Creativity, Fiction, Life, Poetry, Self-Care, WIPpets

July update: High aspirations

Greetings, readers. I have several projects underway to share with you all.

One of them is a lofty goal I set, despite of my crazy busy life as a nurse and mother and grad student.

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. 

Stephen King

I feel fortunate to be connected to several strong, productive online communities that help me to improve my writing process and stay accountable. Some of us made a commitment to write 100,000 words during the month of July.

It’s July 5th; I’ve accomplished 5% of the goal, with a little more than 5,000 words written thus far.

I’m well below the daily average I need to come anywhere close to achieving 100,000 words this month. But I’m still thrilled to have written 5,000 words that otherwise may not have been written. I am also finding new ways to write in order to better utilize my time–for instance, dictating into the voice recorder of my phone and uploading it to transcription software.

One of the projects that has been percolating in my brain for at least a year is a series of books for middle-schoolers centering around animals, especially with my 9 year old daughter in mind. I finally decided to apply myself to this project in a more intentional way.

Her enthusiasm is infectious; she has fallen in love with the characters and is constantly hounding me to find out what happens next. I suspect these books will be around 20,000-30,000 words each; I could feasibly finish drafts of three of these in a month. The first one is called Dolphins in the Driftwood.

I suspect there may be purists out there reading this who question whether a word count goal is beneficial to the creative process, and feel it somehow takes away from the creative power and purpose of writing.

But I’m learning so much. For instance:

  1. Fiction is my weakest writing style; by writing more of it, I improve. I know I am improving, as I am finding the process and the output to be more enjoyable to create and read. The only way that will continue to happen is to produce more of it.
  2. Planning the work is vital and good. In the past, I have minimally planned my fiction because it struck me as boring and unnecessarily time-consuming to outline something intended to be creative. Consequently, my fiction was boring, without any real plot or intentional sequence of events to move it along. To meet a daily writing goal of a high quantity, especially for someone like me with such a weak creative imagination, I have found that I have to plan. And when I plan, the writing happens quickly and easily.
  3. A first draft is only that: a first draft. So a high quantity of output is destined to be largely a diamond in the rough (if that…maybe just an ugly piece of coal), with a few glimmers of excellence. Regardless, it has to be created first before it can be refined

Another writing goal I set for this month is to write a poem a day. And guess what? I’ve already failed at this goal as well, but I still have three new poems thus far in July that otherwise might not exist. This September, I’m excited to release The Latent Tale of Conception, my first volume of poetry. A second volume is planned for release in 2018 entitled The Discovery & Consumption of Fruit.

tapestry

The poetic brain at work…pure joy in this process…a sense of being wholly present, seated in the fullness of an experience.

I’m scared to death about this series for middle-schoolers. I always envisioned, in all my writerly arrogance (thankfully confined largely to my twenties), that I’d someday publish a novel of epic proportions that fiercely impacts the reader or at least goes down as a great read posthumously.

In the meantime, I’m writing about dolphins and shipwrecks and hoping I don’t get laughed offstage by the grown-ups in the room. I confess that, while secretly hoping my heart still harbors a childlike place that can compellingly connect with that age group.

I have it on good authority that a certain 9-year-old loves the story, so my audience of one is pleased. Win!

Take care, everyone. Please share this blog with people you know who may be interested.

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Life, Parenting, Poetry

Apology (a poem)

Reluctant baby

I’m sorry to motherhood
for all the doting
I can’t find energy
to accomplish
you grueling taskmaster
spilling out
screaming and yawning creatures
from between my legs
asking a continuous effort
of excellent nurture,
diet, education, and activity,
my abdominal skin
rippling and shifting
like the record
of a tossed stone
stretching and breaking
then sinking
into dark and watery
obscurity
my body
utilized and exited
then poked and grasped
and slapped
and kissed.

 

Copyright 2017 Mindy Goorchenko All Rights Reserved

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Creativity, Life, Poetry, Writing

Book cover is ready!

Hi, everyone. For many weeks, I’ve been working with Ana Grigoriu-Voicu to collaborate on a cover design which captures the content of my upcoming collection, The Latent Talent of Conception. I’m very grateful for all her work and am pleased to share the fruits of that labor here. Thanks for coming over and taking a look!

Cover Final

I also have a release date:

September 1, 2017

cupcake

If you would like to see some online poetry readings of my work, as well as commentary about my creative process, click here. Some typed pieces on my blog are available here and here.

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement during this process. I’ve heard from a lot of you and every correspondence blesses me. Be well, everyone.

 

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Life, Parenting, Self-Care, Self-Medicating

Gratitude is the thought-zapper

Lately, I’ve fantasized about mental flypaper…some sticky substance to grab the ever-present thoughts that pervade my peace, to gather them in one place and keep them under control.

flypaper

Unfortunately for my inner peace, each one of these little thoughts is precious to me somehow. They are fleeting illusions, little what-ifs and I-long-fors and why-nots, tiny tortures. Each and every one. I let them fly about as though anything other than chaos has resulted.

I have an impossible time gathering them up. The swarm settles down and I almost lose sight of them for awhile, but they still dwell in the midst of it all. I’m so comfortable with them now that I can’t imagine life without them, even though they are each tiny exercises in futility.

After bemoaning this to my friend…again…I realized how tiring I’ve become to myself (and probably her, as she is the lucky recipient of all my gut-spillage and has graciously listened to me for hours). I mused about a circuit board of sorts. Have you ever wished your brain had a switchboard, so you could just flip a switch and…zap. Zap, zap, zap. Go away, thoughts. Would I use this if I could?

While cleaning dishes this evening, I reflected upon the blessings of the day. I sacked out on my bed for a few minutes before tackling the next ginormous stack of tasks, and my 13-year-old daughter plopped down next to me, wielding a glue stick (have I mentioned this was on my bed?) and finishing up a school project.

I lay there savoring this ordinary moment. This is life, these are my people. I experienced gratitude and watched my circuit breaker zap my thoughts of that other world into oblivion.

Gratitude is the thought-zapper:

~my four year old son, with his very damaged brain, spending most of his days laughing at everyone and everything;

~my 3 year old daughter, surreptitiously taking an alcohol swab from our drawer and keeping it with her throughout an entire bath (I kid you not–that one little swab afforded her at least an hour of entertainment for her and she was adorable);

~my very saucy 2&1/2 year old pushing me, spitting bubbles at me, biting me, kissing me, flinging herself into my arms, and just generally being the most passionate person in the house;

~a rather outstanding night away in Portland this month with my husband, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Trombone Shorty, and Jack Irons, a much-needed, uplifting, energizing time filled with all sorts of goodness. We even flew back on the same plane as John Cleese, and the flight attendant passed him my thank you note for all the years of laughter and entertainment.

~our upcoming road trip! We are planning to take the big kids on a grand adventure and they can’t stop talking about it. Even just planning a road trip proffers a delicious sense of freedom.

Zap. Gratitude is the thought-zapper. Gratitude is the key to staying in the present, where I absolutely need to stay. There is no other option; it is, frankly, a matter of survival at this point. The swarm is powerful. My will is weak. Zap. Zap, zap, zap.

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Adoption, Life, Nonfiction, Parenting

A sweet dream of repose

Last night afforded a lovely consolation. I dreamed of our little boy Gabriel. (Gabriel, if you don’t already know from previous posts, is our child who passed away last month.)

In real life, Gabriel became very ill very quickly. When it became clear that he wasn’t going to make it through the night, I gathered him up in my arms.

Considering I’m a nurse, I’ve been around remarkably few dead bodies. Hardly any. I’ve been around dying people, mostly when I worked in the jail. Some of those experiences were beautiful and others were horrifying.

But I’ve never been there at the very moment when a life left a body, such as what happened with my little boy.

When we knew his heart was going to fail–the doctors were clear with me, as it sped away wildly in septic shock, that a sudden drop would indicate the beginning of the end of its functioning–we took off his g-tube and oximeter probe and other things attached to him but I wanted to keep the heart monitor on him…to know the exact moment when it happened. That’s the nurse in me.

And sure enough, his heart rate, which had been speeding away in the 180s, dropped suddenly into the 80s. I knew he was dying. I gathered him up and held him and loved him and said goodbye to him. I cried all over his sweet little self. I felt very privileged to be there with him.

The heart monitor flat-lined…for real. Like in the movies. A flat purple line on the black screen. Intellectually, I knew that would happen, but to see it was wild.

I didn’t know what to expect but what truly amazed me was how quickly his color changed. All the vitality, the energy, the electricity which had emanated from his little living self was gone.

For the longest time, I looked at my vibrant, pink hand on his grey, ashen face. All of my aliveness next to all of his death. But his skin stayed supple and soft. How quickly would his little body become rigid? I’m sure I learned that in the textbooks forever ago in nursing school but it wasn’t a typical encounter for me in my work life so I really didn’t know.

I held him for hours…probably six or seven hours, off and on. My shoulders and back reminded me the next day. He died at 2 in the morning and I wanted my husband and other children to have the chance to see him before he was picked up and taken to the mortuary.

We were visited by a dear priest friend and then one of my closest friends Anastasia, who wrote about her experience here. Aside from the cool temperature of his skin, I lost track at times that he was dead during those special hours because he never moved much at all when he was alive. His brain injury had significantly hindered him; he rarely moved intentionally.

It was a sacred time. I’m very grateful to have had it with him.

So back to my dream. I was holding my sweet Gabriel once again. He was already gone, but in my arms in that same supple, soft, peaceful repose as he had been for so many hours in the early morning.

In my dream, my husband was there, and I knew I should give him a turn to hold our little boy but I didn’t want to give up this chance. And then the dream would occasionally transport me to a well, the kind with a water pump that needs to be cranked up and down. And I’d crank the handle up and down and cup my hands in the spurt of water that would occasionally flow.

I woke up today, grateful for that little living memory of our guy. To be able to feel him physically like that again. Dreams aren’t often pleasant experiences for me, but this one I am cherishing.

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