Shelley Widhalm

Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

A Novel Finish

In Watch stopping, What's important, Writing, Writing group on February 27, 2011 at 8:49 am

I skipped last week’s blogging session to work on my novel. I have a tendency to focus in when I am near the end of a project, wanting just to get it finished.

On Tuesday (2/22), I got off at 4 p.m. and went to the Mandolin Café, one of my regular writing spots. I ordered my usual, a large caramel latte, and started writing. I had expected that I would finish my novel in another couple of weeks, but as I was listening to local musician Tim Byrnes sing and play the guitar, I felt extra inspired. I figured out the ending and that writing anymore would have been over writing.

I saw a couple of my friends ordering coffee and told them, “I just finished my novel two minutes ago.” They hugged and congratulated me. I stepped outside and called my parents, members of my writers group and some of my friends.

Back inside the coffee shop, I ordered a sandwich. Alex Zoll, shop owner, pointed at the clock, 6:45 p.m. The grill had been shut off for the 7 p.m. closing time. I looked at my watch, and it said 6:02 p.m. Alex said my watch must have stopped right when I finished my novel because he had heard me talking to the couple at five after.

It’s a neat coincidence if anything, but whatever it is, I feel encouraged that I’m not totally off track with my goal to become a novelist.

As for my challenge to do something that reminded me of my youth, I took Zoey to a neighborhood park and swung on the swings with her on my lap. She leaned against me as we swung back and her ears flopped back and forth. I liked how the air felt and the feel of my legs pumping me back to a time when playing was my norm.

I wasn’t brave enough to try the slides. I figured someone would think I was weird doing that without a child along, even if I had my four-legged, furry one.

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The still small voice of childhood

In Alone, Challenge delay, Going out on February 13, 2011 at 10:45 am

Again, I didn’t fulfill my challenge this week to go to a nightclub by myself. As boring as it may sound, I had my pajamas on after visiting an art show in downtown, and thought, “Oh yeah, my plan.” I was curled up with a book and my dog on my lap. No way was I going back out.

On Saturday night, I didn’t feel good. I think I might have eaten gluten, something I’m not supposed to have because I’m gluten intolerant. In essence, I had an excuse, albeit a lousy one.

After talking with my mom, I realized that the challenge is too big of a step at this point in trying to finish overcoming my shyness, if such a thing is ever possible. I am putting off the nightclub visit until this summer.

Another reason for not wanting to go the club is I like dressing up to go out, and this winter, it’s been cold, sweater weather. When I was in my twenties and into my thirties, I did go clubbing with friends and wore short skirts out, even in the winter months. But now, I feel old and not so adventurous – though that former wild side remains, albeit in a crumbled ball of want in a small corner of my soul, like a piece of paper with long forgotten memories trying to unfold.

I went clubbing then as part of a group, not having to brave it alone. But it’s been awhile since I’ve been in a club like that. I’m not flying solo, however. I notice the same thing happening to my friends, especially those who are married and have children. That wildness leaves for calmer activities, like getting dinner or going for coffee.

Does anyone miss that need to be crazy, if only for a Friday or Saturday night? Is it like missing being a child when you’re an adult, wanting to run and scream and swing or slide in a playground?

My challenge for next week is to do something that makes me feel young again, even if it’s only for a few minutes, to remember how it felt to be my whole real self without a side hidden away because I’m an adult.

The Dog Commitment

In Best Friends, Lonely Girl, Responsibility, Separation Anxiety, What's important on February 6, 2011 at 10:38 am

I didn’t do a challenge this week. Of course I have an excuse. My dad arrived Friday night for a weekend visit, so I can’t just leave him to go to a nightclub. That wouldn’t be very nice to do to company.

My dad had originally planned to come to pick up my dog and keep her for two weeks, so I could work every night on my novel, but our schedules won’t allow it to happen. I’m near the finish line with my rough draft and want to dedicate a block of time to it. I can’t just ignore my dog and, for that reason, have to juggle her with work, writing, errands and anything else I do.

After talking with my brother, my dad decided to still come, because they have a couple of fix-up projects they need to do.

What I’m not telling my dad is that I’m glad Zoey is staying after my bout of separation anxiety. I love waking up in the morning to her doggie kisses and the furious wags of her tail when I come home from work. I’d miss our walks, her following me around the house and the way she cuddles smack against we when I read or we sleep.

I know, I know. I’m lonely girl with dog, who, without my planning, has become my best friend. I never believed that cliché until I saw the communication that starts between you and your dog. The looks she gives you, mostly a matter of a slight movement of her eyes, and her body language, the various barks and the way she wiggles, rolls and runs, all of it letting me know what she wants or believes I should understand about her.

I can’t look in her eyes without realizing that I am responsible for this creature and that I need to be there for her. I bought her in a pet store, but what I took home was an eager ever-ready bundle of love that needs my time, attention, dedication, love and encouragement. Otherwise, I’d be better off with a pet rock.