Are there things which were difficult for you when you were younger that have remained difficult?

Difficult things that have gotten easier?

Three responses!

When I was a kid, I had challenges getting along with my mother…we were so so different in our “nature.” I never felt she understood me. When I grew up, and learned so much more about her, my feelings changed….we eventually became quite close..
Terry Ann Carter

When I was younger
and my mother was still alive,
she would call me on the phone.
The first thing she would say was
“How much do you weigh?”

Now that I have gotten off that roller coaster
and she is no longer corpo-real,
that aspect of my life has become much easier…

Please pass the pancakes and maple syrup…
Gail Rieke

My mother told me that when I was a child it was a real chore to get me out of bed in the morning. She would wake me, then come back and find me sleeping again. She tried shaking me, sitting with me, singing to me – everything she could think of – to urge me into the day. It never got easier, really, but I made my way through several jobs that required 7:30 and 8 am meetings. Now that I’m retired and don’t set an alarm, and I find myself naturally beginning my day at 9 or later. I fought being a night owl for my whole life, and how I finally can allow myself to recognize my own rhythms.

Mary Laraia

Difficult Then, Perhaps Easier Now by Douglass Rankin

My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Dye, was skiing fast downslope to retirement, and our class enjoyed the ride. Slack assignments, passing notes, fooling around in class…it was nearly over for her, and for me too, as the next year I started junior high.
Placed in Mrs. McBride’s advanced English class, I didn’t realize until then that education could entail work. Lots of reading, reports, big volume assignments—I was seriously unprepared and quite overwhelmed.
One night I stayed up so late writing a report that my parents finally forced me to go to bed. I went reluctantly, crying, knowing my assignment was not well written. And the next morning, who was the first person called on to read their report out loud?
I stood in front of the class, my heart pounding, and about a paragraph in my hands and my paper began to shake, my voice wavered. and my throat started to close down. The perspiration spread from under my arms in dark circles onto my red dress. I asked if I could sit down, but Mrs. McBride gently said “just relax and continue,” but I couldn’t control any of the things that were happening to me. Now that I think back, if only I had fainted I could have gotten out of it, but I had to read through until the end, then sat down in complete humiliation.
Since then I have struggled with any sort of public speaking. As my husband and I began to teach pottery I frequently travelled back to that day in seventh grade. But in doing more demonstrations, slide talks, and teaching, gradually I came to understand that people just wanted to know what we knew about making pots. And they actually payed to be there…so relax and just talk. Sometimes a class’ good energy excited me, and I found out I enjoyed being in the limelight…I was sort of a ham! That one day of utter shame taught me several lessons about public speaking. Now I prepare, practice, and wear something light-colored and loose, just in case, on some level, I am still “sweating it.”

I’ll Be Reading from My New Novel

A Peek Inside: The Process of Novel Writing with Miriam Sagan
2-3 p.m., April 12 online
Miriam Sagan will read from her new novel Shadow on the Minotaur (Red Mountain Press, 2021) and discuss sources of inspiration, structural challenges, and getting inside a character’s head. The heroine of the book, Thea, has survived the war in Bosnia only to find herself isolated and unable to cross the street in Brooklyn. Also, her shadow is missing.
A cast of diverse characters helps in her healing–a mystic rabbi, a surfer acupuncturist, a professor turned curandera. The novel asks the question–how do we recover from trauma? It also has a good cake recipe.
Bring your own questions about fiction writing for discussion. Register to attend:
A link to the event will be sent to the email address you provide the morning of the reading.Sponsored by the SFCC Library

The last–complicated–revision was done at the start of the pandemic. My life gave me insight in to what it is like to be trapped–making the process both easier and more difficult at the same time!

Things that Have Gotten Easier/Harder with Age by Devon Miller-Duggan

Things that Have Gotten Easier/Harder with Age: Easier  
1. While I still don’t like it, I have an easier time calling strangers on the phone now.  
2. Admiring pretty things without feeling like I need to own them.  
3. Saying “no,” though I am still not good enough at it. Isn’t this a problem for most women?  
4. Taking care of my teeth. My-father-the-dentist hasn’t been around for a long time, so there’s no one but me to be upset by lousy dental habits.  
5. Knowing when I should pay someone else to do a thing—usually yardwork.  
6. Believing that I won’t live forever. Not that I have made any Big Decisions or Built Better Habits because of this, but I do understand that I only have so many years to “get it right.”  
7. Accepting that either I may never “get it right” or that there is no such thing in many or most areas of my life.  
8. Accepting that I was not the best parent in the world and being more pleased about the bad stuff I managed not to pass on to another generation than about the not-so-good parts that I couldn’t manage to avoid. Mostly I/we did rather well, just not as perfectly as we had ourselves convinced we were doing before adolescence hit.  
9. Knowing what I do and do not want to wear, being utterly unconcerned that I am a large woman who likes to wear large pieces of fabric in odd shapes that the rest of the world doesn’t necessarily think are “flattering.” I like to be a Presence. I’m safer that way—in control of the space and, to some extent, how I’m perceived.  
10. Making peace with the fact that I have crappy feet and pretty shoes (including a pair of actually comfortable black suede flats) are just not an option.  
11. I no longer care whether men find me attractive. And I think I have managed to head into my later years without becoming invisible, except now and then when I’m around someone who is ageist, sexist, and size-ist all at once, and then I’m VERY good at noticing that behavior, holding that grudge, and knowing that it is that person’s fault, NOT mine.  
12. Not always needing to be the center of attention, or strain for it. Not ALWAYS, anyway. There is a caveat here: I am also better at accepting that I am profoundly shy and still find strangers mighty scary. I may be an introverted extrovert, or an extroverted introvert, but I’m most likely just an only child who moved a lot as a kid and grew up being the perpetual weird new kid. I suppose it’s an improvement that I find all this interesting to map, but no longer urgent or very important.  
13. Sometimes I’m better at putting my own oxygen mask on first.  
Things that Have Gotten Easier/Harder with Age: Harder  
1. Writing. As in with a utensil on paper. Arthritic hands & wrists are a difficulty in many areas of my life (bye-bye yoga, bye-bye really tight crochet stitching, and God forbid I ever need a cane…).  
2. Sitting on airplanes. Walking on cobblestones. The marble floors of the Uffizzi. Knowing that I will never ski again. Making peace with never having learned to surf. Knowing that my hips and wrists will never again let me spend hours at a potter’s wheel playing with the nice, cold mud. Knowing that my titanium knees will not let me take up tap dancing or ballet or running.  
3. Knowing when to cut myself a break. Is this harder? Probably it’s the same as ever. Maybe I’m better in the sense that the list of things I beat myself up about is a little shorter, but I might be more deeply ticked off by old, bad choices than I used to be?  
4. Sometimes I still have to fight to remember to put my own oxygen mask on first.  
5. God. God is harder the older I get. I had hoped it would go the other way. This would be fine if I were less interested in God as time passed, but I’m still in a relationship with a Deity I do not understand and often do not find a source of peace.  
6. Accepting that, at 66-going-on-67 I can no longer claim to be Middle-Aged. I rather liked being Middle-Aged (except for the knees and developing arthritis).  
7. It is harder to go to bed at sane hours. It was never easy, but now…  
8. Being a snob. I mean, I’m still frightfully good at it, but there’s this other noisy voice in my head now, too, reminding me that my ass is not actually made of chocolate cake and my opinions are not written in Gold on God’s forehead.  
9. Not being able to fix things for my (grown, highly competent, nicely married) children or grandchildren. I should have enough brains and money for this, yes? Apparently, no.  
10. Christmas. I still love it, but it’s been decades since it had the heart’s fire it had in my childhood and young adulthood. And that hurts. Every year. I don’t think it has to do with #5—Christmas is the holiday I don’t have problems with, theologically since I’m pretty settled about the whole Incarnation thing. It’s partially about the loss of my maternal grandfather, who’s been gone for 44 years, and partially a mystery to me. That being said, carols do still solace me considerably.  
11. Thinning hair and eyelashes. This is partially genetic and partially drug-related, but both are sources of something like real anguish, which is, obviously trivial, but there it is.  
12. Make-up. I used to be good at it and enjoy it, even though I didn’t wear much. Now I only do the absolute minimum that will make me look less dead on zoom.  
13. Not loathing people who do harm to other people, especially those I love, or even like a lot. Oh, wait, I’ve always sucked at that. Maybe its that the loathing runs deeper. It’s harder these days to hang on to my belief that the vicious and violent shouldn’t simply die, that they’re human and therefore sacred. I’m managing to cling to that world view, but it’s harder than it used to be. Ever since Timothy McVeigh was executed and I caught myself being relieved that I wasn’t sharing planet-space with him, it’s been more and more of a fight. This isn’t so much a political opinion (though it’s that, too) as a matter of feeling like those who do harm harm me as well as the world. But then, of course, I do harm, have done harm, so maybe hanging on to a belief in not offing people who hurt my kids has more to do with hoping folks won’t hasten my death when I’m a jerk. I don’t know. Do I have to know? I’m already struggling to keep my peace with the fact that God is, by definition, undefinable, so can’t I have a pass on this one, even though the two are connected?  

Difficult and Easier by Margret Wood

Margaret Wood Response to Miriam’s blog request 3/22/21

Difficult since I was young:

Keeping my room (now my office) neat

Knowing how I feel in emotional situations

Eating or drinking small amounts (ice cream when young, dinner and red wine now)

Procrastinating with important tasks

Polishing my shoes

Remembering important names and dates in any field

Taking time to read more

Understanding complex written directions for processes or putting things together

Becoming distracted

Easier now that I’m older:

Speaking up for myself

Doing the dishes daily, with ease

Meeting deadlines

Knowing what romantic Love is

Not gossiping, no little lies

Being intimidated by wealth, notoriety, men

Developing memory strategies

Decreasing self-consciousness

Caring for an animal

Family Room

Family Room is a group exhibition and immersive installation designed by a national consortium of LGBTQ+ artists and performers. (At Form & Concept, Santa Fe). This functional and modular living room, featuring art, craft and design objects that were made, altered or found by the featured artists, is a stage for visual artworks and performances that examine queer domestic space and the chosen family.