When my pen stutters

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In the 2010 inspiring movie The King’s Speech, Colin Firth brilliantly portrayed King George VI who is dealing with an impeded speech. This high profile person who is the monarch of the United Kingdom couldn’t communicate well to his countrymen. The shower of stammers and stutters not only hindered his message but takes toll on his self-esteem also. Then came World War II and it is his biggest trial to reach out and inspire his people. The help of a foreign and eclectic speech therapist addressed not only the obstacle but what caused it in the first place. This brought about a great friendship between these two.

What I found irresistible about the story is how recent this all seems since King George VI is the father of the current ruling monarch of England, Queen Elizabeth. We still have people who fought during and survived World War II. The King George VI’s speech problem is a direct contrast to the gifted orator Adolf Hitler. We can’t help but keep rooting for the underdog.

The struggle and stuttering reflects my writing. My thoughts are all tangled up and I have a hard time attempting to organize them. Describing the scenes, characters, then narrating how they went from point A to point B, and my conclusion are so distorted. The tumultuous feeling when I create is akin to gasping for air while trying to keep afloat. So why do I write when I feel this uncomfortable about it?

Writing is my vocation. I finally know this to be true after working in several disciplines and having moved to two different countries. It was the calling I ran away from for over a decade ago. Now I am facing the consequence of neglecting and hiding the talent. You bear witness to my awkward sentences and the longs hours spent editing what I wrote showed my level of production, which is not high at all. So even if there is some awkwardness in reaching my goal, this is just the time to learn and develop my skills.

There are many stories I wish to share with everyone. Even if my writing skill is at its lowest and I require many hours of training and practice. I can’t stop all these beautiful stories from churning out of me like a broken ice cream machine. I desire to distribute these narratives. So I will get to where I turn these stories into books that everyone can enjoy.

“Because I have a voice!” was uttered with such passion in the film that it woke me up from my stupor. Am I striving to improve my craft? As we work hard we influence others to face their own calling, motivate them to do their best and encourage them to not only face any hardship but overcome them.

Many thanks for reading this post and I respect your time but if you haven’t seen the film and want to know more about The King’s Speech, don’t forget to check it out.  You can watch the movie trailer here.

The compulsion on this obsession

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In Psychiatry, compulsion is an act or ritual that person feels compelled to perform repeatedly, often to reduce the distress caused by an obsession. (Source: The Free Dictionary by Farlex) In effect, the current distraction we have is due to avoiding a specific stress in our lives. This is a very human condition.

              My current distractions are playing games and reading various webnovels. I confess to having multiple projects ranging from buying gifts to crafts and needlework that are detracting my focus because I am stressing over something I could not achieve: perfection. It doesn’t need a Psychology graduate to conclude this. If you keep asking yourself `why´ so many times, the dissatisfaction in your life would surface. It is so much easier to distract ourselves. I tell myself that solving a certain puzzle would make me feel accomplished, gathering resources are like gathering the ideas left and right, and while crafting or doing needlework allows me to set the scenes of the stories in my head. In the end, I did not pick up my pen nor touched the keyboard to write the story—I only did all those to run away and waste time.

               I always tell friends and family members (who would listen) that there were many times a great plot or scenes would play in my mind. I would wish I have the time to jot down what the Muse shared with me. This is my dilemma when a superb story rolled in the theater of my mind. The plot is riveting and images so exciting that these should be on the big screen! It was too easy to get lost in the whole thing except I’m lost on where to start re-telling. My writing skills are not yet good enough to show the picture to others.

My obsession on details and minuteness must be is driving my husband up the wall. When I write these images and go deep in the recesses of my mind to capture the actual scenes or words of wisdom, the biggest hindrance to my writing is myself. The stress of capturing everything and relaying these to the readers provokes me like those who need to feel the “end” on what they started.

The Muse moved on—perhaps giving another writer the chance to write the story she gave me. I felt helpless and defeated because my skills were not enough—I was not enough. The only thing I could tell you was that “Once upon a time, there was a story that haunted me… and I ran away from sharing it with you. The End.

Once upon a time, there was a story that haunted me… and I ran away from sharing it with you. The end.

Shelami Laubach

This does not make up for a good story until I set aside my need for perfection and think of the reason I want to share the story in the first place. So I took up my pen again, dragged out all these drafts and reconstructed my writing blog to start what I hope is the breakout of my writing career.

Walking a Tight Rope

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Tight rope walking or Funambulism came to my mind recently as I recalled my previous jobs. This new career in writing that I am currently embarking on naturally reminded me of what I am giving up: a steady office career. Although my decision not to join the workforce is still flexible, a huge part of me really wants my writing career to take off. Starting from scratch is demanding and requires us to push hard against circumstances. It includes re-learning skills that were neglected. Yet this new start also allowed me to tap into that closet in my mind brimming with creative stories just waiting to be unleashed. Best of all, writing makes me look forward to growth by going out of my comfort zone.

One of the main reason why I looked back at those previous stint is to evaluate if the efforts, resources and time that I put in really bore fruits. It’s hard to say since nobody in my previous workplace could randomly give me a post-performance review. (Haha! Wouldn’t that be something?) Is it selfish of me to wish that I left a legacy? I think we all have this sophistry because it means all our hard work accounted for something. In all honesty, just remembering all the demands and stress while working in our overwrought small department made me realize I couldn’t put any value on my hard work. It is truly the relationships developed with the people I worked with that was my most important takeaway. What is yours?

Here are a few questions I asked myself when I reexamined how I value hard work:

1. What drives me to work hard?

2. How am I reaching my goal or mission (in life)?

3. What am I willing to sacrifice for my hard work?

I’m sure there are many life coaches who can add more questions here but these are just a few questions that I reflected on. To fully enjoy our short life here on earth it is best that we focus our time, energy and efforts on what really counts. Don’t let others make you forget what your real goal is, otherwise they will just lead you by the nose making you deviate from your path in the end. You should define how you are going to live a full life even if that means turning down many things, including turning away people who don’t add value or hinders you from reaching your goal.

Contemplation for 2018

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Three weeks into the New Year and I’m contemplating on the previous year, the lessons learned and takeaways. I can describe the previous year as a slow and shaky walk up a hill. We bought our very own apartment. All the renovation projects and very strict schedule required us to work extra hard. We are at the last leg of the renovation and the results had us feeling satisfied. Yet as anyone with their own house or apartment would tell you, building a home takes time and money. Which is why a whole list of my ideas need to be put aside…for now. Back on point, I have several takeaways from the previous year for 2018.

  • The takeaway on Time. Time is irrepressible and constantly moving. Whatever I spent time on last year is over and done with. Having experienced what it’s like to have no goal, vision, or plan made me realize that it only made me lazy, unreliable and unproductive. I was often consumed with worries. After making a decision on what I truly want to do, it has been prompting me to move forward. It means not running around or trying to be someone I’m not.
  • The takeaway on Health and Strength. My body has not been at its peak last year. I find myself losing strength too fast because I haven’t been working out. I lost my rhythm since moving to Germany and have not been able to gain back the momentum in doing body strengthening. I don’t like focusing on body image. It is better to invest more on being fit and strong. The first method to do this is eat healthy and start adding good body strengthening routines.
  • The takeaway on Investments. Having mentioned where I will be investing part of my time this year, there are other areas that I also need investing in: character building, creativity, and productivity. Re-connecting with my dear cousin, who is like a very dear sister, reminded me that there’s always room in improving my character. We have been discussing a lot lately and it has been fruitful in seeing where I could change.

Honing my creativity is off to a good start. My dear mother-in-law gave me several yarns to turn into a summer pullover. Then my sister asked me to make a baby blanket. Of course, there’s still the book that I’m currently working on. The Writer’s Guild that I’m a part of has been good at challenging me to keep working on this project. This blog itself is also a good pilot on sharing my writing because not all my ideas turn out good.

There is nothing like being around productive people to know that I have yet to become one. My friend ACG is a good reminder. I still don’t know where she hides her extra energy but I will find her secret sooner or later. Her influence at the latter part of the previous year was momentous to my writing. One of the first books I publish will be dedicated to her.

  • The takeaway on Embracing change. The discomfort of moving just proved that being temporarily uncomfortable is not such a bad phase. We have several photos showing how humongous the renovation projects were and then of several friends helping us move. We recall the hassle, the discomfort and the sacrifices yet it doesn’t cause us grief remembering. There were many good memories attached to it, including Josef staying longer to have my Lasagna even though he mentioned having other plans. So I ask myself now if I’m too comfortable right now that I try avoiding being uncomfortable. I am encouraged allow the temporary setback in since it will steered us to a better situation.

With all these things said, I’m sure there are several of us who have made resolutions and goals this year. Aside from the resolutions, I hope you remember valuable lessons from the previous year like I did so that it gets easier moving forward.  Let’s strive to make a better year!

Paradox of big dreams and small beginnings

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My dream needs to be colossal, rocket-shooting-myself-over-to-the-moon, and truly magnificent that it overwhelms me with excitement just thinking of it or seeing myself in the threshold of achieving it. Sometimes a venerable type of fear wakes me up from daydreaming because I realized how difficult the path really is and don’t even get me started on competition.

Start small and simple, begin things slow and grow gradually.

These were accumulated advice from friends and my writing mentor. When I consider what I need to achieve my dreams, I come up with many excuses like having no money, no talent and no opportunities that hinders me. Truthfully, what impedes me the most is fear that I will fail and it’ll all be downhill from there. It’s so much easier to just give up. … Now that I wrote it here, I gave myself the opportunity to see the very bottom. Honestly, I’ve been running away from opportunities to become a published author for several decades. So, either I stay here in the bottom or climb up. I should use whatever resources I currently have: life-given lessons, writing lessons from my mentor, and writing opportunity to readers like you. These are all resources to wake myself up, my talent and continue to expand my horizon. Every step I take, however minute and exiguous, leads me towards reaching my goal. 

This is what it is, life’s paradox of big dreams and simple beginnings. Just check out how life around us begins every single time. Back when we lived in Stuttgart, a couple of trees are growing along the side of the main street. Their branches are directly in front of the windows of our 2nd floor apartment. After the winter spell, every branch would start to manifest the small steps to greet the next season. A small, shy bud here, a very small leaf there, and a bird hopping from one branch to the next as if testing each one. Yet come summer time, the trees do not even permit us to see beyond their leafy branches. Each tree may have begun at a different point in time during spring but they are all flourishing equally by summer and displaying their array of abundant colors by fall.

The great thing about dreaming is that you should go big or go home and the odd thing about any beginning is that one has to start small.