Sunday, March 7, 2010

Busy Bees

Everyone who writes -- novel, poem, blog, grocery list -- finds what works for him or her, from the idea to whatever the final form becomes.

When I was home, really home last fall, it was not so hard to tap out a writing rhythm. It came back to me from my columnist days when I would scrawl some notes, a rough outline really, and then carve out an hour to draft it, packing flesh to the skeleton. Then, a brief time away gave me fresh eyes and I could edit, refine, cut and paste, polish to its finish. With heavy decisions and thoughts weighing me down, writing became the release, the way I could transform all the jumbled thoughts into a concrete object, something that could be held, read, analyzed, and placed on the 'done' spool.

My return to the classroom saps my mental energy, as it should since people pay for me to motivate their children, making it harder to use the writing process that works best for me. Don't misunderstand: I am blessed beyond words to be able to teach a subject I love and spend time with the mostly delightful 17-year-olds that swarm around me. But, it leaves less unused brain space, that cubby where I store ideas.

I have, right now, three blog starts, in bone form, in a little pocket notebook that I carry around. (This writer has found that the 4 x 6 spirals with the little pockets inside are her favorite.) I will find some uninterupted time, soon, to bring those notes into something pleasing. But for now, mindful that you, our friends, pray for us and check regularly, I want to report that right now, we are fine, we are having a ball. Although a dark cloud hovers, we both keep busy to push it away.

In my literature classes, right now we are finishing The Scarlet Letter, my favorite book and a difficult read for most of my students. I tell them they are pressing iron (weight training metaphor) when they push themselves through Hawthorne's haunting, ironic prose. In my other classes, my students are reading Having Our Say, an autobiography of the Delany sisters, Black women born at the end of the 19th century, who lived to be 105 and 107 and so lived through amazing events in their lives. They are funny, biting in their criticism, and not the least worried about political correctness.

The grading period ends next week. Imagine, we have half way through the semester! And as that part closes, I hope to have some writing time before we begin again.

Mike is teaching his class, Business Law, at Ivy Tech. He enjoys it and has seen his students' writing improve, which is one of those wonderful by-products of teaching.
And, of course, he continues to make furniture. He decided to give the OAK a rest and moved into walnut.

Below is the sofa table he made for the lake cottage.

Early in its formation, he asked my input as he found a piece of wood that has a white streak through the dark. Did I think he should use it? I said, "Absolutely." It gives the piece distinction beyond the obvious craftsmanship.

Also, we have two new tables in the kitchen area, also made of mahogony. One replaces another Mike piece, one from his early efforts, on which we placed our telephone. The former was a tad too big for the space and so, over the course of, oh, 22 years, we've ALL bumped into the corner. In summer, we could compare our thigh bruises.

The new one fits, has a shelf and a drawer, and has, I believe, the most beautiful wood grain of anything he's made. It's so perfect, it almost doesn't look real.

Then, in a space across the room, between two doors, Mike made another table, specifically to declutter the place where we sit to eat.

Do all families have a DUMP SPACE -- you know, dump the books, the mail, the random stuff from the day...? Well, we did but no more. Most of the stuff is gone and what IS necessary is now housed in this second desk.

So, you see, we are busy here. Please continue to remember us in prayer. God is blessing us every day with every day.


  1. Just as I suspected (hoped). I'm glad to know you've been busy and keeping the dark cloud at bay. The tables are breath-taking.

  2. Lynne, I think everyone does have dumping spots, my piles seem to grow and grow & then I get real busy and clean them up. My goal is to some day have a house with no piles of clutter.

    Sandra Young

  3. How great is our God! We think back to a year ago when we saw the Life challenges facing you both, and now we see the furniture. The wonderful pieces Michael has made with his hands, functional yet works of art, that will last for generations to come.
    What a wonderful legacy to leave, works of your hands and even more, works of your many students. Those who you teach are also those with whom you leave a part of yourself.
    God works with lives not with timelines. Life is in the moments we have now, and we want more with you both! ( Alan is planning on being at Hoosier Hammerheads April 3rd and hopes to see Mike there, if not before.)
    Alan and Lauri