. For some reason, she needed more of me, or so I thought. She has proven and reminded me of the fact that everyone has their own path, and while I can pray for good outcomes, they come with the growth from within a person. Annie is a powerful woman who leads her life her way.
During the rehearsal, I heard one of them say, "We have each other's backs." I witnessed once more the power of those words. Through tough years of growing up, they developed a love for one another that spans from Washington, D.C. to Cincinnati, Ohio, to Scottsdale, Arizona. Their bond is deeper than I could ever hope for and reaffirms that they truly are the best version of me.
Getting Clear on Social Media
It's the bane of many existences, mine included. Yes, I'm on it nearly every day and often call it a necessary evil. But in reality, there are aspects of social media that attract me as well.
Dan Blank of WeGrowMedia, https://wegrowmedia.com/ faithfully blogs once a week. I've come to rely on his posts showing up in my email every Friday. Each post has some takeaway that I can apply to life.
He shared a system called clarity cards, recently. Through a process of brainstorming and elimination, 3x5 index cards serve to help you understand what is most important and how to share it with the world. It reminds me of the process I went through for my 2022 visioning board, a practice that I have adopted now.
What's in the Stacks
Since attending the Association of Writing Professionals conference earlier this year my reading stack has grown exponentially. Here's a little glimmer of what's on the desk.
Shortly after the conference, a package arrived and upon opening it, I could not for the life of me remember purchasing the book, nor which vendor sold it to me, but obviously, it happened at some point during the conference. Yet, it has proven to be a beautiful, speculative fiction set in Gila River Internment Camp in the 1940s.
Based on two characters that are derived from the author's ancestors, details of the human qualities of each individual emerge in ways we don't truly understand as the typical response regarding such history, one that lumps individuals into a collective. The Book of Kane and Margaret, by Kiik Araki-Kawaguchi from University of Alabama Press,http://www.uapress.ua.edu/product/Book-of-Kane-and-Margaret,7371.aspx, brings forth relationships, family, emotions, and more; breaking down barriers of racism that I thought I'd overcome. The book reminds me once again of the power writing has to bring new insights to the issues we face.
Writing can be tricky when books come along meant to help the process along but end up blowing your entire project out of the water. Not this one by Matt Bell. I'm 200 pages into the first draft of a historical fiction project and I have to say that this book, Refuse to be Done, https://www.mattbell.com/#/refuse-to-be-done/ has invigorated my writing life. The suggestions within this quick read offer so many clues to writing proficiently and rewriting and revising with a goal toward the provocation of my best writing.
I try to read from each genre that interests me as an ongoing practice, given that my clientele are writing in fiction and memoir, and craft books help with the spark.
Danielle Trussoni was on a panel at AWP and wrote a memoir called Falling Through the Earth that addresses an aspect of the Vietnam War from the vantage point of a daughter retracing her father's footsteps. You can read about it on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/76339.Falling_Through_the_Earth. Her writing style is beautiful and filled with clear detail about childhood, her journey to understand her father's role in the war and so much more. Well worth the read.
My Office is More Than Garden Boxes
I'm thinking about the recent Facebook and Instagram post that I put out about my beautiful garden boxes my husband built around the office. So many people were curious about what was inside. I find it interesting because in many ways I'm a very private person. I don't want people to see too much of what's going on inside of me and to reveal a personal place like my writing office reveals something more about me. Sometimes I want to hold that too close.
One comment on the thread was, "I love your storyteller," and I thought wow! What are they talking about? And then I realized it's a clay sculpture of a woman with children clamoring all over her. I was drawn to her when I visited Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. The woman who made her has lived atop the Mesa that was first populated by her people more than a thousand years ago.
I've been thinking about home and what that means and where is it? To the woman who sculpted my storyteller, it's something that was clearly defined for her long before her. I find that to be true for myself as well.
One of the things in my office is a large bound book that houses all of the local newspapers from the year and month that I was born. When the book is opened up, it smells of musty paper. The pages are turning quite brittle, but in its contents are pieces of the place I was born and yet I am a stranger to some of it as well because there are pieces of me left in Utah where my father's family homesteaded in 1851, as part of the great Mormon migration.
I often talk about being suspended between Cincinnati and Utah. That leads to an admission of feeling suspended between life and death as well and in that suspension, I am also searching for home. My office has so many pieces of me that could be called home, yet it reminds me that it's not really a place but a state of mind, of heart, of soul.
Last Thoughts and News
My latest article is posted at the Center for Conscious Living. Please enjoy it here, at your leisure: https://www.goconscious.com/news/grief-and-good-times-by-tina-neyer/
In other news, our pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi in October / November is full. If you were considering traveling with us, please contact me and we can add you to our waiting list.
Until the next time, be safe, be kind, and be well.