Surly Girlie

Writing to figure things out and just because she likes it


I have been looking at all of these amazing blog-sites where people are really freeing themselves from having a particular blog theme or focus and choosing instead to just see where their writing takes them. This is something I constantly preach to my students. Write into (your own) knowing, I might say. And they usually look at me with an expression that reads, “Okay, hippy-dippy, yoga-smelling teacher.” (I don’t smell like yoga. I don’t even do yoga. That’s just something I think they think I do). However, like most advice, it is easier to dispense than it is to practice. And so, I find myself thinking about what to write and it seems easier to write for my students about my summer (something they will never read, but I do it anyway) than to just write about myself for myself, and that is sort of sad, I think. Or perhaps it’s the mark of maturity? After all, I have filled spiral notebooks by the hundreds with the mysterious “broodings” of my soul.  They seem pretty pointless to me now, but on an occasion I will sit and read them and ponder how much I have changed and how little I haven’t. So, here I am trying to write a blog and wondering why and then deciding I really don’t need a reason.

This summer has been different than I expected so far.  My Gran Florence’s death has reunited my family with our “McCreery” cousins on the West Coast.  It also meant I went to California twice in two weeks, which was odd, but fine.  I had a previoulsy planned vacation with my friend Holly and so, the funeral and the vacation were four days a part. Also, my father’s family (and mine, obviously) from Pennsylvania are coming to the beach for a reunion sort of vacation.  So, I have been in touch with my paternal relatives and my father much more than ever I think and my dad wants this vacation to be really special for the “PA Peeps” as I am calling them and gave me the task of creating welcome buckets for when they check in at Litchfield Beach Resort. I love crap like that! I’m a craft cornball at heart. (Hey, there’s a clever blog title, full of alliteration! Crafty Cornball Crap. I like it).

I have put myself on the vampire schedule of my youth. I stay up until 2 or 3 AM and then wake-up at varying times from 10-12 PM. It suits me just fine except that I know I am at odds with all the malarkey I read in magazines about “getting up early for that morning jog!” I feel I can be more creative late at night when the only sound is the infrequent snoring of Jim from the bedroom and the intermittent clinkety-clink of the ceiling fan’s toggle. I surf the net, watch bad TV (think E! and Bravo!). I organize drawers and label, label, label! I spray for bugs and do the dishes and sometimes the laundry. I google random things like “how to make your own doggie door” because if we ever have a cat again the litter box is going to be very far away in the garage and the door to the garage will have a doggie door. I read a lot. I like to read more than one book at a time and I love magazines. I craft and think about crafting. My mom gave me a loom like I used to have when I was eight or nine. Maybe you had one? The kind that comes with loopy elastics that you string to make potholders? No? Well, get one. There tons of fun. All of these things feel incredibly indulgent when I think about the world racing around without me.

Life would be more bearable if everyone could get off the wheel, disappear from the grid. I had a boyfriend once who loved punk music. He used to always say, “Because if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.” And, I agree. It is so hard to s.l.o.w. myself down, even with all of this time to moodle.  I have to remind myself to stop and take a breath because I will find myself unconsciously jazzed on Diet Coke running from one task to the other buzzing from the “I can check this off my list” mentality, and what is that all about?

It takes such a huge amount of time to really get to the point where one can even begin to ask the question. WTF? What am I doing? And then the year ticks by. And then its Christmas again. And then your nieces are going to school. And then…well, you get the point.

I love the play Our Town by ThorntonWilder because it stresses this point in the most “crafty cornball” way possible.  If you have never read it, please rent/or netflix the PBS version where Paul Newman plays the Stage Manager. Life rushes by so quickly and in the midst of it all are these beautiful ordinary treasures. Quiet and moons and chocolate and memories and love and laughter and yes, sorrow, too.   It’s not that I am too stupid to realize such things, I mean after all, Oprah has told us all we must have gratitude journals! However, it is simply that I do it all too fast.

One of my lovely Southern friends said with genuine kindness, “I think you would come across (pause)… differently if you just went a little slower.” She was referring to the cadence of my speech at meetings and with students. (One of the gifts of Southern womyn is that they find it almost rude to rush through anything, and so enjoy everything…differently.)

But being the zippity-do-da go getting Midwestern gal that I am, I feel the thrill from crossing off the list. Getting it done. Being effective. This is all well and good, but as I am defintely over the hill or at least at it’s daunting precipice, I am seeing that time will go by faster and that I will have to move more slowly. 

When I lived with my Grammy in Southern Indiana about ten or fifteen years ago, she told me that her mother used to say, “Why are you in such a hurry, Mary?” when they were walking to town. She said the same thing to me once in her driveway bustling in to the car, “Why are you in sucha hurry, Shannie?” and then she told me about her mother.

I’m sure my answer was, “I don’t know.” And that is still the truth.

But what I do know now is that there are times when going slowly is exactly what the doctor ordered and for me, summer is that time. I will try. I will try. I will try to stop and smell the roses more than I wake up and smell the coffee. This is sure to irk many, but it is my life to be lived as slowly as I like.


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One thought on “Slowly

  1. Oh Shannon, I could read you forever. Coming from a person that runs on the slower side, I need to speed it up every once in awhile. I say balance, balance, balance.

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