Writing Matters But So Does Lunch

 

 

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It is June and that means graduation season for many of us including me. This week my 18 year old son, Dylan, is graduating from high school.

And until today, I have been making his lunch.

I am not sure why I kept doing it.  Teachers used to tease him about. But he didn’t mind. It was really more for me than him.

I told myself that I had to make my own lunch and it wasn’t a big deal. And that it was one less thing he would have to do knowing there were finals and presentations to finish. He’d rather sleep anyway then worry about making a lunch. 

As I put together the photos for his Open House, I wondered how the years flew away from me and how he grew from a boy to a 6’ 5” man he is today. Lately, I have been calling him Shaggy (from Scooby Doo) because of that fuzzy mound of hair that has congregated on his chin.) 

I am still in a bit of a daze that graduation is upon us. This fall he will be moving out of the house to attend college. And I will be an empty nester. 

A little sadness settles in.

Yet, what seems to be a bit of synchronicity I stumbled upon these words by Kahlil Gibran:

“Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness.
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.

 I needed to read those words.

The words written by Kahlil Gibran helped me as I transition into a new life without Dylan home.

Writing connects you to others and to the world.  And it can help you make sense of your own world and of your life.

It also reminded me how important it is to write to the people in our life. Writing from the heart can bring joy and comfort to you and to others.

That is why I write.  Sharing my words and my feelings has always been important. So instead of making a sandwich for Dylan today, I will write him a graduation note and tell him how I feel about this special day.

 

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”    —Albus Dumbledore

Word Care

 

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Words are not always cooperative.  Are they?   They remain invisible, unstable, uncooperative or stale.  My editor self says,  “you are so boring.”

Why do I write?

Author, Julia Cameron,  said in her book, The Right to Write that writers should write …  “because it is human nature to write.  Writing claims our world.”

She also said, to paraphrase,  that our own inspiration connects us to something larger than ourselves allowing ourselves to live with greater optimism.

As a writer, there is always something to do. Writing, editing, researching, learning Scrivener. 

Sometimes  my brain does not want to think about it anymore. If I show up regularly to write I know that some days are easier than others. I also know that NOT feeling like writing is no excuse to not writing.

Yet what can I do to keep the creative faucet open when things seem a little too dry?

Some days it could be just eating a lemon poppyseed muffin. Or walking my dog,  or maybe three pages of ranting on the way the words are not working today.

The thing about feeling stuck when writing is that it is only temporary.  The moment you think you will never be able to write another word is when the faucet starts running uncontrollably. Something that reminds me of a scene from a Supernatural episode.  Like when the bathtub water starts to boil.   Eerie but exciting.

That’s the thing about creativity. It appears when you least expect it. But It’s not like it went anywhere. It’s more that you finally allowed that time portal to open so you could jump in.

Sometimes opening that door to your muse is nothing more than allowing yourself the gifts of living and embracing the wonderful world you are writing about. 

Take a nice long walk, read a book,  taste a piece of dark chocolate and drink a cup of Chai, go to the art museum. Don’t feel guilty about it.  Because after a break, you will get back to the chair and write whatever you can – good or bad.

Because that’s what you do.   You write.

Engaging in the world is  part of the process. 

Julia Cameron calls it a Writer’s Date. But for me it’s living a creative life. Engaging intimately in what I want to write about: my world.  It builds on the knowledge I’ve gathered already  and deepens what it means for me to be a human but also to be me.

Not Just Another Thing I Have To Do

 

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I think writer Brenda Ueland had it right.

She said, “The imagination needs moodling,–long, inefficient happy idling, dawdling and puttering. ”

It’s all about play and slowing down.

Writing is enjoyable. Even during a long dry spell. Even when the words feel heavy and meaningless.  Even during these times, it is important to remember that I do like to write. 

When I don’t rush.  When I slow down like I do for any mindful activity like walking or meditating. When I slow down to let the words fall good or bad on my page. 

Writing is joyful.

In my Developing a Writing Habit class, I tell students to think of writing as not just one more thing you have to do. It’s what you choose to do. It’s what you want to do.

Writing is about exploring, expressing and playing.  Writing is about making discoveries, solving problems, creating new worlds, and feeling a whole spectrum of emotions.

Never make it seem like it’s just a chore that you need to do or you’ll never do it.

Yes, there will be times when it’s frustrating and difficult and you won’t feel like doing it.

 But hang in there just a little longer and things will change.

They always do.  

And when it does the magic of writing will return.

As Sherlock Holmes once said to Watson, “The game is afoot.”

Write. Because That’s What You Do

 

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I am sitting at my desk with a large baked potato in front of my iPad. I am eating before writing or perhaps I am thinking and eating before I am writing. My back hurts. My brain is tired from working eight hours at my day job but I am here right now for a regular writing session.

I have projects to work on so I have no excuse not to write. And I know if I don’t make use of this time, it will be gone and I will have lost the opportunity to do what I enjoy: to write.

It doesn’t always come easily and I don’t always feel inspired. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do it. I can write the worst junk out there and it will be better than if I went and cleaned the bathroom. If I give myself a choice like that, writing wins out.

According to writer, Jennifer Egan:

“You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly. You can’t write regularly and well. One should accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.”

Well I’ve eaten my potato so it’s time to sit down and write whatever I can. The worst or the best. It doesn’t matter. It will pay off. I will feel good spending the time doing what I love And the words and ideas I am looking for will come either tonight or maybe while I am out walking or doing something else. That’s the thing about inspiration. It strikes at the oddest of times.

Whether it does now or later, I will show up to write now. Showing up to write is like stoking the fire.

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it. ” —Neil Gaiman

Now go write.

Words Matter

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It’s the holidays and I look forward to giving and receiving cards from family and friends.

Cards can be expensive too so I appreciate each one. Some are so beautiful and I know I will keep them.  Others are very simple but it is still special to me because I was on someone’s card list.

Some people think that writing out cards is just an added job they have to do during the holidays. A requirement of the season to make SANTA happy or your mother. But writing out a card to someone can be so much more.

I have a writing friend who has a ritual of writing cards to family and friends and those who have touched her life no matter how briefly. She takes time during the whole year not just during the holidays, to put down her thoughts and sends them off in the mail regularly. It makes her feel good and it always makes the recipient happy.

On his 30th birthday I gave my son a card with a copy of a birthday letter I wrote to him when he was 12.  He was surprised and touched by this.  It mattered.

After the holidays many cards will be thrown away. The real purpose is that connection you make with another person.  That brief, quiet moment in time.

So send that simple Hallmark card to someone you love.  Put just one thought in it about how much he/she means to you. They will appreciate it.

It’s the thought that counts.

But so do the words.