Updates for #ROW80 and My Year of Ideas

It’s been crazy around here. I’m filing for Disability with the assistance of an attorney. I met with her on Friday to complete the first part of the application, and have spent a lot of time working on the second part the last few days. As such, I never got around to the ROW80 update on Sunday as I had originally intended. Thus, I’m doing that update with the update for the Year of Ideas.

So, let’s get down to business…

First, my status report on ROW80:

  • Write 30 minutes a day: Done, thanks in part to the Disability application.
  • Read 30 minutes a day: About 50% of the days. Not all of the reading was done for pleasure.
  • Decrapulate the office: Got started, then the application process required that I pull all of my records from my stroke out of the file cabinet, and I haven’t gotten a chance to put it all back. Guess I start again tomorrow.
Source: aligned4results.com
Source: aligned4results.com

Now, on to the update for My Year of Ideas…

Years ago, Mary asked me to write down the funny stories that my family gets together and tells to make themselves laugh. The result was a brief collection I titled Shanty Irish, that included some of the funnier ones. Since becoming unemployed, she has suggested that I update the collection, add more stories, self-publish them, and sell them to family, friends, and total strangers. Problem was, I didn’t want to alienate my brothers, as some of the stories involve them in embarrassing situations. I considered fictionalizing the stories, basing them on the actual stories but changing the names to protect the innocent, as they used to say on Dragnet. But that didn’t sound like a particularly good solution, because they lose a little in the translation.

I was talking to one brother about this project, and about my concerns that our other brother might get his nose out of joint, and his response was roughly “Screw him if he can’t take a joke.” And I had to agree.

With that in mind, I started writing my stories. And the more I write, the more ideas of what to write I get.

This has taught me several things:

  1. Codependency has no place in writing or any other creative pursuit. It’s nice to be liked by people, but it can really kill creativity. Someone once said that sensitivity to others has no place in writing. Someone was right.
  2. The more ideas you act on, the more ideas you get. Writing the stories I was afraid to write because they’d “hurt someone’s feelings” helped me remember other things that I could write about. Letting those ideas flow is bringing back other memories of things that would be worth writing.
  3. Sometimes you don’t know the best part of the story until you write it. The stupid things that we did weren’t necessarily the best part of the story. I don’t always get to the best part of the story until I see it on paper (or the screen).

So, the last couple of weeks have been good ones. Over the next couple of weeks, my objective will be to forge ahead and ignore those codependent feelings that have been getting in the way.

Until next week, straight ahead.

8 thoughts on “Updates for #ROW80 and My Year of Ideas

  1. A great post John and thank you for introducing me to ‘decrapulation’ too!
    I’m quite a way through a memoir – the bits I haven’t filled in are all those family fallouts and disappointments and I’m still dithering about the ‘how’ but I will do it, somehow. I need to – it is part of the story.
    Great to come across your post (following a trail from Tui Snider, through Story Dam and then Row80) – a bit like your points 1&2, I’m finding the more I write, the more I think, the more I remember and the more I understand – that’s the associative nature of memory for you.
    Paula Reed Nancarrow introduced me to the phrase “How will I know what I think, until I write it?” which just about sums it up.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. Especially with family memories, it’s important to get them written down, because they do spark other memories and help to tie up the loose ends. In my case, I’ve been writing down a lot of the funny stories about when I was a kid, and the act of putting the words on (virtual) paper helps me to remember other stories. Sometimes I show them to people in my family, and they remind me of things I forgot, that make the stories better.

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  2. “Decrapulate” 😀 An excellent word. Devin O’Branagan uses the tagline, “Art must be fearless.” and I agree. I think you’re proving that. Sounds like you’ve been doing well on goals.

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    1. Thanks! “Decrapulate” is one my favorite words. As for being “fearless,” I wouldn’t say that. I did, however, realize that sometimes you have to do it scared. A long time ago, I learned that the difference between “bravery” and “courage” was that bravery was not being scared to do something, while courage was being scared and doing it anyway. That’s what I had to get in touch with.

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  3. Your Shanty Irish collection sounds like a great idea! Definitely something I would enjoy reading.

    I really love all three of your writing revelations above. One reason I back-burnered my memoir project was because I started fretting about certain people reading the end result… Once I’m done with my current book, however, I’m determined to write it anyway. No sense being codependent as you mentioned.

    Good luck with getting your disability paperwork all worked out. I’ve had a couple dear friends go through the process. It’s challenging, but worth it, like so many things.

    Anyway, just wanted to pop by & cheer on a fellow Row80 peep! 🙂

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