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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Up Hill all the Way

It’s been while since I picked up Writing Down the Bones, and today, I pulled it out of my black cloth bag where it’s been slumped on the desk for the last several days and brought it with me to the coffee shop, prior to my Thursday trip to the library. There, amidst the aroma of chocolate ganache and almond croissants, raisin and honey twists and shiny raspberry frambois, I slurped steaming bold coffee and got myself back on track. Well, maybe it was the author, Natalie Goldberg who accomplished that—though I’m not one hundred percent sure--

I’m guessing it’s pretty clear that I have been struggling this week. In contemplating the “why” of that I’ve determined that it’s likely stemming from an issue of security--or my perceived pending lack thereof. The severance ends in two weeks, and while we’ve acted as if I was not being paid for the last six months, deep in my mind I knew that I was. Too soon, when the checks stop appearing in the mailbox, reality is going to sting like a winter ice ball smack in the eye. Aw, who wants to talk about money especially in this public a forum? Not me, that’s for sure. It’s just that I am so used to contributing my share financially and darn it, now I’m not. My sense of being a partner pertaining to minor issues like paying the mortgage and insurance and the oil bill, and putting food on the table is diminishing, and with nothing particularly successful lately on the more creative side to balance things off, I’m not convinced I’m holding up my end.

I swear though, just about every time I begin to grind my teeth and chew myself up with regard to this writing quest, there’s a muse, or fairy or an angel or some kind of psychic being flittering out there who swoops in on ethereal wings to give me a pinch. Today it happened again.

There I was sitting at a marble topped table, sipping coffee and reading a chapter called “Every Monday,” which talks about when the author sat with a writer friend in a coffee shop in Minnesota one day a week. They wrote for hours, and read each other’s work. At the time, Natalie was unemployed, her friend was writing on a grant. As I glumly turned the pages, having left home after applying for a part-time grant-writing job at a local hospital (for which I have already sent a resume and received no response—it is still open though so what the heck), I read this:
“I tell you this because it is important...Remember this. Remember Kate and me on Mondays when nothing in your life seems worthwhile but earning a living and you find yourself worried about it…There are many realities. We should remember this when we get too caught in being concerned about the way the rest of the world lives or how we think they live. There is just our lives and how we want to write and how we want to touch the rain, the table, the music, paper cups and pine trees.”

With that, among the cinnamon sugar and the petite fours of the French café, and James Taylor crooning in the background, that invisible little muse stepped out of Natalie’s book, stood up behind me and massaged its soft thumbs into my tense shoulder muscles —then it whispered in my ear to get my bottom out of the chair and to the library for some dedicated writing time, before flittering off.

And it worked.


Michelle McLean said...

Natalie Goldberg is great for inspiration :) I'm glad your muse dropped by for a visit - I hope you have a wonderful writing day :)

* said...

This post is brilliant. I'm rereading Goldberg's Writing down the bones as well these past days and licking my fingers. She is a delicious, inspiring author.