I say I trust God, but then I’m all over my unanswered questions like a kitten on a ball of string. Playful, yes, but often obsessive just the same.
I want direction presented straight up, but my Creator seems more interested in weaving life stories.
Daily, I sift through memories in an attempt to create meaningful prose. In fact, I began In search of my blogging identity quest as an attempt to define not only my blog’s direction but my writing purpose. Little did I know how the experience would mirror the process occurring in my personal life. In time, I could see an emerging theme and direction—becoming a writer.
However, my love of writing spans over thirty-years. These years filled with journaling and storytelling—two of my favorite expressions. I also wrote to chronicle my travels, process my feelings, record my dreams, discover my identity, and wrestle with my destiny.
I wove tales for my children that I told while tucking them into bed. I spun coming of age stories highlighting The Adventures of Princess Queen (already a princess but not quite a queen), which took us to far away lands on adventurous quests.
Together we explored castles and fire-breathing dragons. We journeyed into the world of The Little People. I dreamed up magical books in which the little people lived. At night, they would crawl out from the pages and create surprises for the children sleeping soundly in their beds.
My niece and nephews also enjoyed the tales, “Auntie, tell us a story from your head,” Rebekah would plead.
I also vividly remember the moment I felt compelled to write a memoir. I sought to redeem those torrid years spent living with my former husband’s “issues.” I hoped my process of overcoming the collateral damage incurred when we left the ministry and transferred into civilian life could help others.
The setting of my memoir epiphany occurred one early Saturday morning nearly five years ago.
I lit candles and then snuggled under a cozy blanket to watch the flames’ reflections dance across the coffee table and up the walls.
I felt full…complete…loved. I then began writing my morning pages (As Julia Cameron refers to in her book The Right to Write). As I poured my thoughts onto paper, the unexpected happened. This unedited journal excerpt explains the experience:
“I am weeping with gut wrenching involuntary stomach spasms. Loud gasps of agony erupt from a gaping mouth and I am writing in a pool of tears unable to keep my eyes open. How did I ever find myself in the darkness and hopelessness of an underworld called sexual addiction? How did I ever find my way out into the light? What marvelous angels marked the way? What amazing self-revelations ensued? How did the gifting and talents endowed from on high finally emerge and beckon me to follow?
An inner urging, like the dancing candles that surround me, beckons me to go back to the beginning. To write my story in hopes of finding out what the final chapters will be. I cannot seem to go further in writing my legacy until I venture back into my youth. Once again, I must walk through the darkest days of my life passing through a season of the soul that bore down upon me threatening to destroy my vulnerable heart, youthful zeal, and idealistic dreams. I was a wounded bird with broken wings that would never fly again, venture above the tumultuous clouds, or soar unbridled with currents under outstretched wings.”
In that moment, I made a conscious decision to write a memoir. I wanted to deliver on a gut-wrenching promise I had previously made to God, “Lord, if you will help my children and I survive this storm, then I will share my experience, strength, and hope* with others who struggle to find their way through similar circumstances.”
I felt like God had stretched my life so tightly on His loom that the very fibers of my being would surely unravel and snap. Now, the pen in my hand began to weave the warp of memories in and out to form a sturdy fabric; a cloth I hoped others could find warmth and strength from while reading.
Wikipedia describes the process of weaving better than I:
“In weaving, weft or woof is the yarn which is drawn through the warp yarns to create cloth. In North America, it is sometimes referred to as the “fill” or the “filling yarn”.
Because the weft does not have to be stretched on a loom in the way that the warp is, it can generally be less strong.
The expression “woof and warp” (also “warp and woof”, “warp and weft”) is sometimes used metaphorically as one might similarly use “fabric”; e.g., “the warp and woof of a student’s life” means “the fabric of a student’s life.” The expression is used as a metaphor for the underlying structure on which something is built.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weft
My favorite line is “Because the weft does not have to be stretched on a loom in the way that the warp is, it can generally be less strong.”
I didn’t feel strong as I wrote, but I knew my story had to be told. Now, five years later, I have the tools needed to finish the telling.
I’m slowly savoring the words of Adair Lara in her book, Naked, Drunk, and Writing. Shed your inhibitions and Craft a compelling Memoir or Personal Essay.
Every page is rich with content and practical applications. I read a little, and then sift through my manuscript’s awkward organization. In time, and with her suggestions, I know I can weave the fragile strings of my story through the sturdy warp of character stretched taut due to a lifetime of struggles.
My intent is to record this process through blog posts so interested readers can follow. Those discovering their future by weaving their past into life stories.
13 Replies to “#59 Weaving Life Stories”
I’d love to read your memoir.
Thank you for your willingness to share your story. I, too, would love to read your memoir. Some of my favorite books to read are autobiographies and biographies. Each brave person willing to share their story has offered up something to be learned from their life’s experiences. Have you ever read the poem “The Weaver” by Benjamine Malachi Franklin? I thought of it immediately as I started reading your post.
Amanda and flyingma, Thank you so much for your comments. Writing my story is perhaps the scariest thing I’ve ever attempted and it’s comforting to know there are people who would appreciate reading it. I will look up “The Weaver.” I have never read the poem but am excited to because I can tell the theme aligns witih my post.
I just read the poem, “The Weaver,” by Benjamine Malachi Franklin. You are so right! The poem expresses what I was trying to describe. Thank you for passing it on to me. I’m going to post it soon.
You have a special gift and a special story What is the worst thing that is going to happen? You just might find out that you have become the woman that God wanted you to be. I lost me dad 2 years ago tonight. What if something would happen to you and your story never gets told? You will do great!
Thanks Duke, you’re right. I have to be courageous. If not now, then when??? I’m sorry to hear about your dad and will pray for special grace for you.
No reason for thanks. Just here to help. In High School ( no I was not waiting for Columbus to arrive. It just feels like that sometimes) I was always the guy that girls would come to with all their problems. There is always time to help. One of the things about this internet stuff is that you can’t look into someones heart.
Duke, that is so true. I appreciate your offer to help. I have multiple projects in the works and am presently sorting through them. I do believe in online collaboration and have greatly benefited from this. Let’s keep in contact. I visited your blog and liked your writing style. What are your writing aspirations?
JoDee! This is Rosanne, wife of Omy. Remember me? I loved reading through this and am soooo glad Omy passed it on to me.
Rosanne, I’m soooo excited to hear from you. Are you on facebook? If so, send me a friend invitation and then you can see the children. We definitely need to catch up! Tell Omy hi for me.
Haha, no facebook. Omy has one and that’s how he passed this on to me. Can’t imagine how old Josiah (or Josh?) is now. He was just a cute little thingy that sat with us at the dinner table with his special chair…that hooked on or latched on to the table top, remember?
Rosanne, I just accepted Omy’s facebook friend invitation. You will not believe how grown up Josiah and Elya are. I remember when we hooked Josiah’s chair onto the table top. Wow, that was 25 years ago. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and I look forward to seeing your pictures on facebook.
Growing up my favorite writer was Poe. I liked the darkness of his writing. Like today’s post was inspired by what you wrote on your blog. My writng is inspired by observations about life. I have always seen the world abit different than most. Not better just different. When I hurt my back in 1993 I was taught how to visualize things. When I write I try not to have an agenda.