I lean back against the trunk of a pine tree, notebook resting on my knee, my thoughts teeming. P 214
What a strange thing to consider imagining a world into being with nothing but words, intention and desire.
It’s a troubling paradox—I have total control, but only to the extent that I have control over myself.
My inner storm.
The secret engines that drive me.
If there are infinite worlds, how do I find the one that is uniquely, specifically mine?
I stare at the page and begin to write down every detail of my Chicago that comes to mind. I paint my life with words.
The sounds of children in my neighborhood walking to school together, their voices like a stream flowing over rocks—high and burbling.
Graffiti on the added white brick of a building three blocks from my house that was so artfully done it was never painted over.
I meditate on the intricacies of my home.
The fourth step on the staircase that always creaks.
The way my kitchen smells as coffee brews first thing in the morning.
All the tiny, seemingly insignificant details upon which my world hangs. P 215
It’s hard to watch the news, read the headlines and pay attention to the political state of affairs.I side-eye reactions and see what ludicrousy bubbles to the top. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. As inadequate as I feel, I take heart in the fact that I’m not burying my head in the sand. I pay attention and have conversations. I’m trying to figure out how to help, who to help, what I can do, where I can lend a hand.
In this state of transitional flux, I find that I’m itching to get back to my words. There’s a safety there of course, it is the world that I control. But it’s finding the time to sit with that notebook…To allow myself the time to spend with my characters and not feel silly or guilty or wondering why I even bother. That critical voice in my head is so much louder than I’d like. I wish I could take away the megaphone.
At the same time, I haven’t had much luck with reading lately. There have been too many books that I’ve started, only to be banished across the room to the Maybe Someday pile. But Crouch’s book broke me out of that rut. It’s thoughtful in the way of sneaking zucchini into chocolate cake. The outer layer is all “quantum-physicy, running from the bad guys”, surrounding a layer of contemplative “what about those choices you didn’t take.” There are moments when you wonder—What if you lost the life you had, would you value it more?
I’ve been thinking more and more about life as it is now, and what it might be after November. I’m happy that I have a home, surrounded by books and dogs, a cup of tea when I need it. Trees to sit under and ponder, wonder. Those little quiet moments are restorative. For me they are very basic necessity. They build you up to face the outside world and its challenges: small, medium sized and ginormous.
Take some time this week to sit in stillness if you can. Block out the rants, the critical voices, the meanness and spite. Sit outside your home and imagine how it carries on without you in it. Walk around and smell some wildflowers, lift our face to the sun, concentrate on the burbling brook or listen to a bird call to its mate. It will help you get through to the other side, I promise.