Thursday, June 25, 2015

Homework #3 As My Memoir Marches Forward...

HW#3
Prompt: Write an action scene from your life in which you ground the reader in a specific setting, give sensory details, and offer some choreography (precise descriptions of movement, as applied to dance; violence; sex; rushing for the subway; throwing your cellphone against the sidewalk; cooking a feast for ten). Pay heed to your diction. Be exact.
Earlier in the spring of 2013 I had finally descended into my lowest of lows and ironically, the highest of highs when it came to the Story of Weight. Having hit the proverbial rock bottom of weight loss attempts, I was in the abyss of my own journey, clamoring in the dark just trying to climb my way back to the light of day.  My own self-destruction: bingeing and eating in secret, had forced my hand and the first step out was bariatric surgery.  Once the decision had been made, a weight was lifted and the way out of the abyss became clear.
        That summer, as my husband and I have almost every summer that we have been together, returned to the North Fork of Long Island for a week of respite from the heat and humidity of the city.  This summer we returned to The Johanensen’s place, a house we had rented two summers before.  The three bedroom ranch house sat one lot up from the sandy private beach on the Great Peconic Bay.  I looked forward to returning to this spot, the warm brackish water proved ideal for swimming.  I had denied myself the pleasure of swimming, which I had loved growing up, a true water baby, because I didn’t want to put on a bathing suit for many years.  I was so ashamed of my body, not wanting anyone to judge me but here, on this private beach on the bay, I shed the burden of shame, donned the skirted black swimsuit with white polka dots and walked into the water.  The tepid water welcomed me, the smooth rocks and sand slipping between my toes.  When I finally ventured far enough, in one movement my knees bent and I was into the water to my neck enveloped and floating.  This was the only place where the 396 pounds I was carrying on my 5’9” frame ceased to exist.  No pain in my knees or back.  I laid back, my ears slipping below the surface of the water, sound slipping away.  I closed my eyes and moved my hands around just enough to push my nose and mouth above water periodically to take a breath.  I swam further out, the water close to the surface remaining warm while the current at my feet began to chill as I moved further from the shore.  I would flip over from time to time, laying on my back and letting the sun warm my feet and my face.  
Eventually, it would be time to come in and I would make my way back to the shore.
 When I was finally able to touch the sandy ground, I felt reality return as I hoisted my body 

above the water line and slowly walked to the shore.  My body was once again a burden to 

support as the womb of water released me back into the world.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Memoir

I hosted a student teacher from NYU this spring.  My payment was either: 3 credit class at Steinhardt (where I did my MA) or a no credit class in the School of Professional Studies.  A few years ago I had looked at the classes in the SPS and there were many that I was interest in- for my own enrichment.  I started a class called Writing A Memoir taught by Cullen Thomas last Thursday. For the next 7 weeks I'll be writing, digging in and trusting the gush as Tom Romano puts it.  

I had to put my conflict into 2-3 sentences to begin this weeks homework.  This is what I came up with: 


I exhausted every resource I had and made the decision to have bariatric surgery in November 2013.  150 lbs and 14 month later I discovered a fist size tumor in my neck.  The tumor was benign but the nodules in my thyroid were not.  


The next prompt was to write about what is at stake.  I started with Charlie.  Ultimately, it always comes back to us.  Challenges teach us who we are, what is important and who is,  for that matter.  As I write, my hope is that I confront and explore.