This last week has been about as good as I could have hoped for. After last week, it was just what I needed. After making some mistakes, it only seems appropriate that fate rewards me with less trying and more rewarding seven days.
I spent the earlier part of the week revising a piece to share with my writer’s group. This meant coming home from work and spending the better part of my evening at my computer, reworking the same paragraph I had been staring at for twenty minutes. As tedious as it sounds, it was extremely rewarding. One evening, I took a bike ride down by the river, found a soft grassy spot and went to work. I got a lot more done without an internet connection.
I used to hate revision, but that was back when I thought everything I wrote was gold. Now I’ve accepted that first drafts are typically shit and have learned to appreciate the process. And though I don’t usually sift through old drafts, I’ve saved each one. This means I have a folder of each story with at least four or five drafts. Speaking of, I should really back that up on two separate hard drives.
On Wednesday, I met up with three of my aunts. We went to a wine bar for dinner and I spent the rest of the night burping moscato and beef carpaccio. After that, we went to Lifest. Lifest is a christian music festival that my family used to go to when I was young. I hadn’t been there since I was fourteen with my boyfriend at the time. Ten years later, it was bizarre to see a music festival lacking stumbling drunks and an excess of cleavage. Since I grew up nondenominational, I’m pretty sure most of my extended family assumes I at least claim to believe in God. While I’m not willing to state there is no God, I’m not willing to say I believe in a God. I know that saying this will probably give me some backlash from some friends and family, but I don’t want people thinking that because I went to Lifest I’m a god-fearing young woman. And I’m not saying that out of some sense of hyper-vigilance, I just don’t want to present myself as something I’m not. I know many good things done in the name of God, but there are also some pretty dark things done in the same name. At this point, all I am willing to say is that I haven’t found compelling evidence. When and if I ever do believe in God, it will be something that occurs organically, not by shocked friends and family sending me bible verses.
So anyway, I was at Lifest. I spent most of the time talking with my Aunt Laurie about men, dreams, passions, mental obstacles, The Bloggess (and Beyonce, the giant metal chicken), and goals. I went home feeling refreshed, inspired, and content.
On Friday, I went to Six Flags Great America with some friends where I went on rollercoasters and screamed a lot.
Yesterday, I met with my writer’s group, got some great feedback (“You have a lovely way of being funny & witty while also being poignant, self-deprecating, and reflective”), and left feeling inspired. I shared a more reflective version of my last post, and I had several requests for a story next time. I think I’ll do something more prose-like for next month, but my biggest obstacle is going to be getting away from my second person narration. It’s emotionally easier to write second person. It allows me to distance myself from the material. I think that was pretty evident with my last list. It’s strange: I’m willing to share fairly intimate details, but I’m not, apparently, willing to attach the “I” pronoun. I could be wrong, but I think that if I want to write memoirs and personal essays, I’m going to have to get over that.
Or maybe I’ll just revolutionize memoir and write a collection of essays in the second person.
Nobody steal my idea, okay?
Then Andrea and I had a decoupage day. We listened to Rilo Kiley, ate some pizza, drank some beer, and pasted things on foam board and canvas. I created some things to hang on my walls.
[Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.]
All in all, this was a mediocre blog post about a rejuvenating week. Now it’s coming to a close with a heat advisory that I’m using as an excuse to sit inside and read Kurt Vonnegut all day.
9 thoughts on “A week of revision, wine, screaming, & decoupage.”
we decoupaged the shit outta that shit!! ..you did at least. i’m getting to it haha. also i do have faith you can revolutionize memoirs with your second person story telling 😛
I’m going to write a memoir about decoupaging and then decoupage the text and then give it to you to use as a coffee table book. But the cover will be blank, so you can decoupage it.
Being one of those aunts…I have to reply 🙂 It was a true pleasure and lots of fun to see you Ashley! You are a gorgeous woman with a sweet spirit. I treasure our brief conversations and will continue to keep you in my prayers. Keep searching my friend…keep your heart open…and please know that MANY people do things in the name of Jesus Christ that have no idea what damage they are doing. Some sugar coat things and some distort or make the bible fit into their own agenda. That said, I am so far less than perfect. I am just a on this life journey-stumbling, getting back up and trying again. What I do know is that my only hope is found in the one who has given me life-and to Him I am eternally thankful. I do not have all the answers, nor can I figure out all the “whys”…that is why they call it faith. We all came from somewhere, are going somewhere and will end up somewhere…if it is all a lie-then I have lost nothing. Just know that you are an amazing woman and you are loved. I’d lie if I said that my heart was not sad by your message-but I do get it Ash. No judgement, it is not mine to give-just know that God is love…no matter what people try to make it to be. xo
Thank you, Heidi! It means a lot to me that you’re as compassionate and understanding as this. It’s always a joy to see you. We need to make it a more regular thing. 🙂
Not all Christians are dark and out of touch. I cant imagine my life without God. My husband is alive after open heart surgery, he provides for me when I have very little. He grants each day with a sunrise and sunset and oh the beauty we get to see all around us! We only get so much time on this earth and God tells us to show others Him. I am not always be a perfect example, but each day I ask God “How can I change” or “what can I learn more of?” I ask him for grace and mercy and he gives it freely. Just sad about this post, because God never forces himself on anyone, but He does call us to testify of Him and His salvation message so that none of us are without an excuse…
I’m not claiming that all Christians are dark and twisted, I’m only saying that just because something is done in the name of God, it’s not inherently good.
You have your beliefs and I have no intention of trying to persuade you or anyone else otherwise, so if you’re compelled to share the message you believe God is telling you to share, then do so, but also be aware that it will not always be received as graciously as you intend. Everyone has her own beliefs, and at some point, that needs to be accepted. I don’t think the thinly veiled threat of “being without excuse” is as compelling a point for a non-believer as it is for one with faith. It comes down to what Katie says: you either feel it in your heart or you don’t. Someone who doesn’t feel it in her heart is not going to be swayed easily.
I’m glad you had a good week. You needed and deserved that. Let’s make this week a good one too. Zumba followed with wine and celebration (of the awkward workout and subsequent wine fest) on Wednesday? Just say yes.
Also, since everyone else is commenting on the Jesus speech, I’ll just say this: God isn’t something you find evidence for. It’s something you believe in your heart. If you don’t feel him in your heart and soul, then that’s that. You’ll believe in something when you feel it. Whether that’s God or something else, that’s your choice. Take faith in whatever moves you to be a better person. 🙂
Yes. And thank you for simplifying the discussion. 🙂
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