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.

Eagle and nest
Editing, refining, rewriting, starting over from scratch, research — none of these things are as fun to me as the initial idea and the start of creating something new. Unfortunately, they’re necessary to develop skill and complete a story, especially a longer work.

Whatever your creative endeavor, I’m sure you are familiar with this truth.

It helps if I simply consider these tasks to be practice, like doing scales on the piano, which I find tedious and boring but imperative to improving finger dexterity and strength. Some things aren’t fun but are part of the process of getting better And if I look at it that way, if I see something unpleasant as leading to goals I want to reach and who I want to become, these exercises are actually exciting and enjoyable, or at least tolerable.

The hardest part about editing though, is that in rereading what I wrote and trying to make it into a longer, interesting story, I begin to think that everything I’ve written is crap. Complete and utter crap. Hopeless, beyond improving with editing, crap.

I start to think that I’m wasting my time. Why would anyone care about or want to read the story I’m writing?

Not to mention that my pattern is that I never finish anything. Not even one full, complete draft! Who am I kidding that I’m writing a book anyway?

I can come up with a hundred other things I could be doing with my time. Anything but wasting it writing something that will never be read by anyone but me. Just think of how much more free time I could have. How much less frustrated, inadequate and like a failure I would feel.

Oh wait. Giving up kind of equates with failure. Unless it’s just a decision that there’s something else I’d rather be doing. That I’ve changed my mind and what I’m writing is no longer important to me.

No. It’s still important. Maybe even imperative. Kind of like breathing is important even if you are in a smelly place.

Oh, but I want approval. Right now! Not next month or next year. I want immediate gratification. I want to be popular. I want people to admire my work — my talent — me.

Or is it that I just want to feel less alone?

cormorant

Where is my wise-self? She should be here arguing with my monster-self, who is really mean to me. She should point out something I’m not seeing at his moment. Something hopeful. Encouraging. Strengthening. Something that re-energizes me — like chocolate melting in my mouth followed by a swig of dark coffee.

While I wait for wise-self to show up, all I can do is plug on. Keep pushing.

In August, I signed up for a “29 Days of Writing Challenge” put on by Gabriela Pereira. The daily writing prompts and tips were some of the best I’ve ever read. I recommend visiting her website (DIYMFA.com) and poking around for yourself.

One of the things Gabriela said in a podcast was that “There is no wall.” She was talking about how we can get stuck and feel like there’s a massive brick wall standing in the way of finishing a writing project. When in fact, those walls are imaginary things our brains have created. There is nothing really stopping us, preventing us, standing in our way, or making it impossible to finish what we started. Nothing except our own thoughts and beliefs that the wall is there.

The wall is not there.

Wait a minute. I think my wise-self just showed up at the door. I better go let her in.

tree frog

Photos taken at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. And here are a few more photos and a question for people good at identifying plants:

Swans meadow knapweed

(Flower identifiers: Is the above flower meadow knapweed?)

lilypads cormorants

standing by Lake Superior
Solitude is quiet

But not silent

There may be music

Or bird song

Or crashing waves

Or rain beating at the window

Like the tapping claws of a wolf

A thought that wouldn’t occur to me

If I wasn’t alone

petting my horse

Solitude has a sound that doesn’t require white noise to cover it up

Sometimes the white noise at work quits unexpectedly

There is sudden deadness to the air

Before your ears regain composure

And hear printers running

Conversations rising and falling

Desk chairs scraping and squeaking

And I think of solitude

With only a dog resting against my leg

A sigh . . . . . . . . .

That lets go of everything I’ve been holding

standing on rock

“It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand. It stops us from taking anything for granted. ”
— Madeleine L’Engle, “The Summer of the Great-grandmother”

One Friday night, probably eleven years ago, when I was a sweet, young thing of forty-six, my then-husband and I went out dancing.

We were going through a rough patch and I was feeling reckless so I grabbed ahold of a support beam out on the dance floor and started doing some kind of shake your booty, pole dance.

I know this is probably a disturbing image for quite a few of you and I’ll try and wipe that picture out of your mind before I’m done here, but I seriously can bust some moves.

Anyway, my then-husband asked me, “Why aren’t you like this all the time?”

I don’t think he literally wanted me pole dancing all the time (although, maybe he did). The question was more about why aren’t you always this person who takes risk? Who is uninhibited? And adventurous? And exciting to be with?

Maery

The thing is, when you feel like your world is ending, you stop caring about making a fool out of yourself. And I knew my then-husband wasn’t happy with me. As control slips away, some people grab for the string before it rises out of reach.

And some of us pole dance.

Or we wonder if perhaps this will make a good story someday.

Or we swear a lot.

Or we do all three.

Eventually, we still got divorced. My ex’s take on things was that although I gave it my best try to change, I always drifted back to who I truly was – in his view – someone who was cautious, withdrawn, exhausted, and unhappy.

I thought he was right. I hated this person that I, myself, could not find a way to walk away from.

But then this year, I realized that once again, I felt like I had nothing left to lose.

Not because I had lost everything but because I no longer cared about trying to make things remain the same.

I know I can’t control the feelings or actions of others. I’m no longer willing to try to be someone for someone else.

I no longer have the energy (I never really did) to desperately try to read people and give them what they want.

I can’t make people love me. And no matter how good things are today, I know things can change.

And that’s okay.

I’m not the same person every day.

But I’m pretty much the same at the core.

tomato

And that core, can still bust some serious moves.

I bet you can too.