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WHY DO WE WAIT FOR THE RIGHT CONDITIONS?

WHEN THE WRONG ONES WILL DO

WHY DO WE WAIT FOR THE RIGHT CONDITIONS?

GROWING AND MAKING STUFF

MAKES ME HAPPY

GROWING AND MAKING STUFF

AWARENESS...

STAYING AWAKE TO THE REMARKABLE IN THE ROUTINE

AWARENESS...

Hi. I’m Maery, a writer in the Twin Cities. Although I no longer have the body for extreme adventures, I love to bicycle, go horse trail riding and take hikes with my dogs.  

One thing you should know before you join me on my quest -- I don’t have a map. And I’ve been known to wander off course and stop to listen to birds and look for agates. I also have a few issues with fear and anxiety. In other words, I’m not a good role model or adventure guide. But in this time of uncertainty and polarization, I'm not sure anyone has a reliable map. We'll just figure it out as we go.

concrete

concrete

Sometimes, looking back at how I’ve changed in the past few years, I feel like I’ve finally grown up and become an adult. Not that this means that I don’t still make mistakes (I am the Queen of Mistakeville). Nor does it mean that I’m not silly or childlike at times.

But events don’t undo me for months the way they used to. I don’t throw up my hands helplessly and say “This is what always happens to me. There’s nothing I can do!”

I’m still easily hurt. I need time to recover from an outright slap in the face or a more subtle, but more damaging, stab in the back. But I don’t sit around watching a small cut turn into a festering wound the way I used to.

concrete

Sometimes I need to say or do something to correct the problem. Other times, I just let it go and continue on my way. The latter isn’t cowardice. It’s just knowing how I want to spend my time and what battles are worth fighting. I want to conserve my energy for creating shit, not waste it on someone else’s chaos.

I always thought that growing up would be boring and would make me boring. I think mostly I feared that there would be no one else around that was more grownup than me that I could blame for whatever I felt had gone wrong.

I feared having full responsibility for what I did and whatever happened to me. Sure, some stuff is out of our control and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for it. But for most things, we know exactly what we did to end up here.

concrete

Growing up has been difficult but also freeing because I don’t have to be afraid of the whims of other people. Yes, their bullshit can affect me but I can decide not to engage in it.

We can have the best of both worlds — the freedom to be the adult in our life and make our own decisions, while at the same time, holding the attitude of a child to be curious and playful.

Remember how you imagined life would be when you grew up? When you had all those ideas about what kind of work you would do, where you would live, who you’d be with, whether you would have kids or not, places you would travel to, and so on?

Time is shorter as an adult. The body is less willing to accomodate some activities. Some days, you want to take all those naps you refused to take as a kid. But the thing is, you decide. You decide all of it.

concrete

dogs playing in snow

It was one of those weekends where everything I wrote sounded like drivel.
So I’m doing the wise thing and going pictorial.

Java and Latte Playtime

dogs playing in snow dogs playing in snow dogs playing in snow dogs playing in snow

dogs playing in snow dogs playing in snow

 

People Playtime

Traded in my fat bike for one that fits me like a glove.
This was our first time out and I’m feelin’ the bike love.

Riding fat bike

 

Riding fat bike

Riding fat bike

 

fat bikes

 

swans on Mississippi River

swans on Mississippi River

“It’s the doing of work that makes work easier, the simple doing of work no matter how hard it may feel to begin.” ~ Julia Cameron, “The Sound of Paper”

Of course it’s true, what Cameron wrote. Yet I wish for magic, Kaboom! Kapow! instantaneous results from any effort put forth.

I dream of the day I wake up and words pour freely out of my head, I suddenly grasp depth of field and know how to perfectly operate all the settings on my camera, and I ride my bike effortlessly up a hill of slippery snow and zig zag through trees without holding my breath.

Kings Island and Mississippi River

I look at other people’s work and this seems to be the case for THEM… All those THEMS out there are not working so hard.

Only if you talk to THEM, you discover that they have been working for years, probably their work has been rejected hundreds of times (if it’s the kind of work that relies on an audience) or if it’s a physical challenge, it’s something that took time. Along the way there were setbacks. You could even say that all those THEMS have tasted failure somewhere along the way.

But I believe failure only exists if you let others opinions or the difficulties you encounter discourage you and make you quit.

ducks and crow on Mississippi River

Overnight successes don’t exist. Perhaps there are “quick” successes, but I wonder if quick success is followed by quick obscurity. If you haven’t learned how to weather the storm and persevere, how can you possibly have the stamina required for staying power?

Success itself is a fickle thing. People are always looking for something fresh and new. You can never just sit back on your laurels* (whatever those are).

It’s not easy to resist throwing on the camouflage and hunting for approval and popularity. Today you can put something you created online in an instant and see how many “Likes” “Follows” “Retweets” “Favorites”  and comments you can get. It can be like a drug, and you are the rat pressing the lever over and over.

dog in the woods

I don’t want to be a rat pushing a lever. What I want are:

  • Real connections with people
  • To have my work in some way serve (not sure what that means… something like supporting others, providing helpful information, entertaining, etc.)
  • To improve my writing and photography
  • To enjoy the practice and process of what I’m doing

I listened to a podcast by Gabriela Pereira** called “Get Motivated and Get Writing.” One thing she said that especially stuck with me was a restatement of Isaac Newton’s theory that  “Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.”

In other words, it’s easier to finish something you are already working on. And once you start that work, it’s best to keep it going, no matter how small of a thing you do each day.

dog walking in snow

I’ve found this to be true. Even if I only have fifteen minutes to work on my book, I can open the files, maybe reread something I wrote, rearrange a few chapters, and I decide what comes next so I have direction when I return to my work the next day. Leaving the project with an idea of what I’ll work on tomorrow is a good way of letting my subconscious work on it while I’m offline.

It’s not that magic never happens. I sometimes sit down at my computer to find the next chapter is already in my head when I go to write it. But I’d never get to see such magic if I didn’t first show up. If I wasn’t willing to simply do the work.


*Of course I had to look up what laurels are. I thought they were a person’s thighs to tell the truth… They are trees whose leaves were used to make wreaths in ancient Greece, which were a symbol of victory and success.

**I highly recommend Gabriela Pereira’s website and podcasts for writers. Besides a bunch of great information, she also has this cool word prompt tool called Writer Igniter if you are struggling to come up with something to write about or need a good warm up session.