Friday, July 15, 2011

Coffee Chat - Out of Character

Hello there.

There's coffee as always, tall glistening goblets of iced water,  a bowl full of ripe peaches and nectarines, oatmeal cookies...Just help yourself and then sit down and let's have a bit of a heart to heart talk, okay?

Do I appear a little different?  Well I am.  I'm myself today, not Penny Ann, but Terri.  I've put Penny Ann aside for a little bit because frankly I needed a break.  I need a break.

Ten years ago, after completing two years of online writing courses sponsored by the University of Berlin, I was so eager to write...I just didn't know what to write about, lol.  My life had been a normal enough life, if limited in overall scope.  I'd been writing for years upon years, as a poet, unpublished but convinced I had an inkling of talent.  I wrote consistently for a good 25 years before setting it aside and taking  a break from writing.  Then we moved here, I worked at two or three jobs, quit each one and finally settled down to become a homemaker, a housewife, a stay at home mom to my two school aged children.  After the year or two it took to get my household in order, I had time on my hands and so I started the online courses via internet because I'd never lost my dream of writing.

The classes helped me to decide that while I enjoyed reading all types of books, my writing voice was best heard in two mediums: poetry and real life experience/inspirational pieces.  That's where the best of who I was came across.  The last class I took was a year long course, and lest you think it was just a silly internet thing with no degree, all the courses were very good, with a real honest to goodness  university professor at the helm and we were graded, critiqued and treated as students, without paying a fee or having the degree at the end of the course.  I learned a great deal.

So I embarked into writing.  Some few online sites, e-zines, etc published my work, a few hard copy lesser known magazines, a Chicken Soup for the Soul submission was accepted.  I have to say that the inspiration which birthed Penny Ann Poundwise was probably my most prolific and long running portion of work.  And in December of this year, I will have been sharing via the Poundwise household for ten years.

Penny Ann was a God given inspiration, born one night as I lay in bed well after lights out, wondering how to break into writing on my own.  I knew immediately that a yahoo group of my own could be developed as a launchpad for a newsletter, but what to write?  If we were to write what we knew best, then how did I translate being poor and stretching dollars into writing?  And what would the newsletter be called?  And then, pop, there it was in my head:  Penny Ann Poundwise.

I got up the next morning and sent out my intro letter and ten people subscribed.  I was in business!  lol.

At first, Penny Ann Poundwise was a sort of marriage between who I was and who I really wanted to become.  An imaginary mentor of sorts.  Gradually as time has gone on, I grew less fearful of letting the real me shine through here and there, but always I tried to remain 'in character.'  Penny Ann has been a wonderful mentor.  I learned a great deal about writing during this time, about researching and editing and time management and dedication and appropriateness, and yes, honing and honing those frugal skills.  I've learned so much.   But I've grown up and out.  Penny Ann is a very tight fit.  Too tight.  I need more room.  She's a great girl is Penny Ann, but one dimensional.  If it hasn't anything to do with home and frugality she's not very comfortable to work with, lol.  I need more room.

In the past two years, as Granny's influence in my life decreased, and as Kay (Katie in real life) grew and graduated and flew away to make her own little nest, my vision of who and what I am has changed, too.  To be perfectly honest, I'm not where I thought I might be at this point in my life when I was looking ahead ten years ago, and I'm not even sure where I'm going at the moment.  There have been a number of things I thought were absolute givens that aren't.  And so here I am.  Me.

Twenty years after writing my last poem, I'm finding my poetic voice wants to be heard now and then once more.  I'm opening my heart and letting poetry out.    I want to stretch my focus beyond just the money matters of life and get down into the meaty heart of living in my writing.  I want to be who I am but also have room to continue to grow, moving beyond and into something more.  Does that sound reasonable?  Sensible?  Understandable?

So what does this mean?  It means I've been in prayer a lot lately.  Asking God what He wants me to do.  I've been waiting for an answer for a good while, watching as He subtracts things from my life and trying hard to see just what the path before looks like.  It is time to set Penny Ann Poundwise aside.  She's been a wonderful hostess, hasn't she?  But yes, it's true, it's time for her to bow out and retire. 

Not that I mean to stop writing.  Not at all.  Just that I won't be Penny Ann anymore.  I'll be me.  A real life woman with a heart for God and family and home and hearth.  A frugalite with a passion for living well.  An imperfect person trying to better myself.   A woman confounded by where she finds herself at mid-life, looking to find the path that has become overgrown.  So...Will you join me?  Will you come along and see where the journey takes me?  Are you willing to say so long to Penny Ann and hello to me?

If so, then please come join me.  Penny Ann posts will remain here for a time, but I'll no longer be posting.  I can't say just where I, myself, will end up, but I'd really love to have company along the way.

So...  Say goodbye to Penny Ann.  Say hello to me.
Still a bona fide homemaker, a country girl, a wife, mother, grandmother, member of the Bon Bon club, but not Penny Ann.


Tracy said...

Terri, please don't delete your PennyAnn Poundwise posts and newsletters! I like to go back from time to time and reread them!!

Of course, I'll come along for the ride! :)

Tracy said...

Terri, that link is not to your blog but to a lady who has two toddler boys and a newborn...

Lisa said...

Hello to you Terri! I'm excited for you about this new(ish) direction you're headed!

Rhonda said...

I am so fond of Penny Ann but I am even fonder of Terri. You have both been a good friend to me and I have learned so much from and shared with you over the years. Thank you for all your columns and newsletters over the years.

Whatever you end up doing, you have my prayers for it being the very best for you.

Rhonda said...

PS this lio the blue house blog is not for your blog but someone elsesnk t

Ann said...

I was so scared when I started reading your latest post. Afraid that you were going to disappear!! So thankful that you have simply chosen to go in a different direction. Whatever it is, I will be reading. I've really enjoyed Penny Ann. I'm a stay at home mom of 4 with 2 about to leave the nest and youngest going into 5th grade, so whatever you write about always seems revelant to my life!

Susan in SC said...

Time for Penny Ann to step aside and let you shine. I can understand that very well. Of course I will follow you, YOU are so much more than just Penny Ann!

Tracey said...

I too will follow Terri, at first it was Penny who said things that I could relate to recipies ideas that I liked, then I got to know Terri as a person, a lady just like me who has good days and bad days, and Yes I will follow her to her new blog, which I have already been reading so I will be reading there more.

debbie said...

i will miss pennyann but sssssooooooooooo glad terri is coming out of the closet

Nancy said...

I've been with Terri all along. I knew you were more than Penny Ann and often substituted the real names when reading your posts. Thank you for not leaving us behind when you take off on your new path.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to see you go, but hope you have a good journey.

InHisGrip said...

So sad to see Penny go. I enjoyed finding her and reading her adventures... I don't blog, but I have you marked as a favorite, and check in on Penny from time to time. Please let us know where you end up. I have suspected all along that Terri is a wonderful person as well, and has a lot of herself to share!

Deanna said...

As I think you know, your Penny Ann newsletters inspired me to start my own, "Tea With Dee" which led to first one and then three blogs. I've been reading your work for years and while I'll miss "Penny Ann", I prefer hearing from YOU. I've noticed you stepping closer to your readers via your writings lately and that's a good thing. Best of luck wherever your journey takes you.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Terri, I'm IN (in BIG ;)!!! Even still I love Penny Ann. I too hope you won't delete the past posts...they are so soothing and inspiring) however...I'm sooo excited to see how you integrate the new voice with the your wisdom that shines through Penny Ann. Sounds like a fun adventure!!! Sending love and good thoughts to you my friend...for happiness...success...fulfillment!
P.S. You look so pretty in your photo!