April 29, 2017 (Saturday)

by Yule Heibel on April 28, 2018

The time of writing a novel – or, let’s be humble: a story – is calendar-less. Here, in these pages, each entry starts with the date. In my story- (what I hope to be novel-) writing, each day’s new entry just starts with a line. An observation.

Since I started on my fiction project, beginning with my imaginary characters, fleshing them out, I’ve had to look at the date on my phone first, before writing it here (in the morning pages), because somehow I’m really not sure what the date ever is. I lose track.

Now, admittedly I used to be off-track, date-wise, before I started writing morning pages conscientiously. Drifting through my own life, an appendage of W.’s, knowing weekdays and weekends only by his work routine because my life and my chores routine stay the same day in and day out, and not caring too much about what month or day of the month it was, either. Not knowing when major holidays were coming up or any of the communal markers because, well, I have no family or community-embeddedness here. I seriously wonder if that will ever change, and if it’s not the case that I want to be in a city because it will dictate to me – tell me – some kind of rhythm. A city must advertise, I suppose. The shops have signs, the sales that go with holidays are announced, opening times are punctuated by closing times. Other people’s work provides a calendar. If we can walk through a city, we see this. Not so in a residential neighborhood – except perhaps for Christmas lights. And if we just drive everywhere, we don’t really see it, either.

In today’s meditation, Andy talked about pain being made worse by our fixation on the past. That is, we feel pain and remember a time (and suddenly appreciate) when it wasn’t there. This creates tension, and the more we “live” in this past, the greater the tension and the more pain is heightened. I’d like to see / hear Headspace do a pack on choice, on choosing, which implies goal-setting (intention) of sorts, a future-orientation. I’m thinking in particular of Robert Fritz’s description of oscillation, how we bounce between the push-pull of goal and reality, and how choice (versus goal-setting) can overcome this oscillation. Also, I was thinking about Nir Eyal’s guest blogger, a woman whose name escapes me just now, who wrote about how we trip ourselves up with the bad angel / good angel thing when we try to break bad habits. I should look up the specifics and write to Headspace about putting together a pack on making choices.

Another story idea came to me: a young woman, teenager, who radically changes when she decides to use her given first name, not her second (which had been the one by which she was going). I was thinking (initially) of myself, when I was at [junior high school], writing a poem about kicking off false self-restraint (there was a line about others telling you to “sip your wine,” but really you should drink it fully), and how my teacher loved it and encouraged me to write – and how shocked and disbelieving I was that anyone should value anything I wrote (or did), anything at all. (I had another poem about an orange, which she also loved.) Today I realized that my shock came from years of abuse, of being put down and down and down by my parents. Abused and ignored, ignored and abused, never nurtured, not since I was …what? Four? Five? Seven? Since Canada? I don’t know. And as I sat, I had this sudden visceral sense of having a black, filth-encrusted heart run through by knives, but mostly just an encrusted organ, like a clod of dirt. I was focusing my breath on the emotional pain in my heart when this image arose. It came directly from my sudden remembrance of the poem about drinking wine, written in junior high when even I wasn’t (yet) getting drunk on a regular basis. That came soon enough, though, as things deteriorated even more rapidly at home. Those were dark days. And then my last two semesters at my new (and last) high school, where the English teacher, Mr. H., was eventually so disappointed in Frederika for not measuring up to his initial (and somewhat conventional) expectations – because Frederika was in hell. Frederika, who becomes Yule again at the behest of her renegade art teacher.

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