Saturday, May 31, 2008


The following is my warm up from my class today.

The power of this piece, for me, is that I allowed my warm up for class to truly come from a deep part of me that I don’t want to share, talk about, or bring to full fruition yet know that in order for me to let go and not struggle, I must express this, openly and outwardly, without shame or hiding. It scares me to put this on my blog, and, yet, I think it’s healing to do so. I must put it on paper and let it go, fully, completely, and honestly. That’s the power of a class warm up. You let it go, so now you have space and energy to write about other things, to work on novels or projects that have been sitting on your desk. I find that writing, for me, forces me to be honest with myself, which ultimately frees me from any kind of shame or guilt that binds.

I feel a nagging about him, every day. Every day that passes that we still don’t talk. Not that our not talking is intentional, like we have had a fight. We didn’t. The last time we saw each other was about a month ago at a very uncomfortable dinner with his wife and my husband and daughter.

He hasn’t called me or emailed since.

That’s nothing new.

That is, in the last 5 years, that’s nothing new. Before I had my daughter, he and I were pretty close and he called me and we saw each other.

Anyway, that’s the nagging thing, you know. That we were once close and I am so sick of saying and thinking that, as if that, the way we used to be, can somehow erase how we are today.
I blame him more than myself. He is the parent. I feel a nagging thing about that, too. About my blaming him. Then I hear his voice in my head. His voice says, you are an adult now. If you want to have a relationship with me, if you want to see me, you can pick up the phone and you can make the effort.

What I want to say back is, I have and I have gotten sick of being the one doing all the work.
His voice back would say I call you...

That’s bullshit. He doesn’t call. He calls me back. There’s a difference. He doesn’t invite us over or out to dinner. I initiate all that and have for the past several years.
His voice back is probably silent now. Or protesting. But to me, the protesting, at this point is equivalent white noise.

Why doesn’t my father WANT to see me? If he WANTED to see me, as when anyone really WANTS to see someone, particularly parent to child, you just do it. Call. Make it happen. He doesn’t pursue me, and I want that because if he did that, I would believe he really loved me and wanted me in his life.

I am tired, exhausted with doing all the work in the relationship. The arrangement of plans around his work and travel. Around his errands. Around his life.

It hurts that he hasn’t called to ask me if I need anything with the baby coming. Or to see how I feel. It hurts that he doesn’t act like the parent, the parent he was once.

There it is again, what he once was. You know what? I probably always did most of the work, the calling and planning and asking, and now that I am older and have my own family, I don’t feel right about that. I haven’t felt right about that for the last 5 years. In fact, over each of these last five years, my energy into the relationship has waned significantly. I want more from ANYONE in my life. I wouldn’t tolerate a friendship that was one way. Why should I tolerate a parent being that way? It hurts, though, and I just want my dad…well, not who he is today. Not the person he is. So, in a way, I am relieved to not have him in my life regularly. But if he showed me that he wanted to be in my life, I would make the space, the room. I think.

The only reason why I continue to think about him is that I worry that if I stop wanting something from him, then he will cut me off and go away forever and that thought scares me. And, yet, what we have isn’t really a connection or anything, anymore. It’s not like we have anything between us anymore, so it’s kind of an illusion, really¬–that there’s something still there because there really isn’t, and if there’s anything, it’s small. But I am afraid to really stop completely trying because if I don’t try there will be nothing.

After the last time, the dinner, which I planned and initiated, after that, I haven’t called or emailed him. Normally, I would. But no matter what goes on in my head, this time, I haven’t done it. Maybe I am really ready to stop and ready to risk the possibility of him completely letting me go….Or, maybe it’s me letting go of him.


In the next post I will share with you the other warm up pieces from this class. I had my students use their warm ups to discuss internal conflict as it relates to character development. (They didn't know that they would be using their warm ups in this way until after they wrote them.) As with all of my techniques and assignments, I have my students use their journals and own life to play and explore and then after they do that, they can take the concepts and use them in their fiction. So, I wanted them to journal freely and then go back and see where their own internal conflicts are. Then, they will deeply understand what internal conflict is and be able to create authentic characters that have REAL struggle.

When I shared this piece with the class, everyone saw the internal conflict clearly– guilt and fear. While the external conflict is with my father, the real conflict that drives the piece is the internal conflict I have with myself. If I were to inject this same type of authentic struggle into a piece of fiction, that would be a very powerful piece.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's a really powerful piece of writing, Hannah. It brought out a lot of feelings for me about my mother that I had concealed until now... You continually inspire me.