Becca Wilhite Blog

July 18, 2017

A Thing About Discouragement

Filed under: anxiety,emotion,food,losing it,Uncategorized — becca @ 9:34 pm

Germans probably have a word for that feeling where everything is going pretty well, and all the people you love are healthy and fine, and one small unpleasant thing in your otherwise glad life totally throws you over the edge.

Hey, Germans, what’s the word for that?

Because I had it this week. And it’s making me weepy and mopey and generally incapable of productivity and adulthood.

And I feel the need to put on my happy face and buck the hell up (sorry, Dad). And putting on the happy face isn’t usually this hard.

The thing is, once this over-the-edging happens, everything looks darker and gloomier and there’s no actual reason for trying to get out of bed in the morning and it’s probably a good idea to watch three hours of Riverdale with the 13-year-old and probably also 4-5 episodes of Criminal Minds while I’m at it and probably eat all the food that comes in cellophane packages and definitely ignore all the phone calls and texts and for sure abdicate all the responsibilities and for also sure never write again.

Like that.

This tipping of the scales (remember — for unreasonable reasons) gives me opportunities to try on darker versions of myself. I put them on like exotic silken robes or fancy hats or even jeans with on-purpose rips in them. Here’s a fun fact: Darker isn’t so good on me.

So I am doing the one thing I feel like I can do. I am taking a little control of my physical self. I am resting. I am eating green things — lots of them. (Also beets.) I am staying away from the Emotional Foods that are generally made of hot, white, buttered starch. I am walking many miles every day. I am yoga-ing both in the privacy of my room and with my lovely yogi friend who practices Wednesday mornings for an hour in a darkened church because she is made of generosity and goodness.

And I guess there’s a little more: I am reading. I am working on school things so as not to get nightmare-y in the 3:00 am hour. I am calling a friend who will tell me that it’s okay to try on the darkness for a while as long as I shuck it back off again. I am asking my man to make dinner because he is willing and good and capable. I am sitting outside on a birdsoaked night watching the sun settle over the western mountains and turn the hills flat and blue.

I am convalescing from discouragement so that I can once again be me, filled with couragement. (Germans, that’s a word, right?)

 

December 16, 2013

Sleep Stealer

Filed under: losing it,school — becca @ 5:49 am

It’s not like I’m an insomniac. Sleep is one of the three things I do really well. Actually, I don’t do those other two things very well anymore, so let’s just say it: Sleep may be my thing.

But lately I find myself staring at the ceiling at indecent hours in the morning, wondering if I can fit 48 minutes worth of Macbeth into a 65 minute class period. And I think to myself, “Sheesh, already. You can’t change how many minutes are in a class period. Let it go.” And then I stare at the wall for a change.

If I were being productive during that time (generally less than an hour, generally in the 4s), maybe I’d appreciate it. Maybe I’d love to find those elusive 45 minutes. But it seems obscene, somehow, to get out of bed at 4:12 am and STAY UP. Also, it’s cold.

So I stare at the ceiling, or at the wall, and I feel grateful for these 200 sophomores that fill up my school hours. And I feel excited that there are only 5 more school days until a real, full, 2-week Christmas break filled with my family actively doing nothing together. And I wonder if, maybe, when I’m not figuring this teaching thing out for the first time, the easy-sleeping talent will return to me.

It could happen.

November 6, 2013

Noted

Filed under: losing it,priorities,rambles — becca @ 5:48 am

I know. Life is happening.
And I want you to know that I’ve noticed
That even though you’re managing to do all the things
You have to do, that you’re not doing any of them
Particularly well.

I’ve noticed, and everyone else has noticed, too.

And we’re all surviving the fact.

These 242 words are the most you’ve typed in
A Very Long TIme.

We’ve noticed that collectively, your sophomores
Get a great deal of time and attention,
Even though personally, they’d benefit from
Some kind of time-twisting that would allow you to
Really (deeply) communicate with each of them.
Wanting to is a start, but honestly? Not a huge one.

Your house is straightened, though dingy,
And clothes are generally clean,
For which you are allowed to feel generally
Satisfied.

We’ve all noticed that dinners are, well, lame
And there’s a startling lack of fresh leafy greens
(And variety).
But, hey, salad and variety are overrated
And nobody’s starving around here.

Noted: You hugged EVERY SINGLE ONE
Of your family members last night before you slept.
You  bought the best kind of fruit snacks
Which makes up for some other parts of Lame Bagged Lunch.
You read the assigned book instead of skimming it for the
Nebulous answers Professor Doctor Former Runningback
Is searching for.

We’ve all noticed that it’s not glorious.
And it’s still okay. Carry on. We’ll keep noticing
The parts that work
And working on the parts that don’t.

October 11, 2013

Trying Something New (Surprised?)

Filed under: anxiety,goals,losing it,NaNoWriMo,priorities,writing — becca @ 11:33 am

Is anyone interested in trying a little thing with me? I’m at the knife-edge of my wits these days (I know that is in no way hard to believe) and I actually think that if I manage to squeeze in 30 minutes of writing time I may increase the will to go on. (I’m not suicidal. I don’t need an intervention. Just a nap and possibly a wife, but that’s a post for another day.)

Here’s the thing. I have 2 half-done manuscripts that require way more than I can give them right now, time-wise and emotional-investment-wise. SO instead, I’m going to try the thing my husband has been doing since July: A story a day. It can be a really short thing (ala Hemingway’s famous short story: “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”) or a longer thing, or a fragment of a thing, but I want to write from my guts without worrying that it’s not increasing my word count or manuscript output. Anyone want to get in on this with me? A practical flexing of the muscles, as it were. (And I promise to never say “as it were” again.)
It’s sort of “Romancing the Words” — a no-commitment, rediscover-the-joy, dive in and splash around in the puddles of creation activity. Starting now. Ending at the end of the month if you’re one of those NaNoWriMo pros, carrying on longer if you’re like me and unable to commit to 50,000 words in a month.
As far as craziness like planning goes, I’m not actually doing any. But I did think that I could try a few genre-based experiments: One day, write something funny, or sad, or scary. Another day, historical. Or, dialog-only. Setting based, fantastical, child-focused, nonfiction, like that.
So now that I’m putting this onto the internet, I’m all in. Write on.

January 5, 2013

Schmutz

Filed under: emotion,losing it — becca @ 11:25 am

You know when your laundry goes in with a tissue in a pocket and everything comes out with a scrim of fuzz in every crease and fold? Or when you shovel your snow carefully to the sides of your driveway and it looks so pretty until it finally warms up, and then there’s the graying, icy, pocked snow all along the edges of your little world? Or when your little cut on your finger finally stops hurting and you take off the bandaid and find that black sticky residue along the edges of where it stuck?

Schmutz. All.

Some days I feel like I have emotional schmutz all over me. The leftovers of my mistakes, my everyday actions, my attempts to make things better. And I feel like it’s all I see. All anyone sees — the remnants of the yucky parts.

(That’s not really the case, is it?)

August 14, 2012

This (past) week

I know I’m one of the only people in the world who still blogs, and the other one is the Pioneer Woman, so let’s just say I’m in good company. But I do try to get in more posts than this (hello, last week! How’ve you been?).

Allow me to walk you through my life in the last seven days.

1. I printed The Manuscript. I ended up reducing the font size so as to not use so much of a ream of paper. But – irony – I managed to miscommunicate with my printer (not so hard for a champion miscommunicator like myself) and printed 2.75 copies of the story. Awesome. Because if one huge printing is good, two and three-quarters must, must, must be better. So I gave one to Kid 2, who made noises of interest in reading this draft. And the other .75 sits in the office, waiting to be scrap paper.

2. I registered 2 Kids for high school. Thus, we eat beans and rice for a month. Or two. Free public education = really expensive in August.

3. I discovered (again) that something I said in an offhand manner hurt someone I love. This is not a proud thing for me. And it happens more often than I like, and I wish (oh, I wish) it didn’t. I have a gift for thoughtlessness, and I hate that gift. If you’re among the hurt, I give a sincere blanket apology. Sheesh. I should not speak. Ever.

4. I left an ill husband and four Kids to fend for themselves and went on a writers’ retreat. Here’s the thing: I like to think my family can’t possibly do without me. I LOVE the idea that they’re miserable when I’m not here cooking for them, folding their underthingies neatly, bleaching white surfaces, and sweeping crusties off the kitchen floor. The truth is a little different. They love it when I’m gone. They totally step up, and they don’t miss me for a second. Also, Husband tested negative for strep, so there’s another bonus. They all did great without me. And could have continued to do so indefinitely. (*Note to Self: Research long-term effects of strict salt-and-vinegar chips / Bugles diet. End Note.*)

4.5. Meanwhile, I retreated to Bear Lake. Kid 4 was stunned to discover that I never actually got IN the lake. But I did look at it a great deal. I watched the water change from blue to bluer to gray to slate to amazing as the cloudcover shifted throughout a couple of days. Also I finished the latest revision. Read it on paper and then inputted (that’s totally a word) changes in the computer. I did not get distracted by facebook or blogs or email, because… no internet. Except on my phone, where I had patchy, spotty internet. And service in general. Leaving me no excuses in the text-message realm, either. I read a lot. I pondered. I fixed, and changed, and adjusted, and polished. And then I pushed “Save” and moved on. And ate a whole lot of really, really good food.

5. I started writing on something new. It had been a while since I lived anywhere but inside Fifth Gift draftiness, and it was very fun. I didn’t do a whole ton of writing on the new thing — maybe 2500 words or so. But I planned (which is different than outlining, but I wish it weren’t because I think I should get good at that particular skill, and right away) the story, and thought of some stuff that I’d like inside it, and played with ideas. And wrote some. Inside this story, there’s a historical (fake) post-WWII poet who needs a name. I love the idea of two initials and a last name (a la ee cummings, E.B. White, E.M. Forrester, but without the “Es” — SEND IDEAS. I may reward you with a book.)

6. I had a tiny breakdown. I didn’t mean to. It just happened. I got emotional, spoke something that had been inside my heart for a long time, and sort of burst open. Dear friends who were there: Fear not. I am fine. And that won’t happen again. Probably.

7. I came home fulfilled. Then I swept the kitchen floor. Then I slept for a really, really long time.

8. I sent the revisions to Agent Meredith. (My heart is beating faster, just for having written those words.)

9. Life is moving on, faster and faster. Days are short, nights are short, moments are quick.

10. I just got a look at what room and board cost at the university of Kid 1’s choice. It would be awesome if somehow I dug up a treasure box full of Spanish gold. And soon.

And so it goes. Good things, filling up the days and nights and hearts and minds. I hope things are good with you, too.

January 10, 2011

Sometimes I Beat Myself Up.

Filed under: losing it,writing,writing process — becca @ 9:31 am

I just saved and closed my manuscript after writing these words:

FUNNY! CANT YOU WRITE SOMETHING FUNNY? WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? YOU’RE FUNNY, REMEMBER?

NOW PROVE IT.

I think here’s my problem. I’m trying to write like someone else.

Not so the book sounds like someone else wrote it. (Not that I haven’t tried that. Fail. Epic fail.) But more like, I’m trying to write the book from the beginning to the end, like so many writers can. And it’s dry as matzos. (I have a NewYear’sRes to use more Yiddish. Not really. I just love to try.)

See, I need to remember that I don’t really work that way. I’m not the orderly, outline-driven type. I’m the toddler playing with beads. “Oooh. Shiny. I like it.” Pick up a bead. Roll it around in my fingers. Sniff it. Hold it up to the light. Feel it get warm. Put it back. Pick up another one. Repeat until there’s a big, shiny, bright pile of beads. Then string them together. And find that it makes a story. (I’ve talked about this before. Several times. Like Here.)

But somehow I still have that Right Way guilt, like I need to do my story the way a Real Writer would.

Isn’t that bizarre?

So I’m going to read a few minutes’ worth of blogs, and then I’m going to try again. Not to write the next scene (the one that comes after the previous scene – which will SO LIKELY be deleted because it stinks), but to write what comes next – the next thing that my brain burps out.

I’ll be sure to let you know how that turns out.

December 14, 2010

Nothing Christmassy about it

Filed under: Christmas,dumb things I do,losing it,singing — becca @ 9:31 am

I have a small amount of inexplicable guilt that today’s post has nothing to do with writing, and nothing to do with Christmas, and nothing even to do with Kid 4, who turns 7 tomorrow (I know – we’re giddy with anticipation, too).

It’s just that I heard a song on the radio this morning, and I had to share.

Aerosmith’s “Love in an Elevator.”

I wish I were kidding. But see, there’s backstory. I have this little problem. I love Christmas. I love all of it, the commercial, the spiritual, the edible, the familyness. And I love Christmas music. Much of it. But I sort of get twitchy when I hear the same songs, sung by the same artists, over and over and over starting in the fall. So I did an on-purpose hiding of the La-La-Songs-of-the-Season radio stations. In fact, when I’m in the car longer than kid pick-up, I have my phone singing to me (“Legally Blonde the Musical” and “The Drowsy Chaperone” lately) and ignore the radio completely. I have heard more talk radio in the past 7 weeks than ever before.

So my radio is tuned to a strange station that plays just pretty much whatever song it finds. It is seriously random. Hence this morning, on the way back from the school drop-off, I hear Mr. Steven Tyler screeching about love in an elevator.

The weirdest part? I knew all the words. That’s one naughty song. And did I mention? I knew all the words.

Also, someone took time to write harmonies to the entire song. Not complex ones, you understand, but the sort we’ve come to expect from 80s metal bands.

Harmonies.

To a song about hooking up in AN ELEVATOR.

And the darn thing won’t leave my head. “Living it up when I’m going down.” Mmm-hmm.

And now I give it to you.

You’re welcome.

Merry Christmas.

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