Advice sought

Well, this weekend is the Nebraska Writer’s Conference. I wasn’t going to go. I had no interest in going. In fact, I really didn’t care all that much about renewing my membership to the Nebraska Writer’s Guild this year. Now that it is here, however, I’m glad that somewhere in that fog I had some sense that I should not retreat from the world entirely and that April might look a whole lot different than January.

Except for one thing.

I still do not know what to read aloud.

Last year, my readers selected an entry for me, In which I beat of a coyote with a box of Rice Chex. It was a good choice. It was my very first public reading and my audience laughed in all the right places. That was an incredible boost to my confidence as a writer and quelled some of my fears of some day going out in the “real” world to market a book.

But this year, I am again stuck. And I am again asking for your input. I have ten minutes to share a sample of my writing which consists mostly of this blog.

Which entry would you recommend?

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0 Responses

  1. The flashes of anger post. It puts words to feelings that are so difficult to express. Everyone can relate even if they haven’t felt that same degree of loss. Not humorous, but I bet this year everyone cries at just the right places instead.
    Alison recently posted…Butter!My Profile

  2. I expect it would be hard for you to read, but honestly, I think “Of heartache and hope” is one of the most meaningful things I have read in a while.

  3. I cannot imagine that any of the posts about Tiggy will be easy to read, but you have poured your heart into each article to the point that your readers can feel your pain, your anger, your hope. “Of Heartache and Hope” is encouraging and uplifting, giving insight to the healing that is taking place in your family.

  4. We’ll just assume for the moment that I’ll be ABLE to read. I fear anything could be hard to get through. Going over old entries make me cry because they are all like little photos of what life was like before, and Tiggy is still there whether I mentioned in or not.
    Dana recently posted…Advice soughtMy Profile

  5. i just went and re-read “of heartache and hope” and i agree. it’s perfect. and as i type this i’m crying for you and your family yet again, so i know that people will feel the emotion that you so lovingly put into that post. the lawnmower part…*sigh*

    i admire your ability to write such raw emotion into your posts. you are a wonderful writer. i feel the heartache and hope. hope prevails, and if you choose to read, God will give you the strength to do it.

    good luck choosing!

  6. Dana, this may be difficult, however, what about a few samplings of your writings since December? Putting them together, one can get a feel for your pain and your healing. Your thoughts and the thoughts of your children and the wisdom of a loving mother who at times feels like she may be hanging on by her fingernails. I went through your posts and picked my personal thought provoking favorites:
    December – For a Moment I forget ( I like what you said in it about the numbness you felt being a possible gift from God ), January – Flashes of Anger , February – More Thank Words Can Say ( I think it’s a blessing when we can ask our children to pray for us just as we pray for them ) , March – The Amazing Thing about Love ( My personal favorite ). When I read your request, that was my first thought. Perhaps read them in order with the dates in front of that particular writing. Sort of like reading a diary. Another favorite was “words matter”.

    Although, if you wanted to be funny, you could put out there the one with the camera. For some reason, I wasn’t able to locate that one again. 🙂 Although, you would have to also read the comments as those were a bonus in material.

    Heavenly Father, give Dana strength and peace. Grant her grace in her reading and may she represent her thought provoking blog so that those who hear may be as touched as those who read. Amen!

    In Him, we are blessed, even when we don’t know “why”.

  7. I agree with the votes for “Of Heartache and Hope”, although rereading “We Are a Happy Family” makes me see the similarities in the posts. In both, you show how you’re struggling to cope with staggering loss, but tiny beams of hope are starting to shine through. I personally like “Of Heartache and Hope” more, but either would be a good choice. It will be very difficult to read either one, but people can relate with your writing about loss and the reality of life continuing despite the pain on such a deep level.

  8. Dana
    I have such an enormous amount of respect for you, and I don’t even know you. I also think that a compilation of your writing is best to share. It is impossible to choose one, considering what happened these past few months. Here are the ones that really struck a chord with me. “This is what I hold on to.” “What hurts the most” “Facing a new year” “We are a happy family” “Flashes of anger” “When a picture is all you have left” “More than words can say” “Missing my little boy” “Small talk” “Staring out my window” and “Words Matter”. And of course one of the most gut-wrenching things I have ever read is your post “What happened”. No matter what you choose, know that you can’t go wrong. I still pray for you and your family by the way, when I come to your blog. I cannot imagine what it is like, as I have not lost a child, but I do pray that God will help you through this difficult time.

  9. I think because it is so real and so fresh it would be really hard but to be real and open the one about ‘the accident’ … would be my choice. Maybe not yet, maybe not now, but the story is beautifully written with such emotion. You could just write a new one and say, ‘Our lives changed on this day, Our family changed when this happened.’ And share a part of your journey. Ten minutes isn’t too long of a talk, but the depth of emotion could be overwhelming unless you pace yourself. Anything you choose will be good.

  10. I went back & read some…and I agree with ‘Sherry’ above. Might be powerful to put together several posts – including a brief bit from what happened to Tiggy- but mostly focusing on how you’ve processed it thru these blog postings.

    And no, I don’t think anyone will be laughing…but that’s okay. Trying to drum up something humorous would be like donning a mask; a facade to cover the staggeringly traumatic truth of what this year has held for your family.

    Be real. Share your heart. As you have done here. Laughter is fun…but truth and vulnerability and honesty can change lives.
    You’ve helped change this one.

    As always – thank you –
    Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight recently posted…Nitty-Gritty ForgivenessMy Profile

  11. oh Dana…..I agree with all the above posts. Your writing is so eloquent…truthful and inspiring. I have cried just reading these comments. You and your family have affected so many people on such a deep level. And you have increased awareness about terrible tragedies that can happen in our homes. God WILL bless you with the voice and the right choice of what and how to read….

  12. Teri, when I first started thinking about this, I sort of assumed I’d read an older post. But when I started going through them, they were harder for me to read. It did feel “fake.” They’re hard for me to read because Mattias is still there and he’s even mentioned in a number of them. If I break down crying in front of everyone, it will be easier (I think) if the post isn’t intended to be humorous.

  13. Anything you have written about Tiggy. Because, think about it. I am a compete stranger and yet because of your beautiful words, your gift of putting pen to paper, well fingers to keyboard in this case, I feel as though I know your Tiggy. I can bring his sweet face to mind easily. I can envision him in the garden walking steps behind you parroting your actions of planting seeds. I can see him watching the ducks and geese and toddling like a little drunken sailor saying “chickie, chickie, chickie”.

    Because you write so vividly, precisely, beautifully…I see and know Tiggy. Isn’t that the deepest desire of a writer? To write what they know most about, where their passion lies and for their audience to feel deeply what they feel.

    You do that with each post Dana. But with the Tiggy posts, well they are on a whole different level. Tiggy has changed your life in a hundred thousand ways and his death has broken your heart in equal numbers. When you write about that, we feel something and we love our families and kids more. We sweat the small stuff less. We say thank you!

    Read about Tiggy. I know I love to!!!

  14. How about doing snatches from posts on Tiggy and how God is helping you through each phase. There are women who need to hear your story, know that it is okay to feel hurt,anger and fear .They need to know that despite all this God gives strength. I love the way you write Dana and I know the LORD will show you just at the right time what to do. Be blessed

  15. Dana, every year I stand up in front of a group of people and retell the story of my stillbirth. The first year it was damn hard and I broke down and cried all the way through it, and although it touched people and was moving for them, I’m not sure if it was the best for them or for me. The same thing happened the year after my mom died and my emotions were too raw and new.

    But this year, with time and distance, I got my best reviews ever because I was able to give my delivery without too much sadness but with heartfelt sentiment.

    Don’t know if that will help you but that was my experience.
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  16. I am so terrible with words…..if I could say anything…I would say what “Melinda” said. It is exactly what my heart wants to say!!!!!

    One of the closest to my heart was “What hurts the most”. It is sooo hard to express that deep pain and the pain of your children and you do it beautifully!! It puts words to you and your children’s tears. But I fear I would never even attempt that. I can’t imagine you would be able to. But please don’t feel bad if you cry in front of strangers. I so wish we all could be more “real” with others. Seems like we live in a fake world where everything is fine, except us. But in reality we ALL have felt pain that deep, but were too afraid to share it. We can all relate and personally it helps me not feel so different. It sort of joins our hearts. You are such a wonderful writer…I feel as if I’m right there with you, feeling and seeing everything.

    And like Melinda…..I want to say thank you too 🙂

  17. Dana, everything on your blog is absolutely riveting. Whatever you pick will be perfect. I agree with Melinda. Read about Tiggy if you’re up to it. But if you’re not ready yet (personally I wouldn’t be!), then I really like the entry about the day when the sunshine pulled your daughter out of herself and she went outside to play. A lot of raw emotion in that one, but it also offers a reason to smile. Hugs to you! =)
    Alina Joy recently posted…Getting Started With Scripture MemoryMy Profile

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