Horseradish: bitter truths you can’t avoid

Wow, this post took kind of a grim turn, didn’t it?  I wonder why the way in which I can most immediately perceive that I will continue to change is my response to sad things?  Maybe it’s because I look at my parents and in-laws and older friends and I see more and more losses in their lives, even though of course good things continue to happen, too, and the joy they take in ordinary pleasures and grandchild stuff is also different from the joys they experienced when they were young.  My housebound relative has some dementia, but even before that set in, I was struck by her considerable ability to be fairly contented within a pretty circumscribed and limited life. On the way to see her, I stopped at Trader Joe’s for some snacks to leave with her, and as always, she was able to enjoy the treats and to urge me to take some of the chocolate-covered almonds with me when I went.  She used to read a lot, and I always thought of that as a big part of her ability to be contented, but now she really can’t read and she doesn’t seem to mind too much, most of the time. I can’t conceive of a time when I won’t be able to read and won’t mind–but if it can happen to this lady, it can probably happen to me.

Well.  That wasn’t exactly a turn away from the grim!

What I was going to set out to write was about the ways in which I would like to change in the next ten years, as proposed by Shawn Smith in the link in that post.  I am avoiding it a little bit because I feel as though I’m always using this space to talk about what I’d like to do and then not doing it, most especially in terms of writing.  I keep saying I want to push writing more toward the center of my life, and I keep making efforts in that direction, and then the centripetal force of life keeps pushing it out, out, and away…

I gave NaNoWriMo a go this year, and my school-year and school-break and summervacation posts are often about how to find more time for writing and not to let it get crowded out by the rest of life.  And when I look back over the last few years, I think that maybe I haven’t done so badly in terms of keeping writing somewhere in the mix of my life.  I did finish my second book manuscript, started a third, continued to publish (at a trickle, yes, but in some excellent venues).  It’s disappointing that 2013 was not, in fact, the year that my second manuscript got accepted, but in striving after that goal, a lot got done.  It was a finalist for a contest and garnered a couple of very encouraging notes from editors.  So I suppose I ought to reframe my comment about how I use the space: maybe I use it to coach and cajole and remind myself so that I do keep pushing writing back to the center.

Anyway, in ten years I will be more of the writer I’m becoming, whatever that means; as my life unfolds, my writing will keep unfolding along with it.  I will write seriously, as I have for the last twenty-five years.  I will have continued to publish.  I will develop new obsessions as a writer, and I’ll find new work in the old obsessions, too.

And I’ll keep trying new practices to help me find my way to the time and imaginative space I need, whether that’s trying NaNoWriMo, or writing my goals here, or joining an online group (the one at Dame Eleanor‘s helped me find my way toward the smallest useful unit of time for me, which seems to be 12 minutes) or working with a friend; time goals or word goals; going away or staying at home.  And I won’t be embarrassed when any of these is less than a total success!  (The success being doing one’s work, of course.)

The first thing I’m trying this year is something I’ve heard about from others: the practice of writing Morning Pages, from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way.  The link explains it pretty well, although 21 minutes, rather than 15, seems to be what it takes me to do.

2 responses to this post.

  1. […] I tell you that I sustained my Morning Pages practice for the whole month of January?  I missed two days when things got busy and I just […]


  2. […] while I know I’ve mentioned writing Morning Pages for the last six months, I don’t think I have mentioned that I decided to embark on the […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: