November 6, 2020 It is 8:55 a.m. ON FRIDAY MORNING and I am sitting outside cross-legged on my purple yoga mat. It's 50 degrees and the new iris is a few feet away from me.
I have five journals piled here at my feet, they complete the first draft of HEAL LEAH LEAH HEAL.
The two green journals, miraculously, are exactly nine months apart. THEY ARE LIKE BOOKENDS FOR THE MEMOIR.
I started the LEAH HEAL book with a chapter called "LEAH IN THE FROZEN LAWN" on February 6, 2020. I never posted that first chapter on this blog.
Nine months later, I have just written: "LEAH, UNFROZEN, CONTEMPLATES THE CRYSTALLINE IRISES."
So perhaps the first draft of the book is done. I will ask that question in meditation. I will wait for an answer.
November 8, 2020 How odd! When I went to write the date in my journal, I first wrote it as:
February 8, 2020
I am being drawn back to the first GREEN JOURNAL. I am being drawn back to read the first draft of the book.
I am trying to absorb and digest the fact that this book may be finished. Is it? Have I told the whole healing story?
7:51 am: I am rereading HEAL LEAH LEAH HEAL. I read the first chapter:
"LEAH IN THE FROZEN LAWN"
I like what I read.
I read the second chapter:
"LEAH AT SUNRISE." It too reads well.
I send both chapters to my friends Peg and Renee. Peg has been reading the book from the beginning. Renee has just started reading.
I need readers. And these two friends are some of the best.
I need perspective. I NEED TO KEEP READING THE BOOK.
February 9, 2020 IT HAPPENED AGAIN, INSTEAD OF WRITING NOVEMBER 9, 2020, I
WRITE FEBRUARY 9, 2020.
Finally I slow down and pick up my red pen and cross out February 9, 2020 and write:
NOVEMBER 9, 2020 After reading four more chapters of the book, I perceive a break in the flow of the narrative. We go from the opening Leah chapters, which are paced well. None of them were blog posts. I come to a chapter called:
"MOM AND THE MIRACLE OF THE ORCHIDS." It's the first chapter I put up on the blog. The tone feels different.
And then I go back to the original GREEN JOURNAL. The one that began on February 6, 2020.
I flip through the pages. And I see that every page is filled with English and Italian. I see that every page is chock full of realizations I am making in therapy with Mary. I am wrestling throughout the month of February with fear and anxiety, specifically in terms of my mother. And her asthma.
7:59 A.M. I CHANGE TO WRITING IN RED INK: I AM WRESTLING IN THAT JOURNAL WITH ME SITTING BY HER BED, AS SHE IS HUNCHED OVER PILLOWS, STRUGGLING TO BREATHE.
VIRTUALLY NONE OF THE MATERIAL IN THE JOURNAL PAGES ARE REFLECTED IN THE BOOK.
AND NOW, READING THE BOOK, AND LOOKING BACK AT THE JOURNAL I THINK:
SO MUCH IS MISSING IN THE FIRST DRAFT OF THE HEALING STORY.
Shouldn't I be writing some of that material into the book?
RECALL THIS: YOU ONLY REALIZED ABOUT A MONTH AGO THAT LEAH'S NAME
8:04 A.M. TIME TO STOP JOURNALING AND DO YOGA. TIME TO GET BACK INTO MY BODY.
I MUST WAIT FOR INSPIRATION ON HOW TO HANDLE THIS ISSUE OF
REVISION. REALIZING NOW:
WHEN YOU WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT OF A BOOK, YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE HEADED.
WHEN YOU WRITE THE SECOND DRAFT,
YOU HAVE THE
COMPLICATION (OR IS IT THE ADVANTAGE?) OF HAVING INSIGHT INTO THE
WHOLE ARC OF THE NARRATIVE.
What will I do? How much of the journal material belongs in the book?
8:15 a.m. What will I do? How much of the February 6 journal material belongs in the book?
8:18 a.m. I HAVE TO STOP READING THE DRAFT OF HEAL LEAH. I NEED TO CAREFULLY REREAD THE FEBRUARY 6TH GREEN JOURNAL (WHICH LOOKS JUST LIKE THIS GREEN NOVEMBER 9TH JOURNAL.) I NEED TO CONSIDER ADDING DETAILS FROM THERAPY.
WHY DOES THAT FEEL SCARY?
BECAUSE I BARE MY SOUL IN MY JOURNAL.
8:23 AM: IT FEELS OVERWHELMING. BECAUSE IT FEELS CONFUSING, AS IN
WHAT IS THE BOOK?
WHAT IS THE JOURNAL?
AND WHAT IS THE BLOG?
And then I remember what Mary says to do
WHENEVER EVENTS THREATEN TO GO OUT OF CONTROL:
8:26 A.M. I CHANGE FROM RED INK TO PURPLE:
BATHE THE BOOK IN PURPLE FLAMES!
JOURNAL ENTRY NOVEMBER 10, 2020
7:49 a.m. I bathed the book in purple flames all during my meditation this morning. I felt nervous about trying to read the FIRST GREEN JOURNAL but I just kept bathing the book in violet and purple flames.
I got up and walked into the kitchen where the FIRST GREEN JOURNAL lay on the counter. I opened it at random to
JOURNAL ENTRY February 10, 2020 (EXACTLY NINE MONTHS AGO TODAY!)
A NEW DAY!
8:00 a.m. Even after tapping I can still feel twinges of panic in my stomach but nothing comes up as the cause. I want to have a good feeling today. I don’t want that EVERYTHING IS BORING AND FROZEN feeling. Mary would say “you have to stay with what comes up. JUST KEEP OPENING YOUR HEART! Just keep opening up your heart. Yesterday when I texted Mary telling her I was in such a panic she wrote back: “Find the feeling you don’t want to name.”
Let the violet flames take away the fear and the panic! Stay with your open heart. Have patience and you will find GRACE. Is all of this just PTSD? I will go forward with the day and pray I can stay calm! Mary says when I’m having this frightened frozen feeling I am blocking some emotions.”
I stop typing the journal entry. I print it out. I slip the "JOURNAL ENTRY FEBRUARY 10, 2020" entry into place after the chapter called:
"WISE SAYINGS, WEIRD SIGNS."
So that is how I will approach the revision of HEAL LEAH LEAH HEAL. That is how I will read the FIRST GREEN JOURNAL. I will open it at random and type up some of the entries. AND MAYBE I WILL ADD THEM AND MAYBE I WON'T.
I feel relaxed. I know how I will go forward.
NOVEMBER 22, 2020 BY STAYING IN THE NOW.