“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’ think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment.” – Joan Didion
This quote, “Many adults…stall in the information-gathering stage of a project. They keep collecting inspiration and ideas without ever moving forward to the point of making something of their own. Forget about finishing – they can’t start,” from Lori Pickert’s PROJECT-BASED HOMESCHOOLING is kicking me in the butt
I was completely immersed in BARKSKINS by Annie Proulx until I realized, with a jolt, that even though it was brilliant and amazing, I had to stop reading it because I knew that I couldn’t both read this novel and get my writing done. I had to choose. And I choose writing.
Working to re-establish writing times
“My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call.” – Pat Conroy
Note to self: 1. do one thing at a time 2. say it simple
Writing so many thank you notes.
Three quotes that are steadying me right now:
“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter. And lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.” – Jack London [Because I am loving, loving, loving my early morning journal writing. This is the bedrock of my writing efforts. The essential effort that holds my writing universe together.]
“Without great solitude no serious work is possible.” – Pablo Picasso [Because I am living in a new town, and rather than feeling lonely, I am enjoying the solitude. Pair my recent move with cold, winter weather and the result is delicious.]
“The best writing is often done by persons who are snatching time from something else.” – E.B. White [Because I have unrelenting demands on my time, my writing time is snatched from a loooong to-do list.]
Oh November, I love you so!
My latest column: On Rejection
Current sanity-saving habits: not turning my smartphone on until after lunch, then setting it to airplane mode, and finally keeping my FB capped at a daily 10-minutes (kept honest with a timer)
Last week I drove a minivan for 900 miles and I’m embarrassed to admit that it was ah-mazing. So much space! (I usually drive a compact car, so the size difference was enormous)
Spent last week in Montana absorbing the landscape and taking great notes
Kicking of a 4-day Art Camp in which I will make all the things I’ve been wanting to make since forever: map stationery, tiny books, cyanotype prints, a skirt for my daughter, potato prints, paper marbling, I may even manage to sew a patch on the knees of my son’s torn pants
Collapsing into bed each night
Excited about all the changes that are ahead: trying to keep clear on what is the most important and let the rest go
Two quotes are pin-balling around my head these days:
“He carried a country of his own in his mind, and was able to unfold it like a tent in any wilderness.” – Willa Cather
“Listen to me. You need to be a home for yourself and your work. You need to be the safe place to present things to be admired and loved.” – Elizabeth Berg
Fitting in my writing in the spaces between all my other responsibilities. Even though I yearn for large blocks of time to submerge myself in, I am grateful for the time I’m given. (Also, It’s remarkable how much all the little bits and pieces and scraps of time add up.) Steady on, steady on.
Overdue for a conversation with my writing/accountability partner.
Catching up on my sleep! (Don’t laugh!) Being well-rested is a huge part of my creative process. I don’t do anything well if I don’t sleep enough.
Rebounding after learning that I was not awarded a grant I’d set my heart on. Initially, I tried to distract myself from the disappointment I felt. But then I decided that I’d just allow myself to be sad without trying to fix it. I did other things that helped to soothe me: went to a local art gallery, drank extra peppermint tea, got an adjustment at the chiropractor and did some reading. And I worked to change my negative internal dialogue.
attended the IA SCBWI writing conference in Des Moines and was fortified by the time spent with fellow writers and makers
planning a writing marathon with my writing partner this weekend: can’t hardly wait to sink into that big swath of time
drafting a proposal for my next book
finishing up my residency application and hoping for the best
completed a solid draft of my next column
championing the use of an unlined 11×14 sketchpad for corralling ideas and words and scenes – such a great tool for playing on the page and capturing ideas
sorting through all my notes, sending thank you notes and creating a to-do list from last weekend’s conference
reading: CLOTH LULLABY by Amy Novesky
My latest column: HOW TO HARVEST WILD RICE
Just finished road tripping around Lake Superior. 1,602 miles from Duluth, Minn. to Duluth, Minn.! Discovered Paddle-to-the-Sea Park in Nipigon, the Winnie-the-Pooh Park in White River and Apostle Islands Booksellers and so much more.
A gem of a quote from Tobias Wolff via Mary Karr’s book, LIT: A MEMOIR
“Don’t approach your history as something to be shaken for its cautionary fruit…Tell your stories, and your story will be revealed. Don’t be afraid of appearing angry, small-minded, mean, immoral, amoral, calculating, or anything else. Take no care for your dignity. These were hard things for me to come by and I offer them to you for what they may be worth.”
I found this quote from Bowdoin College’s web site and have not been able to determine the author beyond the fact that s/he is an instructor or professor at that college. But, I’ve got to share this. I’ve been going round and round with keeping a journal and this quote is so helpful:
“The function of a research journal is to set down your thoughts about the primary and secondary source material you are reading. It is a record of your questions about the materials you read, and provides a place to record the questions this material raises. The object of the journal is to record your thoughts about the primary and secondary material at hand. You want to do this as close to the moment of having the thought as possible, and you want to minimize anything that hampers this objective. Make your journal accessible and easy to use. Use a special computer file devoted to the purpose, or a spiral-bound notebook, or whatever device works best for you. Don’t worry about correct spelling or punctuation. The journal is not for anyone’s eyes but your own.”
In short, your research journal is a record of wondering.
Now, I’m off to read HARRIET THE SPY by Louise Fitzhugh (again).