“Good,” she said, and started once again to hop from one foot to the glorious other.
“What are you doing?” I said.
“Pretending I”m walking on glass.”
“Is it fun?”
“Try it if you like.”
“Okay,” I said, and I did. And it strangely was.
from When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
Things I’m wondering~
What if the end result isn’t really what matters, but what happens on the way there?
What if I chose to read something that excited me, and didn’t feel pressured to read for for work?
What if I realized that the people in my life who make me uncomfortable are struggling as well?
What if I tried getting up early rather than staying up late?
What if I shut out my worries for the week and let Sunday be Sunday?
What if I put some words down on a page without hoping for perfection?
What if sitting down to write felt more like a joy than wrestling match?
Here we are, in March. Finally. This to me is the true beginning of the year. January is the almost end, wrapping up the holiday season, still in the thick of winter. February is the true end. (Confession time, we just packed up our Christmas ornaments.) In March the days are longer, the sun stronger and my energy is starting to return. In the spirit of fresh starts, I’m trying something new. I’m working on trying to take time to distance myself from something that I thought was a known quantity, and turning it on its head to see if the inverse might also contain a truth.
It’s not easy to flip something that has been a given in your life for a long time.
It’s not easy sitting here in front of the computer typing words in the hopes that something will come, that sentences will pile up and by the end I’ll have created something that someone might want to read. Hard to keep those doubts from shouting in my ear. Hard to keep pressing on when it feels like that’s where you should stop.
But what if the constraint is the container for the creativity?
One of the books I’m dipping into right now is called Wheesht, by Kate Davies. She is a knitter and a writer and a few years ago she had a very serious stroke. This book is about creativity in uncertain times, learning to be quiet and listen– that’s the definition of this word from the Scots and northern English dialect. What I love about this book is that it takes that very simple “what if” premise and focuses it on topics regarding simplicity, mending and the benefits to limitations. It’s more build up than tear down, more quiet contemplation than brash bold exaltation. Some books come to you when you need them most.
I’m feeling more and more that social media exists to call people out. It’s a place of knee jerk reaction without taking the time to learn more about how or why someone did something that on the surface seems wrong. And in the state of the world right now, how does one keep writing? Doesn’t it seem pointless? Is there a secret trick to getting yourself to stay planted and focused each day so that the words will eventually add up to something novel-ish? And if you’re lucky enough to have a good editor and your book is finally published, will someone rip your work to shreds?
Davies also writes about doubt. How it is often necessary, and like hope, is a state of uncertain ambiguity. How to keep it from being so debilitating and paralyzing, though? How to push past, and invert the doubt? Can it become useful? Can it be stripped of its power? Can you trick yourself into continuing on without always thinking about the audience? How does one decide to be silly and create whatever is manifesting itself? How do you go from walking to marching to dancing?
In today’s reading I stumbled on this quote and I’d like to sit with it awhile.
‘At the still point of the turning world… there the dance is.’ TS Eliot.
Eliot puts me in mind of our other blog, the one inspired by his poem. Looking back now, I don’t see the times when it was difficult to write, I just see the sheer beauty of starting and completing a project and all the love and work that went into it. I’m also thinking about the first blog a and I had, the one on which this is based. Reading those entries feels like another life, but it’s only 10 years ago. Back then I wondered about T and where his life might take him. He’s going to be graduating from college this spring and right now there’s some uncertainty for all of us as to where he might end up. But I believe in him, he’s strong, he’s capable and I know he’ll land on his feet.
We’re all just putting one foot in front of the other, making a minuscule amount of progress and calling it a life. I’m realizing that even though they’ve fallen out of favor, I like blogs, they’re quiet and a place to say what is stirring inside you. Im so happy that some of my favorite people have started posting to their blogs. I wonder if we’ve just come back round again. Have we just gotten tired of the quick, the immediate, the bite-sized bit? All I know is that I’m thankful for this place to put my thoughts. And years from now, looking back at this strange time in our history I’ll be glad I kicked doubt in the teeth, sat down and wrote.
Dear a, your word for next week is justice.