Can I Get a Rewrite, Please?

Murdering Your Darlings is the title of a current podcast I am listening to. It is a writing podcast. By murdering your darlings, the author (who speaks with an academic British voice) is referring to going back and rewriting your old work, work you may have shelved.

Oh, how I wish I could go back to certain portions of my life, certain moments, and rewrite them. Like when my firstborn was little, I would not have been so hard on her or hard on Hubby for having a different parenting style as me.  Or the many times I fretted about things that I really shouldn’t have.  There are so many hindsight moments in my life when in my older age, I look back or after going through something rather difficult I realize,”I could’ve handled that better” or “that wasn’t so bad”.

More times than I care to admit I have heard myself tell someone, “If I had a crystal ball…to see how far we/they have come” in reference with our ninos. I may not have been so affected by their behaviors.  I could surely use some rewrites for the last almost two years.

Not to get too deep here, but I think it’s what we would do if we really got a chance to rewrite some of our past stories, moments that really matter.  Why we would tweak it here and there. I know some people would leave it as is. Our past is who we are no matter good or bad. We build on those choices, those moments. While we technically can’t go back in time and rewrite our history we hopefully learn from them.

The author in the podcast stated that “the best test is to read your story out loud, and read it to someone.” He went on to say that, and I paraphrase, more or less in my own words, if it doesn’t sound quite right then rearrange some words or sentences until it sounds smoother, more cohesive. Man, I don’t know about you but there are parts of my story (and I am a pretty open book) that I do NOT what read aloud by me or anyone, especially to someone.  Thank God for God’s forgiveness and grace right here. However, it does make me stop and take note that I can look back in time and rewrite my future by not repeating the not so positive choices I made in my past.  I can even rewrite the positive by making it even better.

On ending a novel, the podcast concluded, there are many ways one could choose.The open-ended version of like Anton Chekhov “And so it began to rain” or “have multiple endings, one that offers closure or a conclusion or something else.” Here is where the writing challenge was assigned. To read a story, “and locate the moment when a fissure is planted in the narrative. Some gap between scenes for example. Your aim is to write a story that fills that gap, stays with the original subject and to do so using the author’s narrative style and the point of view.” He gives further instructions to “try to bring your story to a close after 1500 words, but attempt to end it like Anton Chekhov. Give it an open ending.” I like that, especially when applied to life. Locate the fissure and basically rewrite it, giving it an open ending. Because life is open ended.

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This December

I have, to be honest.  December loomed big on our mental calendars this year. With foster kids or kids who have experienced trauma in their short lives holidays, birthdays, celebrations and/or big events can be triggers.  For us, November is our wedding anniversary and Thanksgiving.  December started right off with us adopting our four ninos at 8:30 in the morning (yes, get seven of us courtroom ready and there by that time!!!), next day was one of their birthdays, throw in all of the regular Christmas time activities, sprinkle in house hunting, top it all of with a child who got triggered by all of the aforementioned and BAM! you have the December from hell.  Seriously, it was the hardest December for us ever.

You see our now nine-year-old son suffered the most trauma and came with the most pressing behaviors of the bunch.  Tantrums, shutting down, self-harm, every emotion in the book, lying, pooping in his pants (he has no physical problems), screaming, hurting others, failing school, totally absent-mindedness, unable to focus, forgetful, hurting our littlest dog, major fears, calls from school…it goes on, was what we were dealing with, not all on a daily basis but very much more than one per day, everyday.  Then came December!!  We had been warned about triggers, but getting a warning and living it are two completely different animals.  It ALL happened in a huge way in December.  After ten poopy pairs of underwear in under three weeks, we gave up counting.  No amount of time outs, time ins, very early bedtimes seemed to help.  No amount of hugs, reassurance seemed to help either.  No one had answers for us.  We kept praying and stayed steading on our course.

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This December, this year, has been so different.  NO, I repeat, NO poopy underwear!!!!!  I cannot tell you how much that upended our home and lives.  Most of the above behaviors are all but down to normal levels.  He has come so very far this year.  I wish I would’ve had a crystal ball to see where we, where he, is right now. It is so nice to be able to get to know him, who he really is without all of the trauma induced baggage that was slapping us all in the face.

Our Mr. Bubblewrap is so sweet, a true gentleman, a quiet leader, a very perceptive young man.  He is funny, sensitive, smart and a pleasure to be around.  The house is quieter when he is not around.  This young man is going to have a second Christmas (gifts) in January if he keeps it up!