Welcome to Following the Whispers blog
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.
“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf
“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
My husband was born in Plainview, in the Texas Panhandle. There were seven siblings on his father's side and 20 first cousins resulting from their marriages. 18 are left and 16 of them came to Wimberley, Texas for this reunion, along with their offspring and their offspring's offspring. In all, five generations of Walkers gathered at the Homestead Cabins, the oldest 94, the youngest, five years old.
I was born in the Bronx, New York. I'm culturally Jewish. One of my husband's cousins put together a videotape featuring their grandmother, whom everyone called Nanny. She lived to be 100 years old. The interviews occurred when she was 94. All 70 of us were gathered in the meeting room, listening to Nanny talk about her daddy. Seems he'd been taken prisoner in New York. At first I thought she was talking about WWII, but soon realized she meant the Civil War. I was the only Yankee in the room and my first thought was, Nanny would have hated me.
Being the only anything (Jew, Yankee, girl, gay person, Black person, whatever) is hard. It's what makes us feel like outsiders. But think about it, aren't we all outsiders for one reason or another? Even within family units, there are Republicans, Democrats, people who root for the White Sox or the Yankees, those who like the 103degree temperature in Austin, and those who can't breathe there.
It was a lovely event, but it is equally lovely to be home, back in my routine. At least for the next two days, until we leave for folkdance camp on Wednesday. Till tomorrow,
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Just got home from the family reunion in Wimberley, Texas. It was wonderful and I will write about it tomorrow. Right now I am exhausted and need to unpack and get some laundry going to get ready for folkdance camp.
Just quick note. Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett interviewed me on Wednesday and will post the interview on their womensmemoirs website Monday, 7/27. It was great fun talking with them about the process I went through to write and publish "Following the Whispers." Hope you'll take a moment to check it out. More later,
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I will be on vacation from Wednesday, 7/22 to Sunday, 7/26, so there will be no blog posts during that time. I will miss visiting you, but please check back with me on Monday, 7/27.
Until then, be well.
It no longer matters who was right or who was wrong. What matters is me being able to be the loving, kind person I think I am most of the time and trying to figure out what happened that made me behave in ways I'm not proud of.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Three days after we return from the reunion, we leave for our annual folkdance camp in Socorro, New Mexico. Folkdancing is hundreds of years old. We do the cultural dances from around the world--Hungarian, Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Israeli, Swedish, etc. It is where Gary and I met. There are folkdance communities in most cities and ours is a very special one.
At the camp, we bring two teachers from different countries to teach. This year it will be Israeli and Romanian. There are two workshops in the morning, and two in the afternoon. Then a dance party from 8 to 11 pm. We stay in college dorms on the NM Tech campus and eat in the cafeteria. After the parties, some of us gather in the lounge, bring out the guitars, and sing till 1 or 2 in the morning. At home, I'm in bed by 10 pm, but at camp, I want to grab every minute of joy with my wonderful friends.
Blogger is not publishing pre-written posts correctly, so my posts may be sporadic during the next two weeks, but I'll try to keep up. I'm writing this on Sunday, but posting it for Monday.
Blessings, dear blog friends,
Friday, July 17, 2009
In a previous blog, I said I was beginning three new projects, but alas, I find I truly only have energy for one at a time. This worries me, because I am 60. I was such a late-comer to writing. But I want to do the best I can on each piece and to do that, each one must get my full attention. So there it is. My mother used to tell me my eyes were bigger than my stomach when I couldn't finish everything on my plate. Not sure why that came to mind, but it seems appropos.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
The Humane Award is to honor certain bloggers that I feel are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn't for them, my site would just be an ordinary blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a regular basis. I thank them and look forward to our growing friendships through the blog world.
I am now passing the Human award to:
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Please take a moment and check out my guest blog at Women's Memoirs. Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler are two dynamic women doing a tremendous amount to help women writers.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
As many of you know, I have been struggling to find balance--balance between writing, marketing, being a wife, a friend, a daughter-in-law, one who exercises, does physical therapy for her arm, etc. etc. I finally found a routine that works--if I get up at 6:30 am, I can do everything except writing by 8 or 8:30 am. That is if my husband doesn't lock me out of the house. This morning, he joined me for a few minutes as I walked in the park behind our house. He had to get to work, so he took the dog in with him. When I finished my walk, I went into our backyard and found the door locked.
Now here's my truth for the day. I have two selves--a higher self and a human self. My higher self knew he didn't do it on purpose. It was just force of habit. My human self wanted to strangle him. Really. I lost a precious hour. I had to ask a handyman to borrow his cell phone so I could call the husband at work. He had ridden his bike, so it took awhile for him to get to work, ride back home and let me in. I tried telling myself there was nothing I could do about it, so just relax. Did that work? Nope.
The funny thing about this whole episode is that while I was walking, the sliding door leading to our back door flashed into my mind locked, but I didn't pay attention. Does this mean I'm psychic? Or psycho? Anyway, that's why this blog is later than usual.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
My weekend began with a Friday night dinner and Mah jong game. What I love about mah jong is that it stimulates and challenges my 60-year-old brain. Plus, we laugh a lot, which releases endorphins and serotonin. Not bad!
Saturday morning I hung out at the New Mexico Book Coop's booth at the Lavendar Festival. Won't do that again. Quite depressing to see folks pick up other books to purchase, but not mine. I have decided these kinds of venues are not appropriate for memoir (especially one that is written by an unknown). Felt better after dancing Saturday night, though. Loving friend always help.
Sunday we had lunch with my mother-in-law and our other 89-year-old friend. It is so interesting to see the differences between the two of them. They are the same age, but Mom is quite fragile and needs a lot of help and Mary Alice is still driving, cooking, shopping, cleaning, volunteering, and travelling. Is it genes? This is one of the things I'll explore in my new book on aging. The day ended with grocery shopping. Now I get to relax for the rest of Sunday. Going to curl up with a good novel.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Back inside, I proceeded to do my physical therapy exercises to rehab my shoulder. Loathesome activity, but must be done. Ate breakfast, then got to work. For two hours I did the internet stuff. Broke for singing practice. Ate lunch. Then spent the next four glorious hours working on a presentation I'll be giving at a metaphysical bookstore in September.
The talk is on tuning in to intuition...a practical approach and I'm pulling information from the hundreds of books lining my bookshelves, as well as my own story. The thing I love most about writing is having an idea I want to express and manipulating the words so that the person hearing them receives the message in a good way.
The only reason I stopped working is because my brain was fried from pouring through books for juicy excerpts that reflect my subject matter. I'd just finished for the day when my son called with a dilemma he wanted to brainstorm about. I had wonderful ideas right at my fingertips from the work I'd just completed.
What is it you love about the work you do, whether it's writing or something else?
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
The above quote comes from a book I am reading called, "The Shack," by Wm. Paul Young. It really resonated with me. Isn't it funny how something you've thought about many times and heard expressed in different ways, can suddenly hit home like a lightning bolt. I had this kind of paradigm shift at my recent writing retreat. My emotions are signals that I need to pay attention. Once I zoom in on the situation, I need to examine my perceptions about it. Only then can I assess whether my beliefs are accurate. What I believe may be based on false assumptions, lies I'm telling myself or that I've been told, or denial.
Truth has an unmistakable feel to it. It is unclouded; the energy feels clean. One can only come to truth after clearing the cobwebs of emotion away. I am learning more every day that a decision I made to end a friendship was the right one, even though I am still grieving. I did not pay attention to the signals my body, mind and spirit were sending me and damage was done to my psyche as a result.
It is astounding to me that, despite writing a book about listening for the whispers, I still have times when I don't pay attention. Luckily, those times are getting shorter and shorter.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Today, however, seeds planted several months ago bore some fruit. A website posted a guest blog I wrote: http://healmyptsd.com/2009/07/survivors-speak-the-importance-of-paying-attention.html. Then I received an email from the Catharsis Foundation in Calgary, asking permission to list "Following the Whispers" as a resource for their website visitors, who are survivors of childhood abuse.
Slowly but surely, I am getting the hang of all this new technology. It feels wonderful to know that the pain I endured growing up and the journey I took towards healing myself is somehow making a difference in peoples' lives today. Writing our life stories is so powerful.
Speaking of memoir, Alexis Grant is hosting a chat for writers on Twitter tomorrow night, July 8 at 8 pm EST, #memoirchat is the hashtag. Check it out.
Please check out this guest post. A perfect example of being patient. The first contact with this website must have been four months ago.
Monday, July 6, 2009
I'm getting so good at juggling, bunching errands, organizing myself (well, I was always a whiz at organizing), managing projects and time. I just have to figure out how to have enough energy. I'm 60, not 20 something anymore. I get tired quicker.
But oh, how exhilirating it is to be creating a life that includes so many things I love: writing, singing, dancing, time with hubby, time with family, and time with friends. Plus travel. Am I lucky or what?
That's all for now.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
I've missed writing so much. It is one of the major ways my soul gets fed. Since I've come back from the writing retreat, my intention has been to strike a balance between marketing "Following the Whispers," and new writing. It's finally happening.
Balancing is not easy when one has many priorities. I don't have a clue how those of you who are still raising children manage to do that and write. I have an aging parent, a husband, friends, a singing group, folkdancing, exercise, and physical therapy to fit into a week. Plus I don't work well when every minute of every day is scheduled. I'm learning that sometimes I have to give up something I really want to do in order to make room for something else that is taking priority in that particular moment. And that's okay. I'm also learning to say no. Did you know that "no" is a complete sentence?
Oh, I forgot blogging in the above list. And visiting other blogs, which I thoroughly enjoy. Maybe I have to start getting up earlier. We'll see.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
But this feels organic to me--finding topics that are found within my book and talking about them. I also did my first interview for the book on aging that is my WIP. It will be such an honor to talk with older folks about lessons learned on the way to old age. I am overflowing with joy for how my life is going in this moment.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
When my husband is home, the television is always on. During the day, while he is at work, the house is quiet, but the phone is not. The internet beckons and there are many demands on my time. The energy which surged through me at Twin Rocks is still there, but it is quieter. I know all I need do is make the time and space available, and The Muse will once more whisper guidance.
Only I can control how I use my time. Maybe I am being overly ambitious. But I don't want to let go of any of the writing projects, putting two on hold while I work on one. It remains to be seen whether this goal is attainable.
Tomorrow I begin interviews for the aging book and talk with a spiritual bookstore about doing a workshop as a marketing venue for "Following the Whispers." That's balance of marketing and writing. Hope my energy holds up.
By the way, blogger is not publishing pre-prepared posts. Bummer!