Friday, November 18, 2011
There we were. The four of us. Two boys, my miracles and my husband, also a miracle.
Life is never perfect, but sometimes it reaches that balancing point where you swear that if you could only hold your breathe forever the winds would never change. That was it for us. Our tea cosy moment.
My husband and I got a phone call. The kind of call appropriate for the lateness of night. The kind of call that made us exhale and the winds around us changed.
My mother was on the other end of the line. Sobbing. The Department of Children's Services had rung her to tell her she was a grandmother again. They'd been looking for family. My younger sister had a baby many months ago and did we want to leave him in Foster Care or think about offering him a home. There was no one else. No other family. No father. And his mother, my sister, left him.
You have to know that my sister wanted him. She did. I know that the way only a sister can. But my sister has a severe mental illness and hasn't been able to maintain any sort of support network or medication schedule.
My mother said she'd take the baby, but only if we couldn't. She's getting older. We already have a family. Boys. Wouldn't that be best? What did we think?
What did we think?
I didn't think.
I felt everything. The waves of every sadness my family has ever known swelled up around me, their wet hands pulling and pushing.
I felt for those little girls. They way they played dollies. Pretended to be mummies. Dressed up in heels and pushed their prams around. Where were they?
They were gone.
They grew up. Barely. One surviving the trauma of their childhood, the other one swallowed whole by it.
She had a baby. My sister had a baby. For days I couldn't make that thought be real. I haven't seen her in nearly two years.
And I wanted to see her. Oh how I wanted to see her. And hold her and tell her the sorts of things that every big sister should say. That everything will be okay. Because of course we will take your baby, my sweet sweet sister.
I don't need to think about that question.
I only need to feel.
My husband and I began the process of have this little one come and live in our family and we are hoping the baby will join us early in the new year. We had no baby things. Our youngest is four and we gave everything away. But people have been good and so much has already been given to us.
Our two boys are excited. Another play mate.
My husband is busy finishing renovations to meet home safety standards to have the baby come and live with us.
And I am preparing mother another little one. Sometimes I am scared by the thought of raising three children under eight years. Then I remember not to think. Just feel.
Life isn't asking about my ability, only my availability.
To my dear sister, we are available.
(thank you to everyone who has already given your best wishes, thoughts and prayers. They matter)
Posted by Tabitha Bird at 1:20 AM
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
What are you thinking?
Here's one that I am still yet to master. My thoughts. What have thoughts to do with writing, you ask? Everything.
I 100% believe that thoughts are a big indicator of future success or failure. Rotten thinking says, "I'll never make it, the things I write aren't important, what's the chance I'll find an editor/agent/publisher anyway?"
Show me any successful writer who accidentally arrived at their moment in the sun with a mind full of trashy thinking. There isn't one. Nope. Not one.
Many writers attribute failure or dark hours to their eventual success, but not a single author has ever said, "Oh just tell yourself you can't and you shouldn't and who the heck to do you think you are anyway and you'll achieve your goals."
Looking at a number of internationally successful writers including Stephanie Meyer, J.K Rowling or Stephen King and you'll find a thinking common to all of them.
This is something you must have so deeply planted that not even a typhoon can rip it from the earth of your soul. Belief in your work cannot be an airy sort of thing. All writers must take time to think about exactly what and why they believe in their work. Even if that means talking to yourself out loud or eyeballing yourself in the mirror. Belief must survive. No. Matter. What. You do that by using your thoughts to tell yourself you believe in YOU.
Some of us will find ourselves in dead in end jobs supporting two kids on limited income while the car and rented apartment fall apart around us and still harboring the writing dream. If that IS you, you are in good company.
This was exactly Stephen King's situation when he started writing Carrie. He had an idea for what we now know as a best seller, but when the manuscript was finished he trashed it. He felt it was too far out of his league, Carrie being a girl and all, and the story was too long for the men's magazines that he wrote for at the time. His wife, Tabitha, found it and encouraged him to finish it properly. He did, of course and though he never liked the lead character he knew one thing, he could write. With that single thought and Tabitha's backing, Stephen sent the manuscript off to Double Day publishers. And forgot about the book. Not long after he got a call from that same publishing house. He had sold Carrie! The rest, as they say, is history.
Now tell me, if not for his thoughts of self belief would you even know who I mean when I say Stephen King?
Hope is the twin sister of belief and it too exists in our thinking. Hope and belief must be born and raised together, for what good is belief if there is no hope in an end goal?
Now if you are out there tonight with an impossible dream then know this, hope is unbound by social class, race religion or anything else. All it cares about is if you know what you want and are willing to light the match at the end of that path with hope. You do that in your thoughts. Think on your goals. Think on the future, the possibilities, the stories that are still within you. This thinking builds hope.
J.K Rowlings has said publicly many times that failure was instrumental in her success. Why? because it caused her to refine what was worth hoping in. It refined her thinking.
Hope is not without effort and if one is stripped of all else and has no where to go but a place of their own future creating then hope becomes expensive. What should you hope in and what to hope for when there is so little of you left at the end of trauma or grief of failure? Yet if you are a writer then you must afford yourself hope. Such thoughts will be the best investment in your future that you will ever make.
There was once a time when JK Rowlings was as close to homeless as one gets without being on the streets. And she decided to hope. She had a single big idea for a big book. And she hoped. Tell me that cost nothing.
She began writing Harry Potter with the thought that if she did nothing else at least she would have completed the things she cared about. She says, "Any light at the end of the tunnel was hope."
And as we know it was all the light she needed.
PERSEVERANCE WITH JOY:
The road is long. So long. And I am not walking another step without trying to enjoy the way home. And joy too is born in our thoughts. It's near impossible to be joyous if you have negative thinking and also near impossible to be negative if your thoughts uplift you. If you aren't sure if you are truly joyful ask yourself what effect you have on those around you.
If you have decided to let them bury you with a pen in your hand then you know that dreams are not measured in inches or even miles. Some people reach their writing goals before others but all of us are waiting for something. The next idea. The first book to be published. An agent. Whatever it is, waiting will occur. Why not be joyful? Joy is a choice and so is perseverance. It's an attitude of the heart feed by thinking in the mind.
The book I am currently writing is a pure indulgence. I am entertaining myself. And I am in good company. Stephanie Meyer said that the first book she wrote was merely a story she was telling herself. She had a dream and she wanted to know what happened. So she wrote.
Writers our thoughts are powerful. Believe. Hope. Preserve with Joy. While we cannot control this life we can control our thinking. And while we cannot think our way to an agent's contract or publishing deal, we can refuse to let our thinking be an obstacle to these things.
PS- Sorry for the delay in visiting blogs. I will be around tomorrow.
Posted by Tabitha Bird at 5:35 AM
Friday, September 30, 2011
in the air
out the air
stiller than dew on morning grass
my lungs are shaky things on rickety legs.
I breathe in the air
out the air
and then she comes.
The Sea. With all her tides that pull. And I am under.
my lungs are swollen things on thrashing legs.
I breathe in the air
out the air
Expect the sea water.
What about you? Ever get the feeling that nothing is as stable as we hope? Not even things we thought could never change?