I Get to Decide
by Jennifer Paros
Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else’s dreams?
~ Tim Burton
I’m not certain when I first heard the phrase, “You’re not the boss of me!” It might have been while working at a daycare years ago. Maybe I heard it from the determined 4 year old Ella who greeted me, my first day there, wearing a long strand of beads and an air of leadership. Or maybe it came later from my own children. One way or the other, it was spoken by a child: someone newer to this world, strong and clear in the awareness that we are, ultimately, in charge of ourselves.
The first day my oldest son got on a school bus to attend kindergarten I was struck by the 0% influence I had over his day to come. Though still such a very small person, he was off to make his own decisions; he would be cooperative or not, play or not, be friendly or not. It would be his own volition, focus, desire, instinct – his own self that would call the shots – no matter what I had taught him or how others might instruct him.
Back in my college days, my art professor didn’t want us asking, “What should I draw next?” She knew each idea could flow naturally from the last. We were to be connected to our deep interests and desires so that source would be the one informing our choices, not some random, external hunt for something to do. My teacher knew that in order to sustain a meaningful relationship to one’s work, one has to sustain a meaningful relationship to one’s self – the best resource and boss. more...
Sorry, I Miswrote
by Cherie Tucker
Children often mistake words they hear in songs. They think it’s “Round John Virgin” or “sleep in heavenly peas.” These mistakes can be charming, but many times when people are speaking, they shorten or garble or mispronounce words, so their listeners can hear things wrong, as well. One such mangled expression that happens frequently is “gonna.” Yet even though people say it all the time, we still write “going to.” We know what “gonna” stands for and generally would only spell “going to” as “gonna” intentionally in a friendly note or a quick message. You would never spell it that way in a business letter or on your resume.
With the word “try,” on the other hand, we say, “We’ll try ‘n get that for you,” or “I’ll try ‘n call you,” not realizing we’ve made a mistake beyond just pronunciation. Then we write it the way we said it, not the way it actually should be. Many people aren’t aware that the expression actually is “try to,” not “try and.” more...
Find a Writing Room of Your Own
by Noelle Sterne
My writing buddy’s face turned dark pink as she shouted over her latté. “No one can write anything worthwhile without a private place!” She thrust her face into mine. “It’s gotta be your own!”
“Oh, please!” I replied. “All you need is the desire, will, and your stone tablet and a sharp tool. It doesn’t matter where you write!”
Our little debate embodies two often-discussed viewpoints about writing. Despite my vehement response to my friend, I have long puzzled about the most effective place to write. If you too are in a quandary, or lament you have no writing spot to call your own, I’d like to help you enlarge your perception of your own physical and mental writing places, spaces, and times.
One Place, One Room. Virginia Woolf’s well-known 1929 observation in A Room of One’s Own presents the ultimate prototype of one of the opposing views. Referring pointedly to the few women writers of her time, the solution, was, she said, the little matter of a stipend of 500 English pounds a year . . . and a room of one’s own. Despite women’s wonderful writing progress to date, the idea still clings.
Like Woolf and my writing friend, many writers swear up and down, usually without the elusive independent income, that the only true way to write is in the reverently dedicated spot where you worship regularly, surrounded by your favorite, comforting possessions. more...