Wednesday, October 3, 2018

#TheIWSG October and Poland Excerpt

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.
The awesome co-hosts for the October 3 posting are: 
Dolorah, Tanya Miranda, Chemist Ken, and Christopher D. Votey.

Optional Question this Month: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

Quick answer: Major life events usually slow down or change my fiction writing process and send me deeper into my journal writing. I have a lot of short bits from the last few years - chapters, short stories, massive journal entries (10 pages sometimes), and the like. Currently, I'm painting the interior of my house and my writing has slowed a bit for that, but I'm still working at it.

One event that changes my writing is travel. It's fun, it's usually wonderful, and it's distracting. I write odd descriptions during travel times - I have a 12 page journal entry from a layover in the Toronto airport from my last trip in Poland. It includes two short stories and a description of various people in the airport. I continued that trend on most of my trip, mixing stories with descriptions, and reflections on the trip. 

On an eight day trip with a major time change, I admit that I struggled with jet lag and an oncoming cold. My camera was having issues and I really didn't take as many pictures as I have on past trips. By the time I took my first flight towards home, I had a fever and merely tried to get enough anti-cough medicine into my system to stave off my symptoms enough not to spread my illness. I also had wet wipes and hand sanitizer, but it was a bit of an uncomfortable journey on the way home followed by the worst "regular" sickness I've had in a few years. 

Memorial in a park

However, I'm still very thankful for the opportunity to go and to see a small part of Poland. Poznan is a beautiful city, bustling with regular life, universities, some historical sites, and an amazing race course for flat-water sprint events. However, the race course is on Lake Malta, a beautiful place with a harrowing past. Lake Malta was hand dug by Jews during the German occupation of Poland. Poland is the home of the remains of concentration camps, memories of the Holocaust, and tributes to the Polish Revolution from Communism. I didn't have a chance to visit all of these places, but I did see some and I heard about more of it from other parents who traveled alongside Team USA. 

Tribute to the Polish Revolution in the park where the Pope spoke to Polish Youth

I found myself moved to reflection and prayer more often than bursts of excited tourism on the first part of my trip. I prayed in a park with a tribute to the Polish Revolution, prayed again in a 10th Century Cathedral, and prayed again in another park with a small memorial to the Holocaust. I wrote in my journal in coffee shops and parks.

Stary Rynek  - the historical town square 

Then, I had the fun of spending time with my daughter for a few hours while Team USA rested during the rain one afternoon. I had fun with fellow parents of athletes - just ubering around the city, eating out, and trying to figure out the tram system, as well as cheering on our athletes at the Olympic Hopes Regatta for 15-17 year-olds. 

(Trisha going out to race - blue jersey, red sleeves, second from the left)

Team USA did well this year. Every athlete made at least one semi-final and five athletes made finals. One athlete brought home two gold medals (Her name is Nevin and she's a women's canoeist from Seattle. I think we'll all be seeing her in the Olympics soon). My younger daughter (a kayaker) raced in five different race categories (K1 1000m, K1 500m, K2 500m, K4 500m, and K2 200m) and made semi-finals for each category. 
My daughter

The team from Hungary took the most medals home, followed by the Czech Republic, and Canada. Canadians and Americans cheered our athletes together - unless they were competing against each other - and over 600 athletes from 33 countries competed in the event. Hearing parents and coaches cheering for their athletes in 30 different languages at the top of their lungs is a pretty incredible experience.

Team USA and coaches hanging loose after the regatta ended

As a parent, it's just amazing to see my daughter compete in Poland and to see her love her sport the way she does. I'm just left with a sense of gratitude and abundant blessing. 


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What an incredible experience. (Except for being sick.) I think writing down stories and ideas and snippets of people was a good idea. Considering what took place in that country, I would've prayed at those spots as well.
Congratulations to your daughter! That's quite an accomplishment.

krystal jane said...

I've also written descriptions of people in the airport. :) A few times I've written a little short note about where they're off to and why and what they do for a living. It's a lot of fun. And I've never failed to feel good after a long journey entry.

I loved reading about your Poland adventures and seeing pictures. That was a pretty big operation! I really didn't know anything about Poland before reading this.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex - thanks for the vote of confidence and encouragement!

Krystal - It's fun, isn't it! And, thanks!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Finalist in all five races - congrats to your daughter.

What a delightful way to experience Poland. I need to remember to write more about my travels. I'm visual, so a million photos usually do it.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I think some destinations are more about quiet reflection than excitement. I felt that years ago when I got to visit Anne Frank's house.

Yeh for your daughter and Team USA!

Chris Votey said...

This past summer I got a chance to drive from Arizona to Pennsylvania and back. It was a wonderful trip, one in which I thought I'd get a lot of writing done. Nope. None at all. As fun as traveling is, it is not a medium for writing. Us writers, we need a stable environment.

The Cynical Sailor said...

What a fantastic trip! Yay for your daughter and everyone else involved and how wonderful that you could be there to share in the experience. I always seem to get sick after a long-haul flight. Sorry you had to go through that too :-(

Chemist Ken said...

Sounded like a fun trip. I've never been to Poland, but maybe one day, after I retire or something. You still took some great pictures, though.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Diane - writing definitely helps me remember details from trips.

Madeline - yes, some places are better for quiet moments, and thanks!

Chris - I agree. Traveling is a vibrant landscape of experience, but it's not good for getting words on the page.

Ken - Thanks! Someday you will go!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like an awesome trip. And yay for your daughter. These life experiences are so precious and sometimes our writing has to wait.

Lynda R Young said...

Wow, so impressive! How wonderful for your daughter! And your trip to Poland sounds wonderful (despite the sickness)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tyrean - it's great that your daughter is so passionate about her sport and that she's good enough to go to Poland then who knows what comes next ... well done to you both. There's so much history in Poland - I'd love to see the country ... the history sadly horrifies me - if we could learn to live peacefully it'd be really wonderful. Hope that cold has healed now - but those sorts of flights are always miserable ... take care - Hilary

cleemckenzie said...

Some wonderful moments you've shared here today, Tryean. Congratulations on your wonderful daughter's accomplishments and on your amazing trip.

Juneta Key said...

What a beautiful trip. Congrats to your daughter. Thanks for sharing that. Enjoyed reading and looking a lot. Happy IWSG Day.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Congratulations to your daughter!!! What gorgeous pictures. I wish I was there! My priest is setting up a trip to Poland, and I so wish I had the money and the time to go.

Lisa said...

Lucky you to have had such a great experience, aside from the cold of course. I would love to go to Poland one day. Congratulations to your daughter and her team! Sounds like it was a good trip for everyone. Thanks for dropping by my blog!

Michelle Wallace said...

"...a beautiful place with a harrowing past." Having read countless Holocaust-based stories, I can believe that about places in and around Poland. Probably very atmospheric.
Congrats to your daughter and the team!

Toi Thomas said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.
Journaling seems like such a wonderful process, but it never quite works for me, but I do enjoy making lists and taking photos.
Sorry to hear about your illness while traveling, but sounds like you made the most of it. What an experience and really cool images.
Congratulations to your daughter for making the semifinals.

Christine Rains said...

Wow. What an experience! Congrats to your daughter! What an amazing young woman you have raised. I used to journal a lot, but now that time goes to blogging. I'm painting the interior of our house right now too. Slowly, wall by wall. The kitchen is done with cupboards painted too and hardware replaced. It does take time away from writing, but it makes my mind happy to see the house renewed. :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

When you're traveling and not writing, you're still accumulating the data you need for future stories.

Julie Flanders said...

What an amazing experience! I loved seeing your pics and imagining the fun of the events. Congrats to your daughter!

Patricia Lynne said...

Aside from getting sick, that's awesome you got to go. I can't wait to travel overseas sometime next year. I know I won't get writing done, but it will be experiences that will most likely influence my writing.

Elizabeth said...

I like that idea of writing descriptions of people in the airport. Your writing habits sound similar to mine. I also tend to journal more during life events and write snippets when I travel. I understand that feeling of reflection and prayer as well. When I visited All Hallows by The Tower (founded 675 AD) and St. Paul's Cathedral, I felt so humbled to be walking through such historic sites.

Kalpanaa M said...

Thoroughly enjoyed your description of your Polish trip. I know that hyper creativity that travel brings - it's one of the best things about it.

Heather R. Holden said...

Wow, that's amazing how you had a chance to visit Poland! Your photos look great. So sorry to hear you ended up being sick for this trip, though. Such a downer, for sure. Glad you were at least able to have some fun despite that! And that's awesome how your daughter made all the semi-finals--congrats to her!