Tasty Tidbit #1: Life
At exactly 5:01pm on Friday, April 22, 2011, Jaylin Avery Faulkner decided to join us on the physical plane. By my calculations she was one minute late, but that was just because I had a bet on when she would be born. I felt honored to be at the hospital when she was born. In a twist of irony, I had been on post earlier that day talking to my doctor about different methods (i.e. pills and shots) to prevent such a miracle from occurring in my life, at least in the immediate future. Though not related by blood, I feel very much a part of the Spencer, Feliciano, Fetter, Faulkner, family. Which is soon to be the Spencer, Feliciano, Faulkner, Adams family. I was as excited and proud of baby Jaylin coming into the world as if she was my own niece. My first look at her told me she was beautiful, (thank God she wasn’t a troll baby; it makes things so awkward when they are). The grandmothers and great grandmothers, I think there were two greats I was a little confused on that, all got a turn holding the baby. My limited baby experience always leaves me feeling wary when little ones are about, but not being a blood relation or grandmother of any sort I didn’t think I had anything to worry about. That is until someone, I think it was Teresa, asked me if I wanted to hold Jaylin. Being the Gemini that I am, my mind split off in a hundred different directions and questions, all at once of course. I’ll just give you the abridged version. One, yes I desperately wanted to hold that little bundle of joy, lack of experience or no. Two, I didn’t want to be selfish by taking away time from the actual family. Three, yes I really wanted to hold her. Four, I was terrified at the prospect of holding her; I wasn’t even sure how to hold her. I had tidbits of information rolling through my head about supporting the neck, but don’t touch the top of their heads. It was getting messy in my over thinking mind.
The wanting outweighed everything else in the end and after a slightly tense moment for me, during the transfer of baby Jaylin from a grandmother to me, I stood rather dumbfounded looking at this little miracle. I looked down at her feeling so proud of that little girl I thought my heart would bust on me. Good thing we were already in a hospital. I was equally humbled by the fact that I was allowed to hold her on such an important and sacred day as her birth. I looked down at that little life and welcomed her into the world. After a brief time, the nurse was headed back to the room and I relinquished Jaylin back into the care of her momma.
A few days later, Teresa told me she had something for me. She handed me a picture. Had I known a picture was being taken I would have felt very self-conscious and worried that I was holding Jaylin wrong or something along those lines, but I didn’t know. Instead I got a photo of me, smiling down on baby Jaylin as I held her in my arms. A moment to be treasured. I think it might be the best present I’ve ever received.
The Genre of Truth
Sometimes life is just a bitch. To be honest, since we’re going that direction, that’s not how I originally intended to start this blog, but what the hell. When I first started college, people used to ask me two general questions. What is your major? What do you plan to do when you are finished? Once I got answers to those questions, or at least good approximations of answers, and settled into an English major, and decided that my chosen profession would be that of a writer I started getting a slightly different set of questions. What is your major? What do you write? When I set about explaining what I wrote, which was a difficult task at best, I usually got this follow up question, can you make money at that? Oh, sorry didn’t realize that was the end goal. I thought I was writing because I loved to write and I’m good at it. I also got a couple helpful suggestions; my favorite was from a fellow student who is also a writer and a damn good one as far as I’m concerned. He told me that I should focus on being a teacher or professor and just do my writing on the side, which was his plan. I guess from an economical standpoint that does make more sense. From a creative aspect it’s stifling to the point of suffocation. I realize that you need money to live, pay bills and all that jazz, but I don’t like putting the focus on that. I don’t want money to be the reason that I do anything, especially writing. I’m practical enough to know that I need a job; however I am also smart enough to know that if I place my writing on the back burner that’s exactly where it will stay. So I decided, mostly with the birth of this blog, that my writing needed to come forward, as in all the way.
When people ask me what I do, I tell them I am a writer. When I bought my car and heard Jessica’s story, I told Mr. Moore, “I am a writer, may I have permission to share Jessica’s story.” Being a writer is no different than being a retail clerk, or a phone operator, I know because I’ve been both. It’s a job, a career, something I have to work at every day. What drives me to the point of insanity, or at least it did for a long time was that second question everyone asked me, what do you write? At first it drove me crazy because I wasn’t really writing. I wanted to write, I felt the hunger to write, but I couldn’t drag myself to the desk to do the actual writing. I was road blocking myself with passivity. I love one of the dictionaries definitions for passive, 3. Not working or operating. Yep, sounds like me. I was stuck in that tar pit of wanting to write, but not sure how to make myself do it. When friends suggested that I do this blog things started to roll. At moments they seem to roll along much smoother than others. I am actually writing, I have a deadline each week to meet, and amazingly enough I am making that deadline, though occasionally cutting it close.
One Sunday, I got together with a woman who works at our shop who is also a writer. She has had several works published and is working on a book, probably as I write this blog. As we sat in the coffee shop,(and I have to ask this, why do artistic people always hang out in coffee shops, is that like required or something?), we discussed some ideas she had at the moment for stories. Then she asked me the question, what exactly do I write? As usual, I floundered around for a minute, and then said I write everything. She laughed and said “have pen will write,” yeah basically. We spent a couple hours talking about writing, ideas and other artistic stuff and then parted ways. I enjoyed my time and got a lot of good information, but something was nagging me. I knew it while I was still at the coffee shop, but it grew once I was home. It didn’t take long to realize it was the question, that damn question, that was driving me nuts. Truth be told it was driving me into a funk. The fact that I didn’t have a solid answer bothered me. I felt I should be able to say, I’m a fiction writer, or a blog writer, or something! Shouldn’t I know what I write? I should know what my genre is, but I didn’t. The fact that I didn’t, left me feeling like an idiot.
I funked around for a couple of days, and to those who are wondering yes funked is a word. I finally decided that spiritual intervention was needed. There was an exercise on one of my online writing courses about talking with your soul. It was basically an exercise in just writing for five minutes non-stop, the only difference was that at the beginning you ask your soul what it wants. I was feeling blue, and not particularly optimistic about the exercise, but I did the damn thing anyway. Would it be boring to say I was surprised, because I was. Turns out my soul just wants me to write. Don’t worry about genre, don’t worry about answer other people’s questions, just write. That’s the short version at least. I decided since that exercise was successful to try a second one. This one you just write a question and then wait for an answer, writing down the first thing that pops in your head without censoring it. I decided it would be fun to include the conversation between myself and well, myself.
Me: What do I write about?
I write whatever my soul whispers to me.
Me: That is a beautiful and somewhat fluffy answer.
I let the story write itself. I just hold the pen to the page, God does everything else.
Me: Better, still fluffy though.
I like the fluff. Stop trying to be logical. It’s not going to work.
Me: But what do I write? What is my genre?
Your genre is Truth.
Needless to say I was a bit taken aback by that answer. Who ever heard of the genre of truth? Is there an agent for that? I don’t know, but I do know my truth when I hear it. I felt the burden of trying to cram myself into a mold lift off of me. I had been attempting to limit myself, and my soul had given me permission to write whatever I needed to write. I had permission to write my truth.