My mom and I spent the weekend in New York City together for Mother’s Day. Rain spewed down from the sky the entire car ride, aside from when we were in the Lincoln Tunnel. By the time we checked into our hotel it was pouring. That evening, clad with our umbrellas, we ventured out for dinner and a show. After the show we wandered through Times Square. Every time I go to New York City there is something different in the air. A different feel. A different time of year. A different purpose. A different objective. A different person(s). A different weather forecast, as was such with the rain.
Nothing motivates you to write a blog post quite like the receipt of an automatic renewal charge on your credit card to remind you that you are actually paying for your domain name and extra storage space on your blog for posting words, pictures, videos, and songs.
For this reason, and more importantly for my love of writing and creating, today I offer you simple words, a picture, a video, and a song to reward you for the time you spent with me.
A few readers (all two of you) recently asked me why I haven’t been writing on my blog. As Christmas approaches and 2016 winds down, I thought I’d take a minute to give a brief update on what’s-a-happen’ in my writerly life.
First off, lack of voice on my blog does not mean I haven’t been writing. Quite the contrary. I joined two writing groups in State College, and in November I went to a monthly meeting as part of another group. Exciting and flourishing times for my pen. I am concentrating primarily on writing creative nonfiction in the first-person. True stories are what bring us together, offer hope, and help us understand each other.
The refrigerator was empty.
Before that there was options for meals in the cabinets and freezer.
Before that there was also bread, deli meat, cheese, and the promise of a sandwich.
Before that there was also a tomato to slice.
Before that there was also apples and carrots sticks for the kids to snack on.
Before that there was also a carton of milk and eggs to cook with.
Before that there was also lettuce, cucumber, and a yellow pepper to make a salad.
Before that there was also pepperoni and a package of mozzarella cheese to make a pizza.
Before that there was also a pound of ground beef and whole wheat tortillas to make burritos.
Before that there was also blueberries and strawberries to eat on cereal.
Before that there was also V-8 and orange juice to drink.
Before that there was also yogurt to pack for lunch.
Before that there was also bagels and pita bread.
Before that there was also a pork tenderloin to cook for the family.
Before that there was kitchen filled with possibilities.
Before that He asked her when She was going to the store.
I tried to go to the library to write this morning, but dammit it doesn’t open until noon on Thursday’s. I should know this because, in the past, I’ve tried to go twice on Thursday mornings with my kids and ran into the same dumb luck.
So instead of getting free library parking downtown I parked in a public lot, which is probably more honest anyway. I was going to sneak out of the library, against policy, to get a bite to eat, move my body, and pick up a new game for my kids at the local toy story. I have a 20% off coupon. The item I want to buy costs $14.99. Saving $3 makes me happy. Plus it’ll pay for the $3 I had to pay to park downtown this morning. Ahhh life, it always seems to have a way of working itself out if you give it enough time.
List of Seven on Sunday is a weekly column that I write intended to entertain avid readers with short attention spans who like avoiding the real world at all cost on weekends. This column, written in a newspaper parody form, falls most closely into the genre of creative nonfiction. Derived from my own life, the content is loosely structured around sections in a traditional newspaper.
1. News —
Today is Tuesday. Not Sunday.
Given my track record on meeting my own deadline for this Sunday column, something is clearly not working. Seven on Sunday is going by the wayside for a while.
I am a hobby blogger who, alongside my real job as a stay at home mom, has experimented with all sorts of writing styles and content. When something does not work out, it is really no big deal. I make changes, take breaks, recalibrate, and dream up the next idea as I gain another layer of experience to, ultimately, help me advance in a writing career at a later date.
Last week, I shared an ALS story about my father-in-law, Frank’s, struggle with ALS, a disease with no cure, that ultimately led to his passing last month. The outpouring of views, shares, comments, calls, texts, cards, and donations that followed has been a bright spot during this sad time.
The ALS Association retweeted my story about Frank on Twitter, where it circulated within the ALS community. In memory of Frank, my husband and I set up a Community of Hope Fund. In the coming years, we will continue to support and grow this fund, designated for ALS research. Sincere thanks to those who donated – you will always be the ones that got our fund off the ground.
As August, the month designated for the ALS ice bucket challenge #EveryYearUntilACure, came to a close my husband and I watched a clip about round 2 and the importance of ALS awareness to Major League Baseball (MLB). All 30 MLB teams participated in the ice bucket challenge this year. You can watch the story and Pat Quinn, co-found of the challenge, discuss why they did it here.
I am eager to see what round 3 of the challenge brings next year. The road ahead for my family will be bumpy without Frank, but as the saying goes, Life is for the living. And let me tell you, Frank is absolutely one of those people who would want that for me and my family because he was the ultimate at living life to the fullest.
One of my favorite things about Frank was his ability to express himself through music. He played multiple instruments and sang, giving his full self to every performance with his oompah band. Moving forward, I intend to focus on my ability to write and to express my own self to the fullest the way he did.
The common thread between music and writing is that you have to possess a certain amount of talent and bravery to do either. When I think of Frank’s musical talent and bravery, it inspires me to lasso my talent and let go of some of my insecurities.
Writing is my form of self-expression – it sustains me and it is the craft I continually strive to develop here on Britta’s Banter. As my kids start pre-school next week, I will have a few free mornings per week. I’d like to devote some of that time to writing. To focus, to push myself, to take a few risks, and to give it my all this fall.
Ha. I rhymed.
Give it my all this fall.
And a new mantra is born, literally, in this moment as I am typing.
This weekend, the ever-popular List of Seven on Sunday will return on my blog. My excitement to resume writing this weekly post about seven happenings in my life from the week is mounting. List of Seven on Sunday posts are centered around thoughts, events, updates, and share-worthy bits of humor, all tied together by a weekly theme.
Thank you, thank you for your readership as my audience continues to grow. Although Frank is not here to read my stories, I am certain he is cheering me on.
A few pictures from the day after his funeral as we, the family, moved forward together and enjoyed a sunny day riding bicycles around some of the various lakes in the Lusatian Lake District of Germany, making new memories.
Without a doubt, Frank would have liked this. Especially the part when one of the pedals on my bike decided to fall off, causing a funny disruption. After much discussion, we rallied around a plan. My husband and knight-in-shining-armor drove his bike back to the house for a tool while everyone else walked their bikes with me until mine was up and running again. Thankfully, we hadn’t made it very far when the pedal decided to give out.
Later, my poor niece took a bad fall, but once again, we rallied around each other until she recovered. We finished our tour with a doctored pedal and knee, but with smiles and a sense of relief that, yes, life goes on.
The lake views were beautiful, the lunch-stop was yummy, the beer was good, and the people are irreplaceable.
Here’s to giving my all this fall for Frank.
You may also enjoy ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Deferral.