Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Refreshed and Ready

I got to spend a few days away in California and it was a welcome retreat from the norm. It came at the perfect time when I needed a reminder that winter doesn't last forever - literally and metaphorically.

It was a time to see new sights, embrace old friends, and listen to the ocean. Waves crashing on the shore is one of my favorite things to hear and it reaches deep to places that otherwise go untapped.

My favorite part of escaping to one of my favorite states was the time I spent with friends. Some of them I've known over fifteen years, and we reconnected as if we'd laughed together just yesterday. Another was an ally through graduate school, and is a fellow writer. She is at the same stage in her writing career as I am. We're part of the same tribe. She is navigating the world of literary agents (with a fabulous one, I might add), revisions and the fear that no one but she and her agent will love her work. Having read her writing, I know this won't be the case, but I understand the sentiment one-hundred and ten percent.

It felt amazing to talk about writing with someone who could so personally relate to the good, bad and ugly of it all. We laughed at references to books we'd both read, shared disgust at how slowly the publishing world is mirroring the diversity we live in, and marveled at the talent we have had the opportunity to witness in our peers and past advisors. We spent time browsing books, and writing side by side. She read my latest work and offered thoughtful feedback. It was encouraging and affirming. It made me long for a local writing/critique group. Writing is solitary and requires a lot of discipline to ignore life for a while and put words on a page. As I've stated several times on this blog, I am not always good at keeping my writing time sacred. Many probably have this problem, and please share your woes with me and let's commiserate.

The truth is, that I try to set aside time to write on weekly basis (I gave up on the daily thing a long time ago). I have some time while my daughter is in practice that I have deemed my time to write. However, things like groceries, laundry and work meetings have creeped into that time. I should push them aside and just write, but then they loom over me, like a rain cloud, reminding me that the next pocket of time I might have to complete those tasks might not be for another week. How many peanut butter sandwich dinners can I feed my kid before she demands that I go to the grocery store and feed her real food? That's all it takes to yank me right out of my story and into the real world.

But, there's something about being in front of the ocean, witnessing its vastness that sheds a new light on the mundane. It's like it whispered to me, "Do it."
Do what you don't think you can do, and see how it makes things happen.
Do what you think you don't have the time to do and see how life makes time in other ways.
Do what you love and see how the other tasks in life become easier, lighter to bear.
Do what you know you must do and in time, it will become second nature.
Do it now.
It was the message I needed to hear. The conversations I shared with my ally were the conversations I needed to replenish my creative spirit. The time spent in different surroundings was what I needed to feel like I could face the every day with a new sense of possibility and renewed energy for my craft. It was much needed and I'm thankful for it.

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