Monday, March 19, 2012

Breaking Through

I promised myself that "The Year of the Wedding" would also be "The Year of the Manuscript Submissions." Wedding planning would not be allowed to entirely eclipse the writing. That dusty list of potential publishers would receive submissions from me this year. Alas, it turns out I'm as typical as any excited bride. I look at my to-do list and have the hardest time choosing any of the tasks that don't have to do with the wedding. Rationalizing it isn't that difficult... These eleven months are the only eleven months, God willing, that I will experience planning a wedding. My writing projects will be waiting for me on October 21st! But will I continue to ignore them long past the day after the wedding? That is the question that nags me. The longer I put off the discipline of writing, the greater difficulty I will have returning to it. I'm certain of that much. The struggle I experience when creating a bit of written work is already causing me anxiety. I've made meager attempts to return to blogging before this month. It took me this long to get past staring at the blank text box and hitting cancel after a few minutes. My most recent parish newsletter articles have been weak and piecemeal at best.

The neglect and difficulty involved in writing in recent months is not only a worry, it is a disappointment. I miss it. I miss being a writer. Rarely have I liked myself more, been prouder of myself, been as encouraged by life, as when I am actively living as a writer. I am well and happily occupied with other things and so the missing isn't felt until I have a slowed down hour or two of stillness. Then it comes and I remember all the hours of satisfying effort I used to enjoy on a regular basis.

Today I came across a quote that sums up my state as a writer quite well. “A creative block is the wall we erect to ward off the anxiety we suppose we’ll experience if we sit down to work” (Eric Maisel). I have reached the point of being afraid to try very hard again, fearful I will disappoint myself even more by not being able to write well again. That would indeed be a deeper disappointment than continuing to not try. This recent return to blogging is a step, at least; an inching movement forward.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Welcome, Spring!

It's Spring, it's Spring, it's Spring! I don't know that "Spring" is supposed to be capitalized. I've never been too good at remembering rules like that. Now that I think about it, I habitually capitalize Spring and Fall, but not winter or summer. You're welcome to analyze that if you wish. Spring, of all the seasons though, deserves capitalization. It deserves announcement and fanfare. Even with the mildness of our winter this year, there was enough dreariness to warrant this excitement at Spring's arrival. It's a season of dewy freshness. Even the mud seems friendly and encouraging this time of year. Now, I am in Wisconsin, which means that this series of sunny, warm days could very well be followed by new snowfall or a good ol' freezing rain storm. Our temps could drop back down, forcing me to put that jacket and those gloves back on. Alas, there is no denying this fickleness of midwestern springtime. The sunshine is so damn wonderful though that even those lingering reaches of winter hold no sway. Windows demand opening, flowers demand blooming, birds demand feeding and fresh air demands deep breathing. I begrudge them none of their demands, for it is Spring and it is impossible not to feel generous toward all.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Letting Go Of What Isn't Worth Holding Onto

Every so often I get the strong urge to get rid of things. To purge, to strip away, to simplify, to decrease. Occasionally, very occasionally, I follow through on it. The last month has set me in motion for some excellent decreasing. Our old roommate, who moved back to our home area a few years ago, has returned to the house. She decided to un-relocate and so we are once again a trio. When she left, she'd acquired very little in the way of possessions. The transport to her new rental was easy and quick. In the meantime though, she has furnished a small house. Moving her back in with us required some long overdue organization and purging on our part. I grumbled and procrastinated enough but in truth it effectively propelled me into readying for the move that is to come after the wedding. For that, I'm quite thankful. Boxes of household goods have been transported to his apartment and we are gradually finding places for it all in his rooms and cupboards. The work of it is making me very grateful to not have as much left to be done when the final move happens in October. The weeks before a wedding are full enough, I'm sure.

Anyway, my original point was the urge to strip away and simplify. It has lingered in the weeks following that round robin transferrance of belongings. I look in my tiny, stuffed to the gills closet, then think of my fiance's large, more than enough room for one person closet, and realize that with some reductions on both our parts, we can share that closet just fine. I scan my bookshelves and picture the walls of Matt's apartment, knowing full well that there are not enough empty spaces for the arrival of all my shelves. Many books will have to be stored. This brings a frown, a deep one, but I remind myself that there is likely a heap of books that I could reasonably choose to give up. It'll be hard enough deciding which ones to pack into storage and which to keep at my fingertips. Having fewer to choose between is essential if I'm to do it without much sadness.

Maybe it's a Lenten thing, maybe it's just a starting-a-new-stage-of-life thing, or maybe Spring is to blame; whatever its root, I am becoming surer every day that I can be content with far less than what I have at present. I can reduce my wardrobe to what I actually wear and will never miss what I would like to but never do wear. I can give up the books that I enjoyed but not so much that I would ever read them again or even recommend and lend them to friends. I can surrender the dozens of CD's and DVD's that are rarely or never played and those too will not be missed. Yes, I'm becoming quite sure of it. I feel less locked into my material frivolities already, and that's never a regrettable feeling.