While I am not yet ready to return to my book writing I am prepared to turn in that direction. In my dreams last night which I do not clearly remember I “was shown” that my process of writing for the book is not unlike the growth of a tree. After watching the horrible experience my older brother had when he was here and I asked if he might offer some of his memories of his childhood with me for this series of books I have grown to understand more how difficult this process is for me. Yet I am motivated and determined to write this story to the best of my ability. My siblings do not share that mission — and why would they be? We are each different people with differing lives.
When I write the really hard stuff I cannot force myself to reread what I write. There seems to be a powerful force of nature that prevents me from editing my own work. This is the job of my daughter.
In my dream my sleep thinking showed me that each word I write for my books is like a living cell in a growing tree. Not one of them can be changed, rearranged or removed once they have grown into the story. There is something else about when the branches will poke themselves out in all directions and when the bark will form on the tree of my writings. I will know more what that is all about later on, I suppose.
This means to me that I have to inwardly be facing in the exactly correct direction when I write words that belong to my story. They are fixed in place within the story once written, and then I move on as the story (tree) grows. I might not LIKE the way this process takes place, but this IS the way my book writing happens, which makes my preparation for return to the writing an extremely important part of this writing process.
I guess I could name my writing style as the “flow and grow” method of telling my story. As with so many aspects of who and how I am in the world I know when something feels RIGHT and when it does not. Writing RIGHT lets words fall off my fingertips if I am using a keyboard or off the tip of my pen if I am writing first on paper. There is a pace to this, and if my mind feels impatient that I can’t keep up with thoughts, I am not correctly in line with the story.
Writing seems to have its own pace. Different kinds of writing have different kinds of paces. This is part of the reason why this blog is so helpful for me. It can receive the overflow of my thoughts so that the other book writing channel can hold within it only those words that belong to that tree.
Last evening I read the notes I took down on paper while speaking with my mother’s longest-term friend to my daughter who structured them into “something else.” That March 6, 2013 spontaneous interview was the 4th time this woman has expressed her impressions and memories of Mildred. Each time Joe Anne reads more of Mildred’s letters her comprehension about the severity of Mildred’s mental illness readjusts all Joe Anne experienced in her “odd friendship” (as she refers to it) with Mildred that spanned the years from early August 1957 to Mildred’s death in January 2003.
This is a tough road for Joe Anne to be taking. Over and over again, as if speaking within a very private place within herself, Joe Anne said, “You poor children. You poor, poor children.” Is Joe Anne looking back and wondering if there was anything that she and her husband could have done to help us? Is she going to eventually be able to tell me what she thinks might have helped her to do that?
I left home October 3, 1969. Many of Joe Anne’s views of Mildred’s behavior as her Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) controlled her life, came from those years after I was no longer a part of Mother’s life. I am left this morning as I go through my process of preparing to return to the book writing coming to understand that more than ANYTHING else — centrally and primarily these books are about the tree of BPD.
Everything we six children experienced during our childhoods with Mildred as our Mother was influenced by that terrible disease. I also think about a tree image in my mind today “as if” all six of us were little trees growing under the arching canopy of Mildred as she and her life had been made toxic by the way her brain had been changed as BPD took over her — as surely as cancer consumes cells of the body.
The little Lloyd forest image allows me to right myself in relation to my siblings who each of course would have their own story to tell about “she who cannot be named,” as my oldest brother calls Mother. I can only write my own “take” on the overall, bigger story. I might receive input from my youngest sister who is the only one of my five siblings who has offered to be somehow involved in this writing.
In following my tree-forest image I can say that Mother had a single “bad” tree forest, me. She had a five tree “good” forest of my siblings. Where the tree of Father would be placed in this image I don’t know — and at the moment I don’t care.
In fact, at this moment I don’t care about any of it. This is a gray rainy day in the high desert as moisture feeds the earth. I hear drops tapping on my metal roof. My concern now is to deliver a dozen fresh eggs to my friend as I head off to the laundromat. I will bring along my spiral notebook and collection of ink pens – just in case….
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