I’m a lot of different things, but mostly bad at all of them. A minimalist, with an addiction to buying books. A kind of Buddhist, or at least Buddh-ish, struggling with acceptance, mindfulness, and letting go. I’m a writer that’s rarely been published and almost never paid. Sometimes I wonder what’s the use. Maybe I’m not any of those things. Maybe I’m just someone aspiring to be something I might never be able to reach. Maybe I’m something that lives in between.
I try to possess less. I try to be possessed by less. I try to be present. I try to write. And tomorrow, I will try again.
I make a ritual of beginning. A ceremony of starting anew.
Panicked if I try to plan too far into the future. Depressed and distressed if I review the past. The rhythm of a day is the only one I can live with, the only one I can keep. The only one that makes sense. The only one I can see. “The sun goes up; the sun goes down”, Austin Kleon says. The Earth turns toward the light, and then it turns away.
Every morning, I get up early. I walk the dog. I light a candle. I meditate. I put on the kettle. I make tea. I write. Or, at least I try to.
During the week I don’t have long. Maybe an hour at most. It’s not usually a flurry of productivity and inspiration. Most days it’s a slow archaeological dig of discovering a few good words, dusting them off, and putting each down after the other. I try to put a piece of a mystery together. I try to make something true.
Some authors look to achieve a certain number of pages or words. I just try to give myself time and space. Annie Dillard says that “I do not so much write a book as sit up with it, as with a dying friend. During visiting hours…I hold its hand and hope it will get better.” I haven’t written a book. Perhaps, I never will. But, I know what it’s like to sit with the writing. Some days I’m the visitor. Some days I’m a dying friend. Some days I know just what to say. Some days it’s the keys that speak. Some days I’m only staring. Somedays it’s the writing that’s holding me. Mostly, it’s a hope of presence, that being a part of the ceremony, that by being here for the ritual, something will improve.
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