The Dark Coffee-Time of the Soul
I gave up at 3:42 am and got out of bed. I’d been awake for the last hour thinking about all the things that I needed to get done.
4:00 am – Writing
Yesterday, I began doing some research for my second novel. The story is emerging from days of shiftless writing. What started as a simple tale now has layers and I’m running into a lot more questions than answers. This is, I think, a good thing.
One of the problems I had with my first dust-collecting novel was that I was incurious about the story. Like a lot of first-time novelists, it carried autobiographical themes – stories I’d been telling myself all my life. Repetition breeds boredom and I was thoroughly bored with the thing.
Writing a novel reminds me of something I learned when I began raising a child: I was not entirely in control and I had a lot to learn. So it can be with a novel – and being curious is often a happier state to be in, rather than always knowing how the story ends.
6:36 am – Blogging and Book Club Administrative Update
It’s time for me to give The Green Study a bit of an overhaul – update the About page, review what the hell I’m trying to do here and possibly start using my full authorial name.
I’ve been blogging for over six years and every time I go through this process, hardly anything gets changed. I like what I like and I guess that’s the way it goes. I like a simple page that focuses mainly on writing and commenting. My theme has always been book/nature-related and I don’t like too many bells and whistles. I’m curious for those who have been blogging – what changes have you made and what really works for you?
While I will continue writing Fearless Friday posts, it will be inconsistent. I had hoped that it would garner more input and would be a great way for other bloggers to promote their blogs, but I’ve been flying solo and it takes time to put together a theme and find blogs in which others might have an interest. I still like the idea of it and will reiterate it here, for anyone interested in participating.
Fearless Fridays are about lives lived in spite of our fears, living a life that is about curiosity, compassion, and courage. If you just got published, something wonderful happened to you, you witnessed an act of kindness or bravery, or you have someone in your life who amazes you, drop your story into my contact page or email it to TheGreenStudy (at) comcast (dot) net and I’ll run it on a Fearless Friday. If you’re a blogger, it’s an opportunity to advertise your blog, but this is open to anyone who would like to share. These will be 100-300 word stories, subject to editing for clarity and space.
The TGS Writers’ Book Club has gotten off to a slow start. I figure these things take time and I might have a few months of talking to an empty room. That’s okay, all the donuts and coffee are mine. I’m giving it six months and if it doesn’t really engage people, I’ll move onto the next thing. On that note, June’s selection is poetry – Mai Der Vang’s Afterland. Short read, much to talk about.
This is the nature of trying new things – sometimes they take time to develop, sometimes they remain a lead balloon that never gets off the ground. But that’s okay. I’ve learned not to be afraid of failure.
7:29 am – Grace for the Depressive
For the last couple of years, I’ve had an impending sense of doom when it comes to the state of the nation. Children being murdered in their schools. Politicians who are so far removed from ethical norms as to be entirely useless to those they are supposed to represent. The pustules of sexism and racism bursting wide open. It seems like we’re all ugly Americans these days.
It has kept a stranglehold on me – that no matter how happy I was in the moment, it was all under the shadow of a cloud.
I thought that the only way out was to operate with intention and to understand that all the angst, guilt, anger, outrage, and sadness in the world won’t make one iota of difference if it’s all in my head.
I started with action. I joined the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, the Sierra Club, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and donated to the Center for Reproductive Rights. I embraced my liberalism and joined the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (the Democratic party in Minnesota).
My focus turned to local and state issues. Over the last year, I’ve gotten to know my mayor, state senators, and representatives. I’ve learned about my school board. I’ve attended conventions, focus groups, debates, and informational forums.
I retreated from social media platforms that promoted false information and from people who based their opinions on echo chambers and memes. I continued to read heavily on economics, immigration, foreign policy, and history.
And I am so damned tired of it all.
Spring came and so did gardening. It’s my happy place – dirt under my fingernails, errant bumblebees bumping into me, the sun on the back of my neck. After hours of back-breaking work last weekend, I tossed off my shoes and socks and flopped in the hammock. The neighborhood had ceased its endless mowing and children had retreated indoors. All was quiet, except the wind in the trees, carrying with it the smell of lilacs and freshly cut grass.
I realized that it’d been a long time since I had experienced a moment of grace – that space where you recognize the perfection of the moment when you’re in it, the release from all worries. And I thought about how infrequently I’d given myself the opportunity to experience it.
In the midst of all the fomenting, it’s important to create space for joy, even if it is only moments at a time. For some people, this concept is a given. I’m an intense person with an inaccurate sense of what I deserve. I internalize a lot of the world around me. Which means that I have to be deliberate in balancing it all with moments where I tell myself Yes, there is suffering in the world, but will mine make it any better? It’s okay to be happy sometimes.
8:45 am and two cups of coffee later. Back to writing again.
Here’s hoping you find your proverbial hammock this weekend!