time and space

Most of the time, I feel as though this blog and the things I write or post exist in a sort of bubble. Although I give a lot of thought to the sorts of things I post, I don’t usually give a lot of thought to what happens afterwards. I long ago stopped worrying about whether my readers commented on my posts or hit the “like” button. Somewhere along the way, I decided that the quotes and personal posts and re-posts of others’ words were like seeds—my job was to cast them to the wind and not worry about where they landed or whether they sprouted.

Lately, it’s been harder to write posts, mostly because I’m primarily making my living as a freelance writer these days, which means I log a lot of time working on my laptop and focusing my brain on writing. And then there’s the new writing challenge that’s been added to the mix: the fiction nudge. By the time I’ve spent the better part of a day writing, my brain is often mush, and sitting down (again) to compose a blog post is often beyond me—which means my blog writing has fallen by the wayside. Some days, even searching for and posting quotes has been a challenge, but somehow I’ve managed to keep the quotes going and even write something from time to time.

About a month ago, I had lunch with a fellow blogger, with whom I’ve built a friendship online the last few years. We’ve moved to locations only an hour or so apart here in NC, and, after talking about it for a long time, we finally met in the middle and had lunch. We greeted and hugged each other like long-lost friends, and we sat and talked as though we’d sat and talked like that a million times. Continue reading

yes, but…

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It’s funny. You go through your life (intuitive person that you are) following your inner guidance, listening to that still, small voice…until. Until the still, small voice tells you something you don’t want to hear, something that, for whatever reason, scares the hell out of you.

That’s when all that allowing yourself to be led, all that going with the flow, all that surrendering to the call flies right out the window. Suddenly, you’re having a knock-down, drag-out fight with your inner guidance, digging in your heels and saying, “Yes, but…” or even “Hell, no!” Well, that was me about six months ago.

Except for a few stories I wrote in my junior high language arts classes, all the writing I’ve ever done has been non-fiction: journalism (mostly dance reviews and features, a few gardening articles), marketing copy, press releases, business and fundraising letters, grant-writing, blog posts, etc. etc. However, last fall, I started a freelance writing job that involved writing short articles for children, including short fiction pieces. I was surprised to find that not only were the fiction pieces easier to write than I’d expected, but I also enjoyed writing them, and the client seemed to really like my stories.

Great, right? It’s always nice when you enjoy your day job.

Then, sometime around the beginning of March, I started getting this (for lack of a better term) “nudge” from my inner guidance. The nudge was saying, in so many words, “You need to be writing fiction.”

Continue reading

a wish granted

“Be careful what you wish for…”

I suspect we’ve all heard this phrase at some time in our lives. Something positive comes into our life that we wanted, but it comes with stuff we have “deal with” in order to have it, stuff we probably didn’t thing about when we asked for it.

Over the last six months or so, the pieces of my life have arranged themselves in such a way that I’m living the dream of a lot of folks out there: working from home, with virtually complete control over my schedule. However, I’ve found that setting your own schedule is a lot harder than I thought, and I’ve been struggling. Lately, I’ve been trying out different schedules in an attempt to establish some sort of daily routine that allows me to get my work done and also get in exercise, meditation, grocery shopping, etc. I still haven’t found the perfect formula, but I’m getting closer.

In 1995, when I started my clothing design business (which I did from home the first four or five years), I was still doing other jobs
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saying yes

I’m sitting down to write without really knowing what’s going to come out. I’m doing this because I tend to obsess over what I should write about, and whether I can carry through the thought to the end, and whether anyone will get what I’m trying to say, and whether what I write will sound like just so much metaphysical/spiritual drivel. Who wants to read this stuff, anyway? And, of course, all this fretting keeps me from writing. (I’m sure plenty of you out there are nodding your heads, being well acquainted with this state.)

On the other hand, I’ve always done well with assignments and deadlines. When I was the dance writer for a weekly publication here in NC, I was invited to participate in the American Dance Festival’s Dance Critics Conference. The format for the conference was that we would attend performances by modern dance companies from all over the world, then immediately return to a room full of computers and write our reviews in the space of an hour and a half or so.

When I learned this, I panicked. After all, I’d only been doing this for a year and a half, and I’d pretty much lucked into the job, and I was used to writing for a weekly. I was used to having a LOT of time to edit and rework what I wrote. What the hell would my reviews be like with only an hour and a half to complete them? Continue reading

be here now

I can’t seem to get my thoughts together enough these days to write anything coherent about what I’ve been going through lately, so there are a number of unfinished drafts in my posts folder. Perhaps time and distance will provide clarity and insight and the ability to communicate the jumble of events and emotions that have marked the past year, especially the past three or four months, but it’s not going to happen any time soon. I’ve only recently accepted this as being what is and stopped beating myself up for it.

In fact, acceptance of what is seems to be the task in front of me right now. It’s not that I’ve stopped envisioning what I want. I’ve been doing that for some time now, and still do. However, a big part of my struggles of late has been my disappointment that what I’ve envisioned isn’t exactly what’s materialized.

But that’s a subject for another post.

As has always been the case with me, I often look to others to find the words that will express what I want to express or the words that will inspire some shift in my head and my heart. Searching out and sharing the words of others has been a huge part of this blog from the beginning, and in spite of the short circuit in my own head that’s keeping me from writing about my stuff, I’ve managed to continue to post quotes du jour and other articles and readings by writers whose work I admire.

This has been my way of heeding the words of Bhagavan Das, “Be here now” (which inspired the book by Ram Dass). If I can’t write, at least I can continue to share the writing of others. It is what it is. Be here now. Continue reading

pre first draft ~anne lamott

I had a great idea for a new book, although come to think of it, maybe it is just a Facebook post. But it would be called Pre First Draft, and address the way we suit up and show up to be writers, artists, and general tribal-two-stomp creative types.

I think it would begin with an admonition: if you used to love writing, painting, dancing, singing, whatever, but you stopped doing it when you had kids or began a strenuous career, then you have to ask yourself if you are okay about not doing it anymore.

If you always dreamed of writing a novel or a memoir, and you used to love to write, and were pretty good at it, will it break your heart if it turns out you never got around to it? If you wake up one day at eighty, will you feel nonchalant that something always took precedence over a daily commitment to discovering your creative spirit?

If not—if this very thought fills you with regret—then what are you waiting for?

Back in the days when I had writing students, they used to spend half their time explaining to me why it was too hard to get around to writing every day, but how once this or that happens—they retired, or their last kid moved out—they could get to work.

I use to say very nicely, “That’s very nice; but it’s a total crock. Continue reading

quote du jour ~lamott – writing and reading…

Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.

~Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life