My day today…writing with my new little buddy Max. It’s wet and cold outside.
What am I writing? Who knows. I’m all over the place. But I write for myself. Writing makes me see things. And maybe one day someone will read it all. Maybe some of it will end up in a digital landfill. Maybe I’ll print it all out one day and save it for my daughter. All the writing and letters my mother saved for me I think are priceless.
I’m branching out more this year. I’m stretching myself to new things and I like the discipline and deadlines they bring. I joined a virtual book club, I am starting Patti Digh’s Verb Tribe this week, and I am in a church small group where we dive deeper into each week’s sermon. I’ve surrounded myself with people I admire and inspire…who also challenge me to think and write deeper. And it’s all very interesting, for a reason hard to explain.
I love Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life…except for where she says “write as if you are dying.” Well, I am dying…we are all dying if you stretch the timeline out long enough. I think I can quote Fight Club here and it’s appropriate: This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time. And that’s not supposed to be depressing, at least I don’t read it that way. I think it’s freedom.
There is a distant goal. It changes along the way. I reserve the right to change my mind about any and all writing projects I’m working on. In the past few years I’ve been asked to write creative books, DIY books but my heart wouldn’t have been in those. And that in a nutshell is why I blog…to release those things freely as soon as those projects are finished so I can move on quickly to the next. The creative projects? And the exploring and wandering? I like how Henry Miller described it:
“I turn to painting when I can no longer write. Painting refreshes and restores me. It enables me to forget that I am temporarily unable to write. So I paint while the reservoir replenishes itself.”
Some think I’m crazy for turning down opportunity but it wasn’t hard for me to say no:
Them: But you’ll be published!
Me: And I won’t enjoy one second of doing it!
I think you have to weed and prune out all which doesn’t speak to your soul.
Holy crap I wish you could listen to what I heard in church yesterday. I could see people reeling afterwards at the magnitude of it. A church member, Debi, spoke about how we find ourselves with boundaries we didn’t set for ourselves: sickness, isolation, financial difficulties, but we know that God has only good intended for us: When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at will change.
Writing changes the way that I look at things. I make connections and I find strength and redemption in painful things. And I will not live a life of numbness. I did for too long with ro-bo-tic-dis-con-tent. But all of that was so I could get here. One day life can just open up, it cracks open from the pressure. Let. it. crack. There is meaning in all of it. And the sun is going to rise again tomorrow no matter who you are, or where you live. Write about it.
And just so I can say I quoted Fight Club more than once (I haven’t seen the movie in years, but dang it was good, even though I do not condone violence or fighting.):
The things you own end up owning you.
You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your f–king khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.
It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.
Prove you’re alive. If you don’t claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned.
You wanna make an omelet, you gotta break some eggs.
Warning: If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life.
Inspiration is everywhere, even in Fight Club. I think the Super Pretzel I’m eating right now is pretty darn inspiring, inspiration dipped in mustard.
If you can’t find any inspiration go hang out with a 4-year-old. Yesterday we gave our neighbors a ride to church. 4-year-old Natalie was waiting by the mailbox 10 minutes early for us. As we drove towards church she said cheerfully:
“Look at all the beautiful things outside today! The leaves are blowing, and the trees are growing.”
Her view was of an unkempt hillside on the maintenance side of the hospital. That. is. enthusiasm.
And then today I offered to watch her and her sister for a few hours while their mom went to a doctor’s appointment. And Natalie told me that she’d been to Florida once…and when I said really? She answered: YES. Florida is for REAL.
You guys: Florida is for REAL!
Good grief, all I was going to share was the Annie Dillard quote and somehow I ended up on Fight Club.