Three Steps Forward…


Words fail me… piles of words, stuck in my head. 

Writer’s Block is an over-simplified term for what I’m feeling about words right now. I carry them around like more emotional baggage, weighing me down. They taunt me, as I struggle to make sense of things, the best way I know how: writing.

“You haven’t written anything in ages,” my friend pointed out, at lunch. “You haven’t even done your Friday Fictioneers–“ she adds, watching me.

I wanted to cry. Again. I seem to do that a lot lately. Cry.

It’s been a really rough couple of months, on so many fronts. Three steps forward in my efforts to evolve, and five steps back– some days.

Generally, I’d use my words. That’s what I do: write. I figure things out that way; I process; I move forward and through things that are challenging, by putting them down and sending them out. But this time, I’ve been paralyzed. I see the weekly photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers (the weekly flash fiction challenge, that I’ve done for 20 months now, only missing 2) and I can’t even string 100 words together. Stories run through my head, but I can’t type them.

Even the words have failed me, recently.

Let me clarify: I think of a something to write, every day. Every. Day. I frequently lie awake late at night, because the words are clambering to be written, but I sit down and my fingers fail me. A lump in my throat prevents the blood flow from head to heart to keyboard.

There– you can’t tell, but I just sat for 20 minutes after that last word.

You haven’t written anything in ages.

So here I am, in this coffee shop– with its soothing European music, with lots of industrious people typing away around me, and I sit looking out the window… stuck.

Three steps forward and five back.

The words are there; my head is full of them– but they all feel unspeakable, un-typable.

This Voices of the Year is choking on her words.

It’s been nearly 2 months since I learned some family revelations that have rocked me. I’ve been processing it, and finding some peace, but challenge upon challenges rolls in, on top of that, and I am stuck. My past too often drives me; I want to drive.

The ongoing pain of watching someone I love so much struggle with Huntington’s Disease and addiction, and feeling helpless, hurt, hopeless… lost. Unable to reach out and fix anything, or connect. I drift in this loss.

Ten more minutes pass… I see someone I know out the window, and turn away. I don’t want to say hi, or chat about our kids.

My kids. I miss them. I love who they are and what they’re doing, but some days I ache from the distance. My girl is waiting for her first baby– nearly 7,000 miles away from me. Her beautiful round belly is only real in photos. I can’t hug her, or go sit with her, as she deals with the challenges of becoming a new mother, living in a new city, creating a new life (literally, and figuratively) with her partner, so far from us. I ache.

My boy is having the adventures of a lifetime, in Australia and soon in Vietnam and China. He’s with the woman he loves. They are happy and embracing their journey. We’ve shared some wonderful emails, skypes and phone calls. This child I’ve had more conflict with over the years– I have missed him enormously, and enjoy those moments of connection so much. Another 7,000+ miles are between us. I ache.

I smile at their updates, and the photos that bring them into my home again, but then I cry– “Come home…”

Two more people living in my house and another dog– I love these two; I’m so happy to have them here, but I miss my solitude. I miss my freedom to sit quietly and write, or miss my kids, or do any number of things that I did with that solitude. The dog has wreaked havoc. Aggressive and scary one minute, sweet the next. One of the people I love, loves the dog, but her presence is not sustainable. It weighs heavy on me– torn between the boy, the dog, my love and the offer of help I extended, but now can’t fulfill. Frustrated by the omissions that landed us in this place. The options are limited; none of them feel good. I feel boxed in and trapped by my own actions, my own desire to do the right thing.

Boundaries… three steps forward and five back, I feel like I’m always trying to catch up. If you grew up with very little experience in setting boundaries, in unconditional love, in healthy relationships… it’s like inventing the wheel, with feathers and glue.

Staring out the window again, watching teenage mothers on the corner, their young children playing on the busy sidewalk. Today, I don’t feel any more competent than they are. The young girl strokes her round belly, another child coming, as she sucks her cigarette… and I stare out this window.

I’ve written something.

One step at a time, forward, I stumble.

Check out other stories about dealing with our pasts, baggage, and life, here on the Daily Post.

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Make me smile; HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 700 likes in 2015. I’m nearly there! Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter; it’s where I’m forced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2015  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
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50 Responses to Three Steps Forward…

  1. The Wait for the Words to Come was well worth it, Dawn.

    Beautifully done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kjlangton says:

    This is it. This is the real thing. Dawn, as always, your honesty – no matter how haltingly the words may be flowing right now – packs a physical punch. Much respect and a big hug…


    • Kimber, thank you so much. Your thoughts mean a lot, sincerely. As much as I think of myself writing in a vacuum, that it’s anonymous, I appreciate that you’re out there, and thank you for reaching out.


  3. kjlangton says:

    …and I meant “punch” in the most THOUGHTFUL way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mamaheidi60 says:

    Well, you wrote. And you poured your heart out about what you feel you can write about. I hope this helped you to move away from just feeling so stuck. From my own experience of sleepless nights, daytime wanderings, I know that eventually, the dam breaks and the floodwaters flow. I’m guessing the tears are sprinkles heading over the dam. I say, next time, don’t sit by a window! haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heidi, I absolutely that times of struggle almost always lead to times of healing and change. That whole “lobster thing,” is so true. But, that does’t make it easy. It’s hard to remember that, when you’re in it. Thanks friend; I’m grateful you’re there. xox


  5. jgroeber says:

    Yes. That is it. And you describing exactly where you are in those moments? Just beautiul. Samara recently had a similar post over at Buick in the Land of Lexus, and for the same reasons as I love this post of yours, it was one of my favorites. As writers and women and wives and mothers and daughters we can get pretty jazz handsssss and tied-it-up-with-a-bow. But the sad beauty/drudgery of life is that there are an awful lot more authentic moments (like the minute after that skype ends, or seeing a pregnant woman smoking when the pregnant woman you want to see is your responsible daughter) that are so hard to describe but are the real deal. And yes, they leave us tongue-tied.
    You pushed through it though, and beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Jen. I’ve missed you… amazing how some of my “bloggy friends,” are so tangible and real, as if we’ve sat together and shared so many times… in so many ways, we have. I so appreciate that you and others get it, and are there to push me forward, gently.

      Which post was it on Samara’s? I must have missed it. I loved the one about her son, recently. She almost always goes right to the heart of things! Love that lady, love you wickedly. xox


      • What Jen says, again.

        And also: what’s wrong with a silent writer? Our psyches need time to process, along with our bodies and souls.

        Liked by 1 person

      • jgroeber says:

        Samara literally called it Obligatory Post. May 22nd. (I can’t paste the address from my phone.) I love that sometimes we just have to write. It clears the pipe, you know? And it’s always right after I’ve walked around for two weeks saying to myself,”I have no words. Where are my WORDS?!” that I end up writing five things in a day plus a list of things to write next time the well is dry. So in the words of Wilson Philips, Hold On for One More Day.
        Also- it always helps me to take a shower…😉 (I appreciate our bl-iendship, too.)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Carrie Rubin says:

    Sorry to hear about your struggles. So much going on in your life, no wonder it’s difficult to articulate. But you managed to do so beautifully. As you always do.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cathy Ulrich says:

    “If you grew up with very little experience in setting boundaries, in unconditional love, in healthy relationships… it’s like inventing the wheel, with feathers and glue.”

    Brilliant beyond words. Yes I did, and so are you doing, simply by expressing this so eloquently. Sometimes it sucks to be human, but your writing here makes me glad to be of the same species as you, dear Dawn. May the Force be with you!



    Liked by 1 person

    • Cathy, this comment just made me cry… again. But for all the most lovely reasons. Some many kind, supportive comment– but this, this means so much. Thank you so much. I’m glad to know you’re out there. xox


  8. Pingback: Three Steps Forward… | ugiridharaprasad

  9. Valery says:

    Wish I could give you a silent hug. And hike through a dew-moistened forest, or spot bald eagles on the shore with you. Sometimes words just will not do. And that’s fine. Let them percolate. There’s powerful stuff brewing and it follows no timetable. ❤ 143

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Victoria says:

    Setting boundaries is tough for me; usually ends the relationship. Nice post!


    • Victoria, thanks for visiting Tales From the Motherland; I appreciate you taking the time to read and share your thoughts. I think setting boundaries is something that so many of us struggle with. If setting realistic, healthy boundaries, then sadly the relationship was probably not sustainable anyway– or that’s what I’ve learned. All you can do is keep trying to be honest and real, and hope that others do the same. Again, thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Victoria says:

        Yes I agree, how many times have I not set a boundary I knew I needed to set because I didn’t want to face the end of the relationship. Thanks for your kind and thoughtful response. Have a nice weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. You did it. You got the words down, beautifully crafted (no matter how long it took). For what it’s worth, I’ve got 2 rough drafts of my most recent post and I’m not thrilled with either of them. Too mechanical and robotic. Knowing me, I’ll run through the second draft one more (or possibly two) time and just hit the button to put it out there. I guess I’ll not worry about perfection or even getting it right this time; just getting it out there. Hang in there and just remind yourself that you are an amazing word smith.


    • Thanks Susan. I’d say just write it, but do as I say– not as I do. I’ve been stuck for ages. I know you’ll get it out there, and it will be wonderful.

      Thanks for your kind words and support; it is always appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on The Huntington's Chronicles and commented:

    Sharing a post from my other blog, Tales From the Motherland. In the end, it’s all connected.


  13. I wish I could put you in my pocket and say – everything is going to be just fine. Alas, life doesn’t work this way.
    There are things in my life so similar to what you are experiencing and there are things you have I desperately miss. I often wonder how my life turned out this way, because I never imagined it would look like this.
    But through all the storms raging in my life, I realized that my one and only saving grace was always me. Sometimes that knowledge makes me cry, because I am still a little girl, chocking on unshed tears, tired of always being my guardian and savior. Other times, I stand tall and proud like a 300years sequoia, observing the world with my secret smile, survivor of so many forest fires.
    We battle our own battles and we live our own lives…and we all do it differently. There is no right or wrong way, dealing with our personal demons and ghosts from our past, present and future.
    I will tell you a secret that made me doubt myself for a long time, but I finally made the peace with it. I loved my mom, but I love her so much more now that she is gone. Does that make me a horrible person? I really don’t care. Now I can appreciate all the good things she did for me and I already forgave her all the wrongs. Because, I finally accepted that my mom was a human. Just that. Nothing more and nothing less. And humans are capable of doing wonderful and horrifying things at the same time. She died almost four years ago and after her passing, I found out that she kept a secret from me. A shocking revelation that left me confused and unbalanced for months, questioning so many things. But mostly, it left me heartbroken, because she never had the strength to tell me. And it was a heavy burden, that drove her on the path of addiction and self-destruction.
    But, I made my piece with her. And I would defend and love her till my last breath. Because, she was my mother. She was a human. And she is finally free. And that makes me free.
    So, I can’t take you for a walk and listen to your stories, there is no advice I could give that you already don’t know…all I can tell you, even half way around the world, we are here. And you are not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Loré, thank you. Thank you for sharing your personal journey, which is SO like my own. Thank you for being such a patient and supportive reader. Thank you for not offering advice, that yes, I have already considered, and thank you for being there. It means a lot. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Sending hugs… and support. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  15. We’re writing all the time even when we don’t actually “write.” Try not to be so hard on yourself.
    As to that maternal ache, I so get it. Even with 2 kids sort of nearby.. life isn’t the same (nor should it be really) as it was when they seemed to need me and want my company. hang in there.. hugs..


    • Thanks Lisa. No, it isn’t the same. While that doesn’t surprise me, or really cause me the angst it once did, the loss feels fresh on some days, in some moments. I always appreciate your insight.


  16. Your honesty is inspiring. Writer’s block is very frustrating but life however sometimes takes precedent. Thank you for your candid post. Reading these beautiful words was a nice reminder why I signed up to follow your adventures. From the moment, I read An Open Letter to my (Almost) Adult Children, I was hooked. Thank you for constantly telling the truth and being so open but also inspiring me to be a better writer. All the best to you. I hope your load lightens soon. Sending a hug.


  17. Amy Reese says:

    I’m not surprised you feel a bit spent with so much going on! And here you are, writing away from the heart. I hope you don’t beat yourself too much for giving yourself the time to breathe. Beautiful post, Dawn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Amy. There’s always so much going on, because… well, I didn’t get that boundary thing in kindergarten. Or middle school… or college or grad school for that matter. My door is always open, my heart is exposed, and i bleed easily. I’m working on the finding balance and ways to nurture again. Thanks for the support bl-iend. (a word I just stole from another blogger I love 😉 )


  18. I’m so glad you’re fighting and overcoming your writer’s block. This was a good piece. I feel confident you’ll find your way back completely and work out your problems. I can feel your pain at missing your children. I miss mine too. I wish you all the best, Dawn. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  19. hbksloss says:

    Maybe you are incubating! Give yourself a break–I know that I am giving myself one.


  20. erinleary says:

    My Friday Fiction this week is just for you, Dawn. Words will flow.


  21. Mike Lince says:

    It is your gutsy honesty that draws me to your stories and holds me on the page when the emotions you share in your writing are so intense. I sense how overwhelmed you are with so many changes happening and your family spread around the planet.

    I wish for you to find joy amid the challenges thrown before you. I hope the writing comes easier, too. It is clear from all the comments that you have an amazing support group. – Mike

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Mike. I am sincerely overwhelmed by the wonderful responses from readers. When I write, I write without filters; I just put it out there. Honestly, when I was ready to hit post on this one, I wanted to add: “please don’t try to make me feel better… this is just what it is.” However, I am blow away by the wonderful, authentic support that you and others send my way. It makes me blush; it makes me teary and embarrassed, but it means so much. Thank you, Mike and others for all of your kind, wise, meaningful words!


  22. sara says:

    Melancholy – the joining of wisdom and pain. That was the word that slid into my mind when I was reading the words you wrote. Luckily, we readers cannot know when you stop and start, and sometimes the words that were the hardest to squeeze out are the most meaningful to others. Be patient xo



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