Browsing all posts in: Family

On Love, Life

March 31

Maybe it’s the hormones, maybe it’s my age. I don’t know and I’m not interested in speculating on the specifics of either. But I’ve been very reflective of late and I thought it was time to share.

I started dating my husband at the end of 1984. We were really young. We married in June of 1988 and have lived “happily ever after” since. But that’s a storybook cliche. The truth is so much more complicated – and so much better.

We were so new back then. Our relationship was like a bright, shiny penny laying in the sun. There was lots of flash – in passion, in anger, in joy. We made our way, confident in the permanence of what we had, creating a cocoon in which to protect the precious life we built. As we added to that life, in the form of two beautiful daughters, the flash turned fluid and the days flowed one in to the next, exhaustion becoming a constant companion.

Now we’re older. Our relationship is older too. Our youngest is nearly grown and the oldest has already moved on to her own adventure. We’re looking back with wonder at how quickly it all went but we’re also looking forward toward a new phase of our lives. The bright shiny penny may no longer glint in the sun and the hectic pace of young children has eased. But what’s left has the depth and richness of the finest champagne and chocolate and savoring each drop is a new delight.

When I hear people speak in horrific tones of the tragedy of only sleeping with one person for the rest of their lives – another cliche – I shake my head and chuckle. They just don’t get it. We know each other more intimately than I ever could have imagined, a pleasure in the heart as well as the bedroom. We don’t jockey for position the way we did when we were young. We are confident in the knowledge that there’s room enough for both of us, our needs, desires, hopes and dreams. We find as much joy in the success of the other as we ever found in our own. Maybe more. And we savor. Everything. Every taste of that miraculous chocolate. Every sip of that glorious champagne.

But all this makes me wonder. If it’s so much better now than I ever imagined it could be, what will I say in twenty-five more years?

May-December Psychosis

December 20

I recently told a colleague that it’s been a bad month for me. She assumed I meant that things were bad/something was wrong – you get the idea. But that’s not it at all. My problem is that it’s December. I could just as easily say it’s May.

Any writer with kids, or even just a big family, knows what I’m talking about. How do you write when you have choir concerts, orchestra concerts, band concerts, holiday pageants, charitable obligations, holiday parties, travel, company – and that’s on top of holiday cards, shopping, cleaning, decorating, cooking and baking? (If it’s May, substitute end of school year/beginning of summer for holiday) I’m exhausted just writing the list. So back to the question, how do you write when you’re going out of your mind?

I’m a big Nike fan on this topic. I say, “just do it.” I believe that in order to be a writer I must write. Now by write I also mean non-prose work related to my WIP. So it may be plotting, or blogging, or character development, or editing. But I’m determined to spend a minimum of twenty minutes a day doing work related to my writing, even on the most hectic of days. And twenty minutes a day is enough, for two reasons. First off, I can take comfort in the fact that I did indeed get something done. And as any writer knows, that comfort can help sustain us through a lot of self-loathing. Second, and more important, that twenty minutes may get me on a roll that carries me until I look at the clock on the corner of the screen, swear loudly, and leap up to prepare for the next thing, whatever it is. Either way, I’ve accomplished something.

So take your twenty minutes every day, even if all you can muster is a blank stare at the pages of your WIP. Do it while the dough is rising, or before you go to bed, or while your supportive family is doing the dinner dishes. Just do it.

The Five Minute Diva

January 7

I keep threatening that when my book is published I’m going to become a real diva … for five minutes. I figure that’s as long as I’d be able to stand myself. But with publication imminent I’ve been trying to figure out how to do the diva thing and I’m lost.

When the first galley came and it was fraught with errors I thought that would be the perfect time to be a diva. I could stomp and scream about how these problems were screwing up my ego extravaganza. In fact, I was just gearing up, upon finding the sixth problem, when a colleague smiled and said, “you know we’ll laugh about this someday.” I protested that it was not that day. She agreed and suggested I wait. That was it. The moment was gone. I was successfully de-diva’d.

I’ve been thinking about my diva plan ever since. I’m trying to find a way to make it work but I’m having a lot of trouble. I mean,what better opportunity would there have been than when things were so screwed up. But as I wait for the new galley to arrive I can’t seem to muster up the ego. Maybe when the error-free galley is in my hands and I can announce the book to the world … but I doubt it.

The truth is I rarely focus on me, me, me – though as much as I’ve worked lately my family might disagree. I tend to focus on others, on mentoring – I’m big on karma. I know how incredibly lucky I am. I get to stay home with my kids, work on my dream and have a husband who supports me and applauds every success. Ditto my daughters. I’ve had amazing mentors and incredible colleagues who’ve made my way easier. Doesn’t seem right to lord it over everyone. Seems a better use of my time to be there for others.

As I drum my nails on the desk, willing the new galley to arrive, I still mull over my desire to be a five minute diva. I guess when it gets here I’ll see what I can come up with. Maybe if I got a pedestal and a tiara …

From Dickens To Fenway

December 28

(originally posted December 3, 2009)

A few years ago our beloved blue-point Siamese, Isis, died. To say hearts were broken would be an understatement. Several months later the desire to share our lives with a pet overcame our misery and we went in search of our new companion, a dog. The decision to switch species was based entirely on the fact that I am terribly allergic to cats and was enjoying being medication free. But I digress.

With a “humane society friendly” extended family we had one choice – adopt. Despite several false starts we found our new best friend, Dodger, a beagle basset mix. The owner was ill and wanted to place him before her condition deteriorated further and very much liked the fact that he would be going to a family with children who would undoubtedly fawn over him. So a well-trained Dodger came home with us.

Dodger was in our house twenty-four hours when he stole an unopened raisin bread off the kitchen counter and devoured it in its entirety. To fully appreciate the absurdity of this it is important to note that he has stubby basset legs and the raisin bread was pushed back on the counter. But this hound’s determination to find everything he could possibly eat propelled him off the ground and far enough onto the counter to claim his prize. We changed his name to the Artful Dodger and vowed to keep things as far back on the counters as possible.

In the few years we’ve had the Artful Dodger we’ve pretty much destroyed any and all good behaviors he once had. He’s well loved, ridiculously well fed and probably the happiest member of our family. He’s had many “bad thief” episodes, though I’m sure that nothing he’s stolen has made its way back to Fagan. For example, when he got into my older daughter’s halloween candy one year I know he kept it all for himself because we were seeing wrappers, and picking them up with new incarnations of their former contents, for days.

But it’s the Artful Dodger’s new talent that has prompted this writing. His ability to catch the wildest toss has become legend. He can actually leap several feet in the air, despite his stubby basset legs. He can catch while in any position and has been known to launch toward a morsel only to fall backward in his nearly 100% successful attempts to obtain the object of his desire. So we fear he may be leaving us in April, having become such an amazing catcher that we expect a letter any day informing us he’s been drafted by a Red Sox minor league farm team.

The Red Sox suck.

You are a bad, bad man to tarnish my blog in that way. But what else could I expect from a Cubs fan.

So You Want A Sugar-Mama?

December 28

(originally posted November 26, 2009)

Let me tell you about my husband, Jim. He wants a Sugar-Mama and I think he’s earned it.

Sixteen years ago I took a four month leave to have our first child, Emma. It was a joyous time until I started exploring daycare options. What I discovered was that the people in the “baby rooms” of the local daycare facilities were overburdened and the children that got the most attention were the noisiest and most demanding. Emma was a really good baby; I was afraid she’d never get any attention. And for that privilege we were about to part with a high percentage of my salary. So Jim and I assessed our situation, decided to do without … well, everything and he said, “stay home.” He’s borne all the financial responsibility for our family ever since.

When our younger daughter, Abby, arrived thirteen years ago, I began to write professionally. Writing has a long apprenticeship, especially when you’re trying to squeeze it in during naps and after bedtime. Through the exhaustion of two small children and an unpaid pipe dream of glory my husband supported me, cheering every success. And with each corporate move he was determined that I let him handle more of that settling-in so I could get my writer’s groups up and running and get back to the novel I set aside. Through these many years I’ve honed my craft, published numerous essays and short stories, won six awards and written two novels.

We celebrated our twenty-first anniversary in June, our blackjack anniversary, and I’ve been feeling very lucky. After all these years of working I’m on the cusp of realizing my dreams. Excited though I am, I keep thinking about Jim. He made it possible for me to pursue my dreams. He’s been an amazing support. He believed in me when I ran out of belief in myself. He never wavered. He just keeps saying he’s waiting for me to succeed so I can be his sugar-mama.

So Jimmy, with success on the horizon, I’m using this very public forum to tell you how grateful I am and how absolutely incredible you are. I am soooo going to be your sugar-mama!

Deb Lupnacca
November 28, 2009 at 4:55 am

Love this ! Great thoughts.

Frieda Cooks

December 28

(originally posted November 13, 2009)

In my novel, Poles Apart, Frieda cooks. A lot. Now this is in no way surprising because Frieda is Jewish and Jewish women cook. It’s required – in the DNA or something. And Jewish women are good cooks. Very good cooks. I’ve never actually heard of a bad Jewish cook. Oh, you hear of the occasional badly made dish… For example, I had an aunt whose matzo balls were so hard I heard they were licensed by the American League for  world series play. But I digress.

So Frieda cooks because her family needs to eat. But that’s just the beginning of why Frieda cooks. Frieda loves to cook and she knows that the mere mention of her cooking sets the mouths of those who know her to watering. She’s that good. People don’t even need to catch a whiff of the aroma. She loves that. But she also cooks because there is no Jewish culture without food. Food is used in religious ritual but it’s more than that. It’s about coming together around the table. No matter what else is happening in life, in the community or in the world, everyone has to eat and you might as well make it a celebration.

But my favorite reason that Frieda cooks is because Frieda loves. Deeply and completely. No matter what she’s up to, matchmaking, meddling in her family’s lives, or creating a feast, Frieda gives her love through the food she feeds them. And they feel the love in the eating. And that’s what really makes Frieda’s cooking so delicious.

Terri
November 15, 2009 at 9:50 pm

I agree! I can’t wait to taste some of Frieda’s love!

Audrey Wyatt, right-brained to a fault, has worked in various arts – most notably acting, teaching and creating children’s theater curricula. Now a fiction writer, she bases her novels, short stories and even a television sitcom on her experiences and culture. Her stories often feature strong-willed, quirky women. Audrey’s novel, Poles Apart, has been honored with five awards and her essays and short fiction have been published in various forums, both print and online.  For a full list of Audrey’s credits as well as links to her work, check out her Bibliography.

Always one to foster aspiring artists, Audrey founded Southeast Valley Fiction Writers near Phoenix, Arizona, and Bay State Writers in Southeast Massachusetts. She is a founding partner in LitSisters and LitSisters Publishing. She also created and teaches workshops on Creative Writing and Memoir Writing.

Audrey has enjoyed living all over the country, from the Pacific to the Atlantic.  She currently makes her home in Los Angeles with her incredible husband, their two terrific daughters, and their beagle-basset mix, the Artful Dodger.

To contact Audrey RL Wyatt, please email audrey@audreyrlwyatt.com

Awards, Accomplishments & Publications

Novel, Poles Apart, Third Place in Alabama Writer’s Conclave Annual Competition, 2009

Novel, Poles Apart, Honorable Mention in Frontiers in Writing Annual Contest, 2009

Humor, My Big Fat Hillbilly Wedding, published on You Tube by Folded Word Press in Shape of a Heart, 2009

Founder, Southeast Valley Fiction Writers, 2008

Essay, Inevitability of Time, published in Motherwords, Issue 3, 2008

Essay, Ticket to Ride, published by Survivor’s Review Volume XI, 2008

Fiction, The Box, published in Conceit Magazine, 2008

Novel, Poles Apart, Honorable Mention in the Ft. Bend Writer’s Guild 25th Annual Novel Contest, 2008

Essay, The Inevitability of Time, published in Conceit Magazine, 2008

Essay, Ticket to Ride, Honorable Mention in Write Helper, 2008

Essay, Inevitability of Time, can be seen in the anthology, Silver Boomers, published by Silver Boomer Books, 2008

Novel, Poles ApartSecond Place in The Sandy, Crested Butte Writers Conference Annual Contest, 2007

Essay, Dear Mothers, can be seen in the anthology, Letters To My Mother published by Adams Media, 2007

Fiction, The Box, published by Long Story Short, 2007

Humor, My Big Fat Hillbilly Wedding, published by Long Story Short, 2007

Novel, Poles Apart, Semi-Finalist in the international Summer Literary Seminars annual fiction contest, 2006

Founder, Bay State Writers, 2005

Cami Butler Memorial Writing Scholarship, Pikes Peak Writers Conference, 2004

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