The Empowered Woman – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

Blogger Linda G. Hill, organizer of Just Jot It January, also coordinates a Stream of Consciousness Saturday writing event. The prompts that she uses varies from week to week.

This week the prompt directions are:

When you’re ready to sit down and write your post, look to the publication (book, newspaper, permission slip from your kid’s teacher, whatever you find) closest to you, and base your post on the sixth, seventh, and eighth word from the beginning of the page. Enjoy!

The rules are simple. The basic ones are:

  1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
  2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

And write to the prompt. And a few other administrative things. You can read more about Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday event here.

SOCS

This is the first time I’ve participated in Linda’s Stream of Conscious Saturday blogging fun. In the spirit of following the rules, I grabbed for the top piece of paper on my towering pile. (Readers, forgive me, but she said no editing – so no editing it will be. You’ll just get the words that spew forth from my fingers for the next little bit.)

Okay, to be truthful, I did go with Door Number Two. At first I grabbed the top paper from the right hand pile. It was a library flyer. But then I got hung up on which were the sixth, seventh, and eighth words. Do I count the title? Do I count the header? Do I go straight to the information?

If I looked at the header, it would have been ‘closed January 1st.’ Hmmmm, there’s possibilities there. If I went straight to the information about the first event, the words would be ‘to access private’.

Feeling uninspired with each of these possibilities, I switched to the left hand pile. Ah! ‘The Empowered Woman.’ Much better! I’ll choose Door B, thank you very much.

That page was something I printed out October 24th, the information for a submission for Chicken Soup for the Soul.

The heading reads:

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Empowered Woman
101 Stories about Being Confident, Courageous, and Your True Self

Right away I knew what I was going to write about. I even started it. The first paragraph. Then life started to overwhelm me. A book release in November, a part time job that picks up hours through the holidays, and the usual Christmas madness. I didn’t get back to this until after Christmas. And I’ve added very little to the essay over the past two weeks.

Other tasks were completed and checked off of my list. But I had trouble coming back to this one.

Being for the Chicken Soup crew, I needed to finish this piece to give myself time to set it aside and come back and edit and polish it.

The next thing I knew, it was the morning of January 10th – the day the essay was due. And I still hadn’t even finished it. I berated myself for not finishing it earlier. I knew that I had to ignore everything else on the list and do this item with a looming cutoff date.

As I started feeling pressured – by myself no less – I finally decided to cross it off the list and not even stress about finishing this item.

You know, once that was crossed off and was no longer a nagging ‘to-do’, my shoulders un-tensed and I eased into the rest of the day working on other items feeling relatively calm.

I got to thinking – isn’t part of being an empowered woman also knowing when to not do something? Isn’t allowing ourselves the option of saying ‘no’, or ‘I changed my mind’ a way of empowering ourselves? The choice to not do something we think we should, or not do something that we’d decided to act on earlier, is also a way of gaining internal power.

So, no – you won’t be reading my thoughts about The Empowered Woman in any Chicken Soup book soon. But I’m okay with that. I’m proud of the other items I did accomplish that day. By crossing that line off of my list, I felt stronger and more in control. I’d make a conscious decision about deleting that item, rather than being wishy-washy the rest of the day and sliding into the end of the day with the essay unfinished and unsent.

Now, about this ‘no editing’ part. Not so easy. It’s like the ugly first draft stuff. I’m okay with that. It’s the pushing that unclean, newly birthed creation out into the public view without any cleaning up. But there you have it anyway. And now I find myself starting to hunt for words to finish, so I’ll simply end it here.

Thanks for a fun challenge, Linda!

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A Second Chance – TT ‘buzz’

TT_bannerFor Tuesday Tales this week I’m stepping away from the romance to finish up a contemporary fiction that’s due out in October. A Second Chance is the prequel to My Wildest Dreams, the first book in A Growing Wings series.

In A Second Chance, Jenny finds herself struggling with the aftermath of an unexpected sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). She is coming to terms with having a second chance at life and what these changes will mean to her current life. This scene of the story takes place about three months after the SCA. This week our prompt is ‘buzz’.

For more fascinating story snippets from the wonderful authors in the group, return to TUESDAY TALES here.

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“Jenny, what on earth are you doing?”

Leanne’s voice pulled me from my deep thoughts as I stood in my aisle at work examining one of the products. “These are different.” I held up two sheets of plastic canvas for her to see.

She walked down the aisle, carrying a repack box and held it out in my direction. “These are yours. Not our department.” She laughed as she dropped it on the floor at my feet and held out her hands to see what I was so intently looking at. “I love it when I can pass stock onto someone else to put up.”

She held the two sheets, looked at one, then the other. She held them both up to the light. “And…?” She sounded perplexed.

why“Look how different they are. This is the new one.” I reached for one and flexed it in the air. “Look how pliable and soft this one is. And it’s clearer.” I pointed to the other. “Look how stiff the older one is, and it’s not as clear.”

She nodded her head in agreement and handed the other sheet back to me. “I see that. It’s not like it’s defective though. Maybe they just changed suppliers or something.”

“Don’t you wonder why the older pieces are stiffer? Don’t you wonder if it’s the manufacturing process or the materials? Or, does it harden and stiffen with time and exposure to air?”

“Girl, you think about too many things. Who cares why they’re different?”

“I never did before. It caught my attention though, and I was curious.”

Leanne shook her head and started to walk away. “You’re getting strange. You’re different lately.” She stopped and straightened a few packages on my felting display, then turned with a parting jab. “You sure that cardiac arrest thing didn’t buzz your brain or something?”

As she darted away, back to her department as if she were going to ‘catch something’ if she hung around too long, a memory surfaced.

I remembered when I was about ten or eleven. Our family was driving from California to Ohio, My mom was driving with me, my brother, sister, and our four-year old cousin, Timmy. We had him with us so he could visit his dad in Michigan. The memory of this trip, engraved on my mind forty years later, is four-year old Timmy asking ‘Why’. Four thousand miles of: Why? Why? Why? Today, with many more than four years under my belt, I feel like I’m going through that four-year old phase … why, why, why?

I find I’m more curious about life and reality. I’m more curious about the “whys”. I catch myself asking ‘why’ about many things that I never would have given a second thought to before. Maybe Leanne is right. Maybe my cardiac arrest mixed up the circuitry in my brain somehow. Or, am I merely looking at life and the small details that fill our world with more interest and childlike awe?

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