Nothing and everything

Today, I went to a spin class and got out of my head for sixty whole minutes. I came home and ate two bowls of cereal while reading “Shouts and Murmurs” in the New Yorker and trying to decide if it was funny or not.

I gave my plants long drinks of water and let them sit in the sunlight that stretches out in my kitchen window for most of the late morning.

I drank two cups of coffee—the first to become functional and the second for pure pleasure.

I sorted through a giant pile of things to giveaway and took my time doing it. There are so many memories wrapped up in things. Harley and Marley curled up on the floor next to me, and I caught myself staring at them long and often. This, too, for pure pleasure. It’s days like these when I think I’m entering the good old days. The best years of our lives only just beginning.

Someone recently asked me if blogging, or not being paid to write, means I’m merely “talking.” I bumbled (and blushed) through an answer that went something along the lines of: well, sure, I guess I’m only talking; but, hey, a lot of writers, no, successful paid writers I know have only “talked” at some point.

Later, I explored the inquiry and my answer further. And it’s not much considering how intensely I feel about the subject, but what I came up with is this: Even though there is next to nothing on the line for me at this point, talking, writing, is hard work and showing up to do it is important. If I don’t show up, how will I develop my skill or deepen my potential?

I’m reminded of a quote shared at the beginning of a weekend writing class I took back in 2014 at Quartz Mountain. The first writing class I had taken since my dad’s death when I walked away from the craft. Ira Glass said it best:

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

Maybe I am only talking and maybe I’m not. At any rate, here I am, fighting my way through, talking about nothing and everything.

Thank you for reading, whoever you are. (And Mom.) xx

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