Thursday, October 8, 2015

Freewrite of sorts: Letter to Papa, because I can

Dear Papa,

It's been really, unexpectedly busy lately.

I know you're probably wondering why I'm not writing more, Papa....well, unless you're so busy writing your book that you haven't noticed my pitiful output of words. That's probably the case, so I'm good.

You told me to treat this writing business like a job and not to piece meal my time away. What you told me not to do, I did. I gave away a ton of my time. The kids' school needed someone to do copier pool this week, and the better part of three days I've spent there. Eventually while waiting for that mightier-than-thou copier to spit out 3,020,500,019 copies, I realized I should be using the wait time to write, so I scrawled on a scrap piece of paper. What I wrote wasn't very good, though. And the copier kept jamming and moaning, asking for more toner and begging for coffee, lunch, and nap breaks and just in general being an attention hog. We now have a toxic relationship, that copier and me. I hope I don't see it again for a while, but I'm not betting on it.

Oh, funny aside: that copier can copy several pages at once into a packet and staple each one, but I didn't know that, so I copied a bazillion two-sided pages for a teacher, and then had to sort them into individual packets by page number and staple each one by hand. 75 packets of several pages each, it took me a couple hours. Not very efficient of me.

Also, your grandkids have been terrible stinkers on and off. Berto is stressed out in middle school, and snapped at me all the way home yesterday afternoon about television and homework, mad because his siblings got a half day, and he didn't. Daniel throws fits, demands stuff, and tells me I'm mean for getting after him for treating me like carp. Gabriella smarts off. Ana is fine besides putting too much pressure on herself. I do alot for those little rapscallions; they should appreciate me more instead of complaining about what I pack for their lunches.

I still want to write that mystery novel, but I'm going to check out a book at the local library on how to write a mystery novel first. I never had your gift with plots, and it would probably be best if things happened in this book instead of everybody milling around and talking to each other or getting lost in their own heads.

Right now I have three humor posts I'm working on, but I may have to ask your help with editing. I can't seem to wrap any of them up or get the tone or punch of certain lines just right. I would really hate to lose my momentum there, and that's what I fear: that I can't perform again, that I'll backslide.

Annie's visit this past weekend was wonderful. She was awesome with the kids, even letting them each paint a part of her face and buying them craft supplies for Halloween costumes. They'll never forget that! I hope she got all that paint out of her hair. We went out to eat twice in two days which amazed the kids, because they're so used to their parents being cheap.

Annie gave me a wonderful gift. I'm sure she told you about it, but I was shocked when I saw what it was: an original Beatles Abbey Road record. I couldn't wait to listen to it, and I'm also thinking about getting a really cool frame for it, so I can stare at it regularly on the wall. "Oh Darling!" is on there and "Octopus's Garden" and "Here Comes the Sun" - do you remember when Freddy died, and I listened to that one all the time? Annie gave me some of our childhood back; we used to listen to that record constantly together. It was my favorite. I even called that beautiful maple in the field on the north side of the house my Abbey Road tree, remember?

(Why is it, Papa, that my siblings always give me such amazing gifts, and I just really stink at giving them something incredible back? I never seem to find the personal and memorable treasures they do. They spoil me, and I don't deserve it at all. Maybe I'm amazed.)

One last thing about Annie's visit: I bet you'll never guess what we did? We argued and debated and almost ran for our boxing gloves. And guess what we did after that? We made up, and we laughed our heads off about how we are as a family (it all comes from your side, you know). We were drinking some Muscadine wine, the kind that Vinca introduced me to and that tastes like those muscadine grapes we used to pick in the lane, and Annie kept cracking me up by imitating how our family is when we're together like some big, crazy Mediterranean family as in Big, Fat Greek Wedding. She was witty in describing how we take someone else's business and rub it into our faces (It's not uh my business? It's not uh my business?! There! *rubs hands all over face* Now it's my business!), and how we leave our business on the other's doorstep, waiting for them to step in it. I'm starting to laugh just thinking about it. Matthew couldn't survive the debating/fisticuffs phase, so he missed out on the awesome after party. I think he goes into a temporary coma induced by exposure to overly emotional people.

Well, now you know what I've been up to. Oh, that reminds me; I want to write a humor post about our crazy family antics during reunions, too. I might have to steal some of Annie's material; I hope she doesn't mind.

I promise to work harder on my writing. When Danny first went to school, I was beside myself, craving company in the silence, and now I just wish I had the time and the quiet back once more. We always want what we don't have in the moment, huh?

Give Mama a big hug and kiss for me and tell her I miss her and often wish I could talk to her about "woman issues". She's such a calming influence, just like Matthew, Dave and Keith - haha! We really need them, all of us passionate folk.




  1. Yes, we do need those people. I could not have lived until now without your Mama, her calm nature, and genteel gentleness.
    About the writing - write when you can and when you want to write. I have learned to make myself write, and even when it seems like useless drivel, I often find later that it isn't that bad (of course, sometimes, it's worse). I must admit, completing Kelven's Riddle took a lot of pressure off. I can die content now, knowing that I accomplished that which I always wanted. Love you, Hoodoo.

    1. You accomplished a great thing there, Papa. I hope I also will get to it and write a book - just one book!

      Yes, I am very grateful for Matthew in my life. I don't always treat him as if I am, but I truly am. I always knew I would marry a steady man if it drove me crazy - haha!

    2. Uh, that should be "even" if it drove me crazy!

  2. Hillary... I just loved reading this precious letter. You are such a gifted writer and I enjoyed so very much, learning about the intricacies of your family dynamics and your precious relationship with them all.

    I love that there are moments where I giggled within the moments where I sighed... and nodded.

    And I completely understand the feelings of being 'unaccomplished' as a writer and feeling dreadfully discouraged with the dreams and goals of it all. Oh, do I understand!

    1. Oh, Christine, thank you for this wonderful comment. I have noticed how much you lift up others with your own words, and it inspires me.

      My family is nothing if not interesting! Get us together, and it's going to be a boxing match/noisy debate/hilarious improv comedy show/occasional sob fest.

      With our writing we just have to keep moving forward, keep working hard, right? Your latest post on your blog about how shouts from the sidelines can be applied to life was amazing and wise, one of my favorites of yours, and I hope my readers will check it out and then share it with their kids.


I love your comments!