Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This is supposed to be a writing blog

I intended for this blog to morph into a blog about writing and motherhood. That's why I now have a picture of a cool typewriter at the top, not that I use a typewriter. My mom asked what was wrong with my blog lately. "It says 'work in progress' at the top. Does that mean it's still loading?" No, that was my (failed) attempt at a cool tag line for my blog...I am a work in progress, the book I'm writing is a work in progress, my kids are a work in progress, this blog is a work in progress, etc. Note to self: lose cool tag line.

As part of my blog makeover, I started categorizing old blog posts, thinking most of them would fall into either the "writing" category or "motherhood" category. So far most of the posts have fallen into the "food" category. Maybe this is a blog about food? If that is true then I really need to lose the typewriter because that's just confusing.

No, I really don't want it to be about food. Even though I love food (obviously). I don't have any trouble eating, though. I don't really need encouragement when it comes to food. I do however need all kinds of help/encouragement/accountability/ideas in the writing department. So, this is a blog about writing and being a mom. And it is a work in progress. And there will probably be some food.

Here's my writing exercise for the day. Feel free to join in or not. If you do join in, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

Tell me about a school lunch you had once. (See, I told you there'd be food.) Don't forget the details. Write for fifteen minutes.

P.S. Anyone can do this. You don't have to be a "writer."

P.P.S. Look at the links on the right for other blogs that might be of interest to moms who write.


gwen1234 said...

I did it!


Thanks for that, Elizabeth -- it totally hit the spot tonight. :) Can't wait to read yours!

Elizabeth said...

Yay Gwen! Thanks for playing. : )
Here's mine:

In Jr. High you could choose to go through the hot lunch line or you could pick something a la carte from the snack line. I always picked from the snack line. Cake donuts covered with powdered sugar, hot pockets, chocolate milk, some sort of Little Debbie snack cake. This was a standard lunch. And that is the order I would’ve eaten it in. It felt so grown-up to be able to choose my own lunch, but my choices clearly were not the choices of a grown-up. I remember one time my friend Katy supposedly found a roach in her Hot Pocket. After that I always examined each pepperoni to make sure it was legit. It’s a wonder that I continued to buy Hot Pockets at all after Katy’s horror story.

I remember sitting with my friends and thinking we were cool, thinking we had good hair and cute purses and we knew how to wear our make up. We might still play dolls when we went over to each other’s houses. Or we’d play restaurant and pretend to make people wait for a table. We took turns cutting off the stereo and speaking into the microphone to tell so-and-so their table was ready. We thought about boys, but not so much that we were worried about a few powdered donuts. Somewhere along the way we changed. But it’s hard to pinpoint when it happened. One day you’re eating Hot Pockets for lunch and the next day, you’re not.

One friend from the lunch table is a doctor now. Another is a professional violinist. I am a mom to three children. In the supermarket I check labels for trans-fats, artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup. In the freezer section I spot the Hot Pockets. They are not the least bit appealing to me anymore, but my eyes still linger on them longer than other things in the freezer section. They make me think of roaches, and Katy and Jr. High and being a grown-up.

carolebrad said...

OK this is just a comment on what you wrote, Elizabeth...I assume you're not yet ready for an Earth-shattering event and that's just what would happen if I wrote about anything for 15 minutes.
Instead I want to ask why you want to pick one topic for your blog? I think it is already so worthwhile as the musings of a young mother as she deals with children of different ages and stages while running a household. Your solutions are always so interesting and I wonder why I never did some of those things with my children.
Your blog is wonderful because we are able to see your approach to dealing with your days, not only the mundane events of a woman/mommy's day but of the creative solutions you often choose. It's so nice to see all the opportunities you make to broaden your childrens' view of the world and their place in it. I would like to have been as creative...Keep up the excellent job as the woman of the house and a great mommy...I love the blog as it already is. carolebrad

Anonymous said...

Stay out of the trap of comparing with what others are doing and deeming your choice mundane. You currently have the most important job there is. It is at the root of everything else. Your children will flourish because of your choice. The beauty is, that you can write these charming, insightful and challenging pieces (and even a book) right where you are. I'm truly amazed by your abilities...cb

Robin said...

Thanks for the blog prompt. Could you maybe keep doing that? :)

I wrote more about food on my blog, but here I will just say that my middle school lunches did not satisfy the food pyramid. At all. In fact, I probably ate as if the pyramid were upside down. But it's not over yet...making progress is a slow but satisfying challenge.

I'm wearing my first pair of non-maternity pants TODAY!! :)


Chunky Photojournalist Barbie said...

Hi! I'm one of Gwen's friends from high school and beyond. I loved the prompt on her blog, so I wrote one on mine. Thanks for that, my blog has been incredibly photo heavy in recent months.

My lunch entry is here:

April said...

Just came across this post about 15 minutes before I had to walk out the door to meet a friend. I immediately had a school lunch experience in mind, and I had 15 minutes. I've never done "writing exercises" and I loved the finite nature of it! I ended up taking 17 minutes and was a little late for my friend, but it was worth it. Thank you. Please, please, please give me MORE. :-)

I had scribbled it onto the back side of some of Jacob's drawings and jolted out the door, so I've typed it here:

A hermetically sealed ham and cheese sandwich ("gas station sandwiches" my dad calls them) and a bag of sour cream and onion Lay's. That is what I had for lunch almost every day of the week. After a chilly morning I might have a can of Campbell's chicken noodle soup they kept in a sort of soup incubator. It was really appealing to me that it was already warm when I picked it up - no microwave necessary. Even on soup days, though, I'd have my sour cream and onion potato chips. I can remember waiting in the lunch line feeling that abject hunger only a teenager really knows. This was just before the days of willfully starving my body into slender submission, before that empty-bellied feeling was a sign of victory, and I was rarely in a worse mood than when I was standing in the lunch line in ninth grade.

One day, I inadvertently skipped in front of someone in line. This person tapped me on the shoulder and informed me of my mistake. It was Nathan Rickard*, a skinny, big-lipped boy and known Star "Trekkie". I was ready to move until I saw who it was complaining. When I did realize it was Nathan, I am ashamed to admit, I just turned back around and ignored him. He tapped again, and when I turned around I saw his hand held up in a symbolic gesture: middle two fingers together, pinkie and pointer splayed out, thumb crooked. "Die young and bear no children," he said in a hard tone but with no malice. It took me quite a while to realize that he was gesturing and voicing the opposite of Spock's blessing, "Live long and prosper." I don't remember how I responded.

Nathan was a quiet boy, and even though ours was a very small school I don't much remember interacting with him outside of that day. I just remember calling an old friend one weekend when I was home visiting from college. "Have you heard?" she asked, "Nathan Rickard shot himself."

I don't think I cried. Again, I don't really remember. But, I think about that incident in the lunch line in ninth grade more often than I like, and I feel guilty.

*name changed out of respect and just in case his family are blog readers.