1. Save yourself the time it would take to read Moby Dick and read David Ebenbach’s interview with Ishmael.
2. What happened when one writer committed herself to the 30 Day Write Yourself Alive challenge with Andrea Balt and Tyler Knott Gregson.
3. Margaret Atwood has a new book coming out this year.
4. My new favorite TV show.
5. Add to your TBR pile with these spring releases.
Day 2 of the Write Yourself Alive Challenge.
Narrate a day in your life as the main character of an autobiographical novel.
She is getting used to the silent days. So much silence, it is like another presence, sharing space with her. What she wouldn’t have given for that peace and quiet when her kids were little and the only quiet time she had was in the shower or while she slept. But even then, even in those moments, the quiet was punctured by this underlying waiting, this awareness of others in the house, others who could need her at any moment.
She lived her life on guard.
Now, for the most part of most days, she is in the house alone. When her husband travels, the only time she hears her own voice is when she talks to her dog. She lavishes her with language, as much for the dog and for herself.
She tells herself that all that silence feeds her writing. And it does, When she lets it. Some days though she hides from it. Dodging the silence all day long by calling people, mindless meandering across the internet, binge watching a show on Hulu, pouring the glass of wine a little earlier than normal. Those days, the silence feels like a call to a duel, a duel she has no energy to engage in.
Other days, she embraces the silence, the solitude. She starts the day with meditation, that thing she has resisted for so many years but now feels familiar. Not always comfortable but definitely familiar. A candle glows on her altar, the sweet sugary scent reminding her of a bakery first thing in the morning. Then she goes to her desk and opens a notebook to fill three pages with the ramblings of her mind, no product in mind, just pure process of connecting pen to paper, heart to mind. Then it’s over to the computer where she dismantles the internet through Freedom for 45 minutes and manages to eek out at least 500 words on her novel.
Those days are good days. Those days she gives her writing and silence the attention and priority they deserve.
She’s learning to have compassion for all of her days. Trying not to label them as good or bad. Trying not to label herself as good or bad. Learning there are days when she is present and days when she is not.
And they are just days.
Her precious days.
Then she remembers the Annie Dillard quote:
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
Her life has been made up and is made up of days, some loud and crowded and pulsing with other’s needs and some quiet and subdued and just aching for her to look at her own needs. But they are all her days making up her life, a life that she tries to rise up and meet every single morning the best she can, honoring the ebb and flow of moods, energy, attention, awareness.
Honoring her self.
Honoring her wild and precious days.
Honoring her one wild and precious life.
Today I’m sharing the answer to the 17th question from an interview with my creative self.
Say I have died and my Inner Critic stays behind to write a goodbye note in the third person that commemorates my work. What would make me Rest In Peace?
She followed the hungry beating heart of language and stories and words sewn together with blood and tears and joy, never giving up. Always showing up. She spilled both her light and dark onto the page regardless of what anyone thought. For her it was all about the process—the process of showing up, diving deep, swimming out to the deep end not knowing what came next and not caring. She believed in the alchemy of writing—that seemingly magical process of finding, discovering, unearthing the right words at the right moment that could crack her world open, allowing a little more space around the thump thump thumping of her own little heart, connecting her with the awesome heart of the Universe.