Archives for posts with tag: the plight of the writer

Some mornings every step is painful. Others not so much. Either way, I generally enjoy my morning walk on a weekday before work, and on weekends whenever the fancy strikes me. I enjoy being out among the trees, most especially, or alone on a wind swept meadow, or at the edge of the changing tide listening to the call of sea birds. There’s a lot to enjoy in life. I wasn’t always able to enjoy that, and there was a time when every step on every walk was punctuation for unspoken thoughts, and unhealed heartbreak, and each pause to snap a picture of a flower was an attempt to do something, anything at all, just a little differently than I had before. Every step, and every mile, on this journey has mattered. Every step, and every mile, matters still – and I’m still walking. The difference now, most mornings, is that I am walking, and smiling. 🙂

…What I’m not doing nearly as much is writing

My morning walk is just as night becomes day. The world is quiet and filled with promise.

I started this blog back in 2013. Here it is, 2021. 8 years on, and I’m in a very different place as a human. Perfectly perfect? Nope. Happily ever after? Hardly. Content and well-cared-for? Generally speaking, yes, and it’s more than I could have imagined, honestly, and I’m fairly certain I don’t need more than this life, right here, as I am living it now. It’s enough. Which, if I’m honest about it, feels a little odd sometimes. What about all of the everything else? Don’t I want or need a piece of that, too? I don’t think I do, with regard to most of the “extras” life may tempt me with from afar. I’m blasted with advertising daily, but very little of any of it gets my interest, even for a moment. Occasionally, some practical something-or-other gets my attention but mostly I’m here at home, hanging out with my Traveling Partner listening to music or watching videos, or playing video games. I’m here at home, beginning the season’s gardening tasks and spending happy hours flipping through garden catalogs, eyes wide with wonder and delight at lovely flowers that have no business in this garden, but… damn, so pretty! My morning walk takes me past other houses, other gardens.

…We each walk our own mile. We each “tend our own garden”. We are each having our own experience. Sometimes it’s hard, and we need help, sometimes it’s a joy and the labor feels effortless. Where do you want to go? It matters for walking those miles, doesn’t it? And that garden? What are you planting in it? Can it thrive in your garden. Yes, obvious metaphors for growth, for self-care, for living life. I’m good with that; it gives me a way to understand myself, and my experience. 🙂

There are sunrises…

I take a minute this morning to think about how far this journey has taken me, and how much joy my partnership brings me, and how much I have to be grateful for.

…there are sunsets.

I’ve been every bit as lax about staying in touch with friends and family, lately, as I have been at sitting down to write each day. It’s Spring here – my first in this place. 🙂 I’m savoring each sunbeam and each raindrop and watching the season develop in the view beyond the deck.

Still taking pictures of flowers. 🙂

I think about this journey to “home”, too… by this time last year, we were house hunting with some seriousness. By the end of May, we’d seen this house and made an offer on it. It’s been nearly a year of finally being home. That first couple of summer months were busy, laborious, and somewhat chaotic as we got moved and settled in and dealt with our first homeownership challenges (a hot tub needing repair, a leak in an exterior wall, figuring out where everything ended up). I’m eager to see the summer all over again – I don’t recall what it looks like. LOL

Life isn’t perfect. Whose is? I’m fortunate, though, and I am grateful. I sip my coffee and wonder if it is time to “wrap this up” and move on to other things… or simply trust that a new cadence will develop that feels natural? I’m starting to spend more time thinking, reading, and looking over creative projects. The garden calls to me. The trees beyond the deck beckon me into the forest to wander hidden trails, and camp under the stars. This life, here at home, is beginning to feel… properly real. I feel more comfortable with my developing routine… a walk in the morning, coffee with my Traveling Partner, a break a little later… Working from home feels natural now, and fits comfortably into my idea of living life well. Now to sort out when I like to write, in this gentle new way of living my life. 🙂

…Incremental change over time… I remind myself to be patient…

It’s time to begin again.

I’ve had some inspired moments that left me urgently wanting to write, recently, but the timing was poor and the moment was not at hand; the ideas have since slipped away. Some mornings I wake feeling inspired to write, other mornings it is my morning meditation that inspires me…still others, I face a blank page for an eternity of minutes, until making an observation about that experience, itself, is what remains. (Guess what sort this morning has turned out to be? lol)

I keep a journal. My most private, uncensored, unfiltered, uninvestigated, unverified, stream-of-consciousness reflections on my experience are written there, ideally where they do no harm. I have many dozens of bound volumes reflecting on various details of my life over time, and at one point they were displayed on bookcases as a singular body of written work; there was something strangely powerful about standing midst the many varied volumes, understanding that even so many were only a small slice of my individual experience in a mortal lifetime. Change happens. Most of those volumes are now locked away, for space-saving and aesthetic reasons, and changes in what I need to hold on to as I have changed, myself. In high school I wrote with structure and discipline, in the evening, once daily, at the end of the day. Later, I wrote in a somewhat irregular way, because the Army didn’t make it an easy thing to find time to write. Domestic violence drove my writing ‘underground’; my journal was secured in a safe deposit box at a nearby bank that I felt reasonably certain my husband-at-the-time did not frequent. Opportunities to write freely, then, were very rare, and the writing seemed fairly desperate.

After my first marriage ended, and I moved into my own place, my writing (in my journal) exploded into a very large part of my experience, and the many dozens of volumes began piling up. I was going through blank books every 6 weeks or so, and writing about everything I could think to. Since then, on and off I’ve gone through periods of near-continuous writing that don’t exactly seem ‘inspired’ as much as … driven. Then I stopped. Just…stopped. For a long while I didn’t write at all, almost two years, I think. Eventually, I’d write one day, say nothing,  then it would be days, weeks, months before I ‘tried again’. I had ‘lost my voice’. It pained me. I was ‘stuck’ and uninspired, and also feeling that I urgently needed to say something. I was in a very bad place. Life continued to go on around me, and certainly I continued to reflect on it…but I’d lost a powerful ally on a lonely journey: myself. Words matter. Mine matter to me. I read what I write. I had stopped writing. I had stopped listening. There seemed no other choice to me, then; what I was saying on those pages wasn’t helpful. I considered burning them all, every volume, every page, every word. I’m still not sure why…and I’m still not sure it’s a bad idea.

The closer I got to turning 50, the more it hurt me to feel so silenced. I wasn’t painting, either. I felt shutdown, diminished, and impaired. I ended many days thinking “well, this has likely run its course then, hasn’t it?” about my life, and wondering what to do about that feeling.

...and usually with a cup of coffee.

…and usually with a cup of coffee.

Here I am on the other side of all that. I write most days, here, and less regularly in my journal – and it’s digital these days. Mindfulness practices, meditation, and improving my understanding of the neuroscience of emotion has taken me a long way from that dark place. I’ve been finding life worth living for a long while, now, without any requirement that it be ‘perfect’. I feel disappointed less often. The rare days I really struggle with anxiety, fearfulness, or that bleak feeling of utter futility, are those when my PTSD is clearly causing me problems, or when I’m fatigued and having more challenges with my head injury than I do when I am well-rested.

The writing is a metaphor inasmuch as there are characteristics of that experience that point out how varied the human experience can be: driven, broken, emotional, stoic, programmed, helpless…and also loving, compassionate, supportive, adventurous, romantic, exciting… mindful. It’s been these new practices of mindfulness that have benefited me most, and the rest of life’s lessons tend to build on that, these days, by improving my experience day-to-day, or highlighting missed practices, or needful changes, using less favorable outcomes to show the way. I’ve learned that living is not about filling the blank page, as much as choosing what to write with care, and that writing is one of the things I do to take care of me.

Today is a good day to write words about writing. Today is a good day to smile, and enjoy who I am – who we each are. Today is a good day to be kind, to be considerate, and to value my most private joys as highly as those I share.