A Bear, Tomatoes, and an Exercise in Resisting in Metaphor

A black bear is wandering our small city. Braving the busy main roads, trotting down quiet side streets and into little backyards, finding temporary refuge in the marshes and sparse woods. Two days ago, he was across from my mother’s house, … Continue reading

The In-Between

Spring is a struggle. Every year, no matter what. The wan light strains. Pollen induces anxiety. Last year, I remember writing, “I resent the forsythia.” And I do, those poor brave blooms daring to dot the bare landscape bright yellow. … Continue reading

Spring

For the first time in over three years, a single flower bloomed on our hibiscus. I do not give up on plants. The poinsettia from Christmas is still vibrant on the kitchen table. The peace lily my mom carried on … Continue reading

Crossing the Finish Line

I’d intended to get fresh thoughts down this morning for my final post in this 365-consecutive-day series, but I dodged it. I dragged my feet. Procrastination, I’ve learned, is part of the process. The whole time you’re writing in your head–that’s part of the work too.

A few things I can say with certainty on the last day: I have found my way back to me. I pushed aside that paralyzing and imaginary concept of perfection. I walked through my fear back to myself.

I learned, or rather I taught myself, that the main thing is showing up. The action is everything.

I found my voice again. And my strength.

In light of all that lies ahead, for us and for our country, I can think of no better way to leave off. Strong in my sense of self. Strong voice. Ready to show up and do the work.

On Saturday, I’ll take an early train into NYC for the Women’s March.

And in a week, I’ll be back with a new post. Imagine, a whole week between posts?

(Post 365 of 365 ~ I did it!!!)

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)