Falling Down, Getting Up

I dreamed for my children.detail

I’m in resistance mode today. Unwilling. Grouchy. I am a two-year-old in tantrum. Don’t wanna.

What don’t I want to do? Anything that my mind decides feels like work, like writing this blog post, paying the bills due today, doing up the grocery list for tomorrow’s shopping. Don’t wanna, my mind keeps saying.

What do I want to do? Lay on the couch and read all afternoon. I am on page 221 of The Peripheral by William Gibson. Bought it during Christmas holidays and started reading it this week. Yes, it’s GOOD, and that’s why I want to read all afternoon. Find out what happens next—the hallmark of a well-written book. Thank you for sharing this, William.

So what am I going to do about all this ‘don’t wanna’?

I am bribing myself. I have a big mug of cocoa at my side, one of my last candy canes melted into it. I have music on, a combination of melody and the sound of ocean waves running against a rocky beach. I have my Minions standing guard atop the unruly pile of papers on my work table. Kevin with his banana and black English bowler hat. Stuart in his blue vampire cape, showing off his spikey teeth. They make me laugh. And they are cheering me on.

Bribery and a cheering section. This works.

So I sit myself at my studio work table. Pick up my purple BIC pen. Lay in front of me a stack of loose leaf paper. I have a blog post to create. What do I write?

I start here, where I am. Unwilling. Crabby. Bad mood. Resisting everything. And I write exactly this. How I feel. Struggling to not struggle.

I learned this from both Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron. Begin where I am. Become present to my life just as it is in this moment, bad mood and all, says Natalie.

Accept it, and write anyways. Place my tantrum on the page, put the drama where it belongs, says Julia.

The page accepts everything. Holds it for me so I don’t have to. Tells me it is alright and I am alright. The mood I am in will shift and change and fade to something else. Let it. I know it fades quicker when I let myself create.

Am I feeling better? Yes. Is the ‘don’t wanna’ still hanging around? Yes, but not as loud. I’ll get through and past this tantrum.

Sitting here writing, I suddenly know why I am grouchy. Yesterday I wrote for four-plus hours, material for a creativity course I am teaching in the Fall. Felt awesome while I was deep in creation. Excited, inspired, energized. Ideas and words flowing. Unstoppable.

And now today, the water level in my creative well is low. Almost drained. I need to refill it. Julia taught me to understand this, too.

I know what to do. Play. Lay on the couch and read William’s book. Do a crossword puzzle or two with my pink BIC pen. Colour in my new colouring book with my set of fifty Crayola felt pens scattered across the table top. Watch one of the animated movies I have collected, and laugh. Marvel at the collective imagination of those who created the movie characters and the story. Laugh more.

And then love myself. Love and celebrate what I created yesterday. Love and celebrate what I create today. Just love myself, resistance and bad mood and writer and artist and all.

I am who I am in each moment. Love this, and allow, and accept. Create from exactly where I am, especially if it requires some bribery to get to the studio and pick up my pen.

Love my unwillingness. It gives me a place to begin today. It gives me a blog post to write and share. It reminds me to love myself, whatever is happening.

Just love myself.


In this post:

The Peripheral by William Gibson, Berkley Books, NY, 2015, www.williamgibsonbooks.com/

Natalie Goldberg, http://nataliegoldberg.com/

Julia Cameron, http://juliacameronlive.com/

The Inside Out Upside Down Draft

I Walked The Storm And Became Its Centre (Ethan)
I Walked The Storm And Became Its Centre (Ethan)

I woke at 6:30 this morning to soggy sloppy snow on the ground, in the trees, and filling the air.  My husband’s comment–‘out like a lion’, referring to March 31 today.  Upside down Spring.

Yes, I am writing this post a day ahead because tomorrow, April 1, Camp Nanowrimo begins.  I am signed up to spend April revising the first draft of my book.  I have a virtual cabin full of twelve of us writing similar work.  New friends and fellow writers for moral support, for whining and freaking out with, and for mutual cheering on.

It feels appropriate to begin my revision on April Fool’s Day.  I am nicknaming this second draft the Inside Out Upside Down Draft, because that is exactly what is going to happen with it.

This is the shake-up of the first draft.

I’ve never revised a book before.  Have edited loads of essays, posts, letters, policies, poems, term papers.  But never a whole book.

This feels a little intimidating.

I am approaching it with a bag full of Cadbury Cream Eggs and a can of bear spray.  I am walking into the deep woods without a map.  This is taking my courage and my first draft and being willing to read, feel, take apart, backtrack, turn sideways, throw out, write again and write again, feed that to the bear, and write yet once more.

The chocolate is for me.  The bear spray is for the draft if it gets out of control and tries to bite me or anyone else.  The bear I just mentioned—he loves to eat bad writing.  I plan on feeding him as much as he can take until I am left with only the good writing.  Bear is sitting out there in the melting slush right now.  Drooling.  He just came out of hibernation.  He’s HUNGRY.

And so am I.  Hungry to play with words galore tomorrow, and for the next twenty-nine days after that.

I’ll send postcards.

Wish me luck!


Mentioned in this post:

Camp Nanowrimo    campnanowrimo