Sunday, July 24, 2016

moving the plot forward

I am back.
I just spent the last eight days sequestered away in a lodge, attending lectures and writing workshops. It was my dream.

Except for the missing of the kids and the husband, of course.
In some regards, it would have been better if I had done this right after my undergrad: before all these responsibilities piled on.

But on the other hand, I am more determined now.
I've done enough things that I didn't like to know for sure this is what I do.
I am less apt to give up when it gets hard.

So maybe it wouldn't have been better, it just would have been easier. 

Sometimes, I think that the last ten years of my life has been wasted, because I never moved forward toward my goal. I think that, because I think in terms of stories and plots.

But this past week, I realized none of it was a waste. We have built a home and a family. I worked jobs necessary because of life's demands. I have acquired interview skills and empathy. I have made mistakes worth writing about. And I have been writing this whole time.

Now, I will work on writing more, and for publication. But that doesn't mean the writing that preceded it was for naught. It wasn't.

And I'm glad that old writing wasn't workshoppped, because this whole time-word by word, line by line-I have been molding my craft.

My mentor compared writing to molding clay in a potter's wheel. That's what I've been doing. And now, after figuring out on my own what does and doesn't become me, I'm doing it with direction.





Monday, July 11, 2016

the moment

I have been focusing on finding balance in my life. I am a person of extremes. I keep myself so busy with a handful of things that I neglect the rest of my responsibilities. Like running, for example. That consumed my life for six months. Or with the boys: I am great at taking them places and giving them field trips. But then, we don't spend enough time reading books or painting or playing games. And my house is never as clean as it should be.

So now, I am making a conscious effort to spend some time reading, some time doing yoga, some time walking, some time cleaning and playing with the boys. I am editing a book, but haven't spent enough time on that. And on Friday, my ten-day residency for grad school starts. So I have put in my notice at the coffee shop. Shortly after residency comes our 10-year-anniversery vacation in NYC. And then, I am going to spend a month without a job, editing this book and writing. And Brandon will start preschool. I need a few weeks off for that. 

I am going to re-calibrate. I am going to find what I can do and what pushes me too far. I am going to rediscover what I love and stop losing myself in what I don't. I am going to be myself again, but without any extremes. I am not going to obsess about exercising or going places or documenting our lives as it is happening. I am going to be. Not be still, because that is impossible for me, but just work on being. I am good at obsessing over becoming, but I'd like to find myself in the moment instead.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

enduring

It's been over a decade that Steve and I have been together. And I'm not one of those types to post a bunch of mushy stuff on social media about us, because that's not really who we are a lot of times. Much of our time is spent independently - him working and me taking care of our family and home.

We are still in love, but not in the daily-kissing-pictures kind of way. We have a commitment to each other and are still passionate about each other, but we also have roles we play now beyond "boyfriend" and "girlfriend." Our lives have become more complicated and bigger, with more responsibilities and decisions.

I watch "The Bachelorette" and I'm not even going to say as a guilty pleasure. I don't feel guilty about it at all. I watch it for the drama and maybe a little bit to watch the beginning stages of love, or something that is a lot like love. Last week, the bachelorette went on a date with a guy that is much like my husband. He is a realist. She is not. So she decided they were not compatible, because he didn't believe in the fairy-tale type of love. But I knew what that guy was saying. And then I finished this book which explained in words what I couldn't:

I closed my eyes, and it was Hugh I saw. His hands, the hair on his fingers, the Band-Aids on his thumbs. How real all of that was. How ordinary. How achingly beautiful. I wanted what came after the passion had blown through: flawed, married love...What I want is the enduring. The beautiful enduring. ~ an excerpt from The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd

I love the way she puts it. In marriage, it is not all passion all the time. There are fights about chores and money and parenting. There is matching up socks and mowing the lawn and endless loads of dishes. There are budgets and spreadsheets and texts about dinner. It is not the stuff that movies are made of. But it is the stuff that life is made of.

Steve and I chose each other one day a decade ago, and each day, we choose each other again. We choose to endure through our arguments and come out the other side, hopefully a more compromising person. The hardest part of love is the "unconditional" part, but isn't that what makes it love, after all? Loving for flaws and all. The beautiful enduring.