Welcome to my digital writing journal, or mydigitalclutter. What started as a family blog almost two years ago has morphed into my writing therapy. This is where I do a lot of free writing, mostly about my life with my family and the things that catch my interest. While nowhere even close to perfect, in each post I like to see how my writing is changing with time and practice. Most posts are left unedited for this reason, so if you don't mind, take the journey with me.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Submission Quandries

I have an essay, sitting on my flash drive, just waiting for something.  That something could be a blog post, or a submission, I haven't quite decided.  The anxiety of what to do with it is eating away at me, and I question the reasons of why I haven't just submitted it yet.

A friend from work introduced me to a project his sister in law is working on.  Every time we talk, he tells me I need to submit something to her.  Without fail, every conversation we have, he will state, "You need to send her something!"  He only knows the writing I do for project proposals, employee write-ups, and the various e-mails I send to him daily.  How would he know of my desire to create something worthy of publication, in a forum outside of my daily work life?

I've played with the essay, wondering if it is right for the audience this project focuses on.  I've played with it, wondering if it would just be better as a post, as the subject matter is light and airy.  I just don't know if I have the angle quite right.  So we shall see.

While it causes me grief, I don't know how I can go without writing.  Besides, if I happen to see a byline someday with my very own name, I'm sure that will make it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lessons Learned

So, I would like to pass on a tidbit of information I've learned over the past couple of weeks: Don't write a disciplinary action against an employee while one is writing an essay.  HR will not appreciate the imagery, nor will any emotional tirades be tolerated.  This I have learned from experience, and have decided I shall from herewith, refrain from disciplinary actions and concentrate on essays and eventual longer pieces of fiction.

My current trial seems to winding down and I have learned quite a bit about myself, the strength of my support system, and that the light at the end of the tunnel is appreciated more due to the journey through the darkness.

Writing has always been an outlet for me, and I've often turned to a blank page to spill my thoughts and dreams and occasionally make sense of the words that end up there.  The past couple of weeks haven't been conducive to even the venting I could have done.  It just seemed like a light was shut off inside of me, both emotionally and creatively.  Oh but what fodder I have for future villains and sub characters of a work in the future.  Yep, make me mad, and I'll write you into my novel.  A novel, yet to exist, but just you wait; you'll be immortalized forever in the written word.

I've spent too much time and energy on this, so today I wash my hands of it all.  If I get the chance to write again, I'll make sure I do so without any disciplinary actions on my desk.  HR will thank me!

*Thanks to Google for the Image*

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We All Need A Little Zeke in Our Lives

I believe we all need a little Zeke in our lives.  You see, my son, has a stuffed monkey affectionately known as Zeke, who has made the rounds of life with him for the past few years.  He sits patiently in a backpack as he is lugged to and from Grandma’s house, or is used as a missile to decimate the mounds of Lego blocks on the floor.  His fur is matted and worn but he still holds a place of honor on my son’s bed.
Last night, as I tucked my son into bed, we had a conversation about night lights and how he needed his bedroom light on, all night long, to combat the storm troopers who were sure to invade his dreams.  His big brown eyes looked up at me, wide with fear, and with the utmost seriousness, he told me Heavenly Father never answered his prayers to keep them away.  I think we may have to limit the Wii Lego Star Wars games he is playing before bed.   
After some cuddling and kisses, I handed him Zeke.   He automatically turned into the warm fur, which has its own special scent of being well loved and handled.  A couple hours later, I headed to bed, and found him, still clutching his monkey with the same amount of fierceness as when I kissed him goodnight.  His prayers had been answered, although without the words his childlike understanding expected.  He had his protector and friend there next to him, all through the dark hours, to give him comfort when he needed it most.
A couple of days ago, I caught Nigel playing on the computer, a kitchen chair pulled up next to the office chair he was sitting in.  Zeke had his own place on the kitchen chair, faced towards the monitor, for a front row view of the games PBS Kids had to offer.  Things like this happen on a regular basis with the monkey.  In ways, I wonder if Zeke has taught my child things like caring for another.  There are days I’m sure he would trade his sister in for a family that only included him and Zeke, but I’m sure deep down he appreciates and cares for her as much as the inanimate monkey who haunts us all.
I kick myself for not buying a back-up monkey all those years ago when we made our way to Build A Bear Workshop and Zeke came to life.  The monkeys on the shelves there aren’t the same these days, aren’t as cute, nor do they have the same emotional pull.  I’ve been trolling e-bay to find another, just in case, or perhaps because Zeke will need a friend at some point.
Zeke has spent a time or two at Grandma’s house for some impromptu surgery has a seam has split and needed repair.  His bath in my washing machine with the towels leaves him smelling fresh, but still well loved and matted.   I worry for the day when Zeke isn’t repairable, and will be relegated to the shelves to be looked at, or in my cedar chest to save for a day when Nigel will reminisce about his childhood.  I also worry for the day when he outgrows the need for Zeke.  It won’t be long.  He is already embarrassed to have me kiss him in front of his friends, although he will usually give me an extra long hug.  Will that mean he has outgrown the need for me as well?
Last night, watching the comfort Zeke gave to Nigel, I had to realize that Zeke was an answer to more than Nigel’s prayers; he was an answer to mine.  When I couldn’t take away the fear, there was something tangible for him to hold onto.  I wish on those really hard days, all it would take is a hug from a monkey to make me feel better.  For now, I will take comfort in the fact that for a short time, he will mean the world to a little boy.  And I’ll still scour e-bay, just in case.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A short hiatus of sorts....

I must apologize for my long absence from the blog world, both in writing, reading, and commenting.  My Google Reader has an astounding number of unread posts, a number I'm loathe to share, and I feel like I need to explain my current state of turmoil.  I hope to catch up on all my favorite blogs, and comment to let you know that I still care and am around!!!

First off, my life has been chaotic from the moment of my last post, and continues to be so.  I am in need of finding the perfect balance, but have yet to discover the secret to that elusive nirvana.  Suffice it to say, my lot in life, working full time, along with all the things I WANT to do, has caused it's own amount of stress, and unique work challenges (that I can't go on about in a public forum) has me questioning my own sanity. While I've gleaned some well earned literary fodder for a future villain, full of deep dark characteristics, it hasn't made for an easy two weeks.

I finally had my fill and did something my well-instilled work ethic (gee thanks, Mom and Dad) never allows me to do, I took some vacation days just because I wanted to.  I had no plans, no destination, no well intentioned home repair project to work on.  I needed some time to decompress and save myself from a stroke because my blood pressure was through the roof.  Here was my Friday:

I woke up at the very leisurely hour 7:30, a time when I am almost alway at or en route to the office.  I scooted my children off to school and looked around the disarray that is my house.  I smiled, grabbed a book (brain candy--i.e. could be read in an hour or two) and drew myself a bath.  Well, it lasted about three hours, with the requisite re-heating to keep myself comfy.  I read my book about vampires, and turned into a raisin.  It was pure bliss.  My phone didn't ring once, and even if it had, I probably wouldn't have answered it, unless it was my mom, offering some Diet Dr Pepper.

Have you ever just needed to take a long relaxing bath?  All my cares and woes seemed to flow down the drain with the water after I decided I had become waterlogged beyond all recognition.  I continued in the same vein all weekend, an extra long one thanks to a federal holiday.  It was pure bliss and I feel almost like myself again.

While I was in the Missionary Training Center, prior to my jaunt to Uruguay as a young missionary for my church, I remember hearing a talk by the wonderful Mary Ellen Edmunds, who is hilarious, spiritual, and somehow merges the two characteristics in a way no one else can.  She had talked about filling our buckets, using the spiritual mean of reading our scriptures, prayer, fasting, service.  The talk has flirted with my consciousness the past few days, and I realized that my bucket was very, very empty.  There were not spiritual feast to fill it up.  There were no times spent pampering my family or myself.  I had been so busy with problems, I hadn't seen where the large cracks were in my own bucket, and it was almost too late to repair them.  I spent the weekend doing just that, welding the fissures closed, and refilling the bucket.

Yesterday was divine.  I spent the day with the most important person in my life.  My children were playing with friends, and it left the afternoon free to spend with my red-bearded sweetheart.  After a trip to lunch, and running errands, I felt that I had spent a day, dating the love of my life.  We hadn't done that for so long, I had forgotten how much fun it is to hold hands and walk the aisles of the office supply store.  No children in tow, meant I could steal a kiss without the chorus of "Gross!" or  "You're freaking me out!" coming from the back seat of the car.  It was bliss, and filled my bucket to almost brimming.

I vow to get back to my routine of blog hopping and comments.  I will even catch up on my reading for my critique group!  It was nice to take a little hiatus of sorts, to fill up my sadly depleted bucket.  Today, my final day of vacation, the house is almost presentable, and laundry is only as high as the Rockies, not the Himalayas as it usually is.  My dishes are clean, and I may even venture to make cookies with my children.  Needless to say, I need to remember to take time, ever now and then, not waiting for a work crisis to push me into it.  My health, my family, and I will thank me.

*Thanks to Google for the image*

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Chaos That Is My Life

My life is chaos, utter, unadulterated chaos.  Yesterday I had a bad day.  Feelings of helplessness and anger seemed to be the only things that entered into my consciousness.  There was a point where I closed my office door, laid my head on my desk, strewn with various papers, and cried.  My tears were for the time that seemed wasted, that could have been spent with my children.  The waterworks continued as I thought about my frustrations with employees, processes and again, time that could have been spent doing things with my children.  Do you see the thing that bothered me the most?

Today as I race from one activity or another, (luckily I can type this while my daughter dances) I feel the chaos again, seeming to press in on me, and the trials of yesterday return.  I don't have a door to close or a desk to rest on in order to allow the tears to well up in my eyes.  Yet, I will continue on as we make the Wednesday night rounds.

My mantra for this year is Balance.  I don't think I'm doing very well today.  I'm allowing myself to become overwhelmed with the fact my Christmas tree is sitting only half put away, my kitchen sink doesn't want to drain, and my mountains of laundry are never ending.  Tonight I am with my children, even though we aren't in the comfort of our own home.  I should be grateful for the time, something I lamented yesterday, and I am.

Here is my question, do we ever learn to balance it all?

*Thanks to Google for the image*

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A New Year Has Begun

I really should update on all things familial, professional, and social.  With the new month, comes a new blog design, and a few holiday pictures.  Here is what I scrapped when I wasn't writing!

We had a fabulous Christmas spent with family, taking time to remember the most important part of the Season.  We had our traditional Christmas brunch with Grandpa and Grandma Clawson, spent time playing on the new Wii, and took time to relax.  The chaos of the season was swept away and I loved it.

I spent a great deal of time writing.  Segullah's essay contest deadline was on Dec. 31, 200, and I wanted to be able to submit something.  I had an essay on my computer that I had played with for a couple of months, intending to do some revisions and submit that.  By the 30th, I was more than done with it, trying to resist the urge to delete every word.  I didn't, it is still sitting in the corner of my hard drive, but I won't look at it for quite a while.  Luckily, I did find something to submit, and even felt like it was something to be pleased with.  While I doubt it will even place an honorable mention, I'm so glad to have a submission under my belt.

In church related news, I am now working in the Young Women's organization, and am thrilled to work with the 12 and 13 year-old girls.  I spent the morning in presidency meeting, and have a lot of excitement for the upcoming activities.  It will be a new and interesting experience.

All in all, I believe my new year will have one word as my mantra--Balance.  You see, I have desires to write more, take more pictures, cook dinner more often, fulfill my calling in church, keep a clean house, all on top of the most important things, like being a wife and mother.  I refuse to be pulled into that deep, dark, well of unbalanced life, which then leads to depression, feelings of inadequacy, and fodder for the dark wily one to mess with me.

May you all have balance in your new year...it is a new beginning for all of us!
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