An Ordinary Day in a Privileged Life, When the World Is Falling Apart

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“When the world is running down

You make the best of what’s still around” —Sting

As we heard the news of the final massacre in Aleppo on Tuesday, I felt things that are becoming all too familiar. There was, first and foremost, horror, heartbreak, and confusion about how such atrocities can keep happening, and incomprehension about what is wrong with human beings? In addition, it felt utterly perverse that my family and I were about to spend the evening decorating our Christmas tree in our safe (for now, anyway), warm house while this human catastrophe was happening simultaneously.

I woke up the next morning full of heartache and foreboding for Aleppo, and for everything that’s weighed heavily on my heart most prominently since the summer, beginning with the latest spate of police killings of unarmed black people, and intensifying with, of course, the election.

So I began another day with the question: How do I approach my relatively cushy (for now, anyway) life on the days when it seems like evil forces are taking over the whole world?

Continue reading

I’m Not The Mom Who Makes Halloween Costumes: A Story of Self-Acceptance (new on Parent.co)

Very scary spooks on Halloween

In preparation for Halloween, I didn’t wonder if this would be the year I finally learn how to use a sewing machine. I didn’t visit the craft store, hoping to be hit with creative inspiration as I stood in the aisles staring at rows of feathers and beads, felt and pipe cleaners. When I asked my kids what they wanted to be for Halloween, I had no secret agenda for them to pick something that seemed easy to throw together from brilliantly repurposed items.

Instead, giddy with freedom and happiness, I put the kids in the car and we headed straight for the second-hand shop to buy costumes.

Store-bought costumes are the eventual outcome in my house every year. So what made this year different? Click here to read the rest of the story on Parent.co. 

On Writing vs. Blogging and Fear (and a short playlist)

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Let’s talk about writing and fear.

Earlier this year, I had several essays published on sites other than this here blog. I’ve submitted a few more to different publications since then and received some form rejection letters, a few warm and encouraging personal rejection letters, and a whole lotta crickets. I’m learning a lot from the submission process, primarily that writing essays and submitting them to publications is an awesome thing to do if your ego needs a serious beating.

But I’ll keep at it. There are some essays for which I want to find a larger platform. And I want to work with editors, both to improve my writing and for the collaborative experience.

I am, however, feeling the difference between writing for that purpose and blogging. Continue reading

A New Ritual for the New Year

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I’m loving my new magnetic poetry set from Coyoteloon. I gave them as gifts to some special ladies in my life and got one for myself while I was at it. I figured it would be a fun little thing to have and didn’t give it much thought beyond that. But it has quickly become a loved morning ritual. Continue reading

India Travels and Writing: Why My Real-Time Blogging Plan Didn’t Happen

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“Sometimes the passion of life is happening at too great a volume to be simultaneously regurgitated.”—Amanda Palmer.

I’m fairly new to blogging. I started this one 7 months ago—a move that was way out of my comfort zone but very necessary. Luckily for the people in my life, I am torturing them a little less with long emails now that I have a proper outlet for my writing.   I’ve ignored the abundant blogging advice to avoid writing on multiple topics in favor of a tight focus.   So far, it’s been easy to avoid writer’s block since I’m writing about whatever I want.

That is, until recently when my family and I took our fifth trip to India—our first since I started writing.   Continue reading

“I’m Not Creative,” and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

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“Poetry often enters through the window of irrelevance.” — M.C. Richards

I can’t draw, so I’m not creative. The word “creative” is only for people who identify as artists, or who have God-given gifts in the arts that are obvious to everyone. I bought this story hook, line, and sinker at very young age, and held onto it until well into my forties.  Whenever I heard, “Everyone is creative” or similar, I always thought that was such bullshit.  Continue reading

Say Yes.

“Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.”—Tina Fey

I’ve always loved writing. Papers in school. Long letters, and later, emails. Journals. Proofreading, editing, and revising all things written for several family members.   Occasional masterfully crafted scathing texts to my husband (he insisted I include that!). That’s as far as I’ve taken it.

Now I’m 43, and as often happens in midlife, I am waking up to the precious, fleeting nature of this crazy, beautiful life. This means I want to live in alignment with what is most true for me. At long last, I must give integral parts of my being their due rather than continuing to pretend they aren’t real. (And if you’re a younger person reading this and it resonates at all, please begin NOW.) I’m claiming my writing, finally—accompanied by a few stomach butterflies, but without guilt, apology, or sheepishness. I’m doing it for me first. Yes. But I’m doing it for my loved ones, too.   Because nagging regret is a big time energy suck and joy-killer, not to mention a breeding ground for eventual bitterness. Removing a major source of all that means I have more love and more energy to give to others.

I don’t yet know all the reasons I have been holding back this part of me for decades. Fear of unworthiness as a writer surely is one. Being easily distracted is another. I may discover more over time about what took me so long. For now, I’m just happy the floodgates have opened!

I see this writing journey as part creative outlet and part spiritual practice—if there’s even any distinction between the two. The only question, then, was whether to make the journey privately via journaling or publicly via blogging. I have been floored at times by what people are willing to share on their blogs. I love that, because I get to read them. But I’ve said before that I’m much too private a person to ever do a personal blog myself.   And yet, here I am. So why would a private person like me start one? I don’t know, except to say that when I think of meeting this desire to write by simply journaling more regularly, it feels small and flat. When I think of doing more, and sharing some of it, that feels scary, but also lush and colorful and expansive. I want to do the thing that feels like more. That’s all I know, and I decided for now, it’s reason enough.

I’m ignoring all the blogging advice that says every blog must have a tight focus. Some possible topics include home, family and parenting stuff, midwifery and women’s health, homeschooling, life in a bicultural family, writing and the fledgling creative process, music, world travel, and/or spiritual growth.  Whew! Whatever the topic, I want to write about making the most of the opportunities life hands us to learn how to live and love better, and I hope to connect with others trying to do the same. If I waited for my brain to pin it down any more than that, I may never get started. So I’m saying YES first—then I’ll figure it out!

Welcome, and thanks for joining me!

Love,

Camille

© Camille Williams and Wake Up, Mama!  2015