Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Framework of Questions

How's my mental health today?

I'm doing quite well, thank-you. My biggest challenge today is getting back into the discipline of writing.

We returned from our five night get-away yesterday afternoon. Although I had intended to do a fair bit of writing while we were gone, I did next to none. All I did was make a few notes on some ideas I had.

The problem?

Our cabin and its location just lent itself far too much to relaxation, reading, enough walking to say we had done some, soaking in the jacuzzi tub, sweating in the sauna, getting a massage, and eating and drinking stuff that filled out the list of pleasure. Most importantly, it was great for Heidi and I to spend time together in such a quiet, relaxing setting, far from everyday concerns and responsibilities.

It's a good thing our time was so relaxing. Getting there had been a bit of an adventure. We left on a day where we experienced some typical Manitoba winter weather - snow & blowing snow. I can tell I'm getting older; there was a time when driving in blizzard conditions was an exciting adventure and challenge. Now it was a bit nerve-wracking. Especially when visibility was zero - there were a few times where it was tough to see the front of the car. I don't think I've ever gone 30 km/hr in a 100 km/hr zone before, but that's what I had to do - all the while hoping that no one would pile into the back of us.

We said a prayer of thanks for the protection when we got to our destination.

Coming home, we drove in bright sunshine all the way - a much more enjoyable trip.

Now its time to get back to being productive. As I review my to-do list, I find 6 major projects that I've taken on in addition to the usual day to day tasks around home. Priorizing is key.

While  I didn't write much in the last week, I did a lot of thinking. This is very consistent with my usual process of addressing large tasks. I spend a fair bit of time in contemplation, and once the vision of what I'm going to do (write) is clear, I get at the project.

The most significant question I have been trying to answer for myself is about how much to disclose about my father and our relationship. It's about two weeks since my mother told me to write, and to write it all, but I wrestle with that. My father and I had arrived at some peace between us before he died. Do I open all those old wounds and volatile emotions again? Is there a way for me to tell the story, without disrespecting the man? Without dishonouring him? I have learned more things about him and his actions since he died which affect me - is it worth the pain to reveal that information? For what purpose? If I'm just writing to vent my emotions, is that not a primarily selfish motivation? Who am I writing for? What am I trying to communicate?

It's been suggested that I prepare an outline before I begin to write. I've never done that before and I find it a challenge. As one friend suggested, maybe I should use the difficult to answer questions as a framework for my outline.

It's worth a shot.

I never do a full outline, and if I did, I would not feel bound to it, because the view from inside a scene can be different from the view outside it. But neither do I just start writing and see what happens; I am far more disciplined than that.
~~ Piers Anthony

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