New Year (Let’s Try This Again)

Here I am on my second-to-last day, about to cross the finish line. Just one more post to go!

I’m afraid I’ve made it sound like the blog itself is ending–it’s not! I’ll be posting here weekly, and I hope you’ll keeping reading. The last two weeks my posts have been thin, and it felt like I was fizzling out. Between the post-holiday blues and a long stretch of sickness, it was all I could do to come up with a few words each day. That’s just how some days go. But that biopsy I had was benign. I’m on day 3 of no sugar/no starch, my brain fog has cleared, and I have more energy. It feels like my new year is finally beginning.

I’ve been thinking a lot about organizing (one of my biggest challenges) and housekeeping aspects of the blog. I should probably create some sections and perhaps house this 365-project under one of those sections, as novelist Cynthia Newberry Martin at Catching Days did with hers. For anyone who’s joined me later in this project, Catching Days is one of my favorite places on the internet, a beautifully curated literary site that offers endless inspiration to writers. I happened upon Catching Days as Cynthia was finishing her own 365 project, and it was the exact inspiration and guidance I needed at that moment. I was surprised and delighted when Cynthia followed me through those first days and months offering feedback and encouragement, a gift from a professional writer to an aspiring one.

Catching Days hosts a series called How We Spend Our Days that features a different writer each month and an essay about how they spend a typical writing day. I’ve finally had a chance to read the January’s writer, the poet Sawnie Morris. It’s a meditative start to the new year that’s returned me to a place of noticing. After having been away from my writing practice (evenings at the library, etc) for the last month or so, these words really resonated.

“The next day and the next, I force myself to get up and go directly to my studio, to the desk. I’ve been away for months now and the only way back is to ruthlessly dedicate myself. The effort is awkward, but I am starting to catch the faint scent of liberation, which is to say, I will disappear and only the writing will be left.”

I also loved Morris’s description of her husband thinking through the process of painting, assessing where the work was in that moment and the blind, gut-level path every artist has to follow toward completion.

“For several seconds, his mind is in the painting’s landscape and I can see that he is worried and alone in the snowfall of its forest, at the same time that he is fully awake and betting on his instincts to find the way out.”

 

(Post 364 of 365)

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10 thoughts on “New Year (Let’s Try This Again)

  1. Sarah, I so enjoyed following you on your 365-day journey. It was like mine kept going only without the hard part : ) And thanks so much for your kind words here about the blog and about the How We Spend Our Days series. I loved Sawnie’s essay as well and am using it as inspiration to re-enter the quiet of the writing world after the whirlwind of the holidays. Congratulations on all you’ve accomplished this past year. One journey may be drawing to an end, but I sense the beginning of so many more. xo

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    • Thank you, Cynthia! These words mean so much to me. And thank you for all the inspiration and encouragement–it’s been such a gift. Any news on your forthcoming novel? I know it’s such a long process, but I’m really looking forward to it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness, how did I not know about your blog?? I just found you b/c you were kind enough to leave a comment on my first Daily Shorty Market Monday post. I, too, love Catching Days, and I, too, was inspired so much by Sawnie’s post there. And I hate to keep saying this, but I, too, did a year-long writing project. Daily Shorty was born as a blog to track my project of writing a complete short story every day for a year, which I did May 1, 2012 through April 30, 2013, and what a ride that was. So I totally get the whole writing-for-a-year thing, and I so wish I’d been able to join you while you were working through yours! Anyway, lovely to meet you, and you have all my good wishes as you put all your pretty words in fine places in 2017.

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    • Claire, I’m so happy to connect and so excited about your Market Monday series! I am blown away that you wrote one short story every day for an entire year–that’s just incredible. I can’t wait to explore your archives! I plan to continue blog weekly here, which feels like such a long time between posts after a year of daily blogging, but it also feels great to have completed the project. Thank you for the good wishes! I look forward to reading more of your work!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, thanks! It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I won’t repeat it but I’m SO glad I did it. I learned more in that year than I did in my MFA program, and that’s saying worlds b/c my program (low-res VCFA) was fantastic. I’m glad you’re going to keep up the blogging, looking forward to visiting with you on a regular basis!

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  3. There is something about the day-to-day, even the thin days, once you called it thread-bare, that is so rewarding. And that reward is magnified by reading along with you, day-to-day, or almost. I read Claire’s comment above and thought – she could join you (as in, read your 365 days) but then thought, no, she’s right, she can’t. Joining someone in their blog means keeping up close to real-time, that’s what it is, that’s what separates it from a collection of pieces, or a published journal (let alone a memoir/autobiography with so much more mediation/interference). You’ve touched so many people with this blog. I have loved watching how you spend your days.

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