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:
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.
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.