We are in the long stretch of winter. It is the point when my love of winter is something I must recall. When I ask someone, “How are you doing today?” they pause, look off in the distance, grimace slightly, and say, “Okay, thanks.”
We are up to our neck in rain on snow on ice.
This is when I understand what snowbirds escape from.
But this is real life in the world of weather, and without dreary February,
Valentine’s Day would seem like just another holiday.
First, let me welcome you to 2018 on Rising Forth!
I am deep in the revision process of the manuscript that has kept me writing for 9 years. It is a new experience for me to have so much open space in which to write. Both of my children are away at college, so the laundry basket is lighter and my days simpler.
This website needed an under-the-hood repair, so blogging had to pause for two months. In the mean time, my friend Crispina invited me to guest post on her Future is Female series. You can read those posts here.
I have also been working on grant proposals for my Armenia project, New Illuminations, and plotting my teaching schedule for 2018.
What warms me, and keeps me steady in this time of hard work and focus is my journal. I have been writing daily since I was 16. There are gaps in the record, years when I did not get to the page every day, but at a certain point, the practice became necessary to my vitality. And it still is.
I have taken on the challenge to organize my many journals as part of this revision process. I want to look in to my journals from the period of time right before I started writing, when I was in the thick of active mothering. These notebooks are filled with reflections on the weather, on my children, on the tales of our days and all the things that I have worried about consistently over time. But they also give clues to how seriously I took myself, how the ups and downs of parenting carved new grooves in my being.
I am not sure value will come of this exercise for my manuscript, but it does show me how extended practice gives me ready access to my inner life. I have an inner life, I know that, evidenced in the pages where after pouring out the way the preceding day went, I digest how I felt about it, what persists in my heart about a situation. I see myself making sense of life on those many, many pages.
Please stay close to Rising Forth in this coming year. There will be exciting offers for this Rampant Sisterhood and news of publications. My Powder Keg writing workshops continue–at the Ramsdell Public Library in Housatonic, MA three Wednesdays a month beginning February 28th. My Powder Keg Online begins April 29. There are new hand bound journals you can order to jumpstart your creative practice here. And the beloved blog series on motherhood and creativity returns with new writing in response to this year’s call for entries. You can read about Out of the Mouths of Babes here.
But really, what does love have to do with keeping a journal?
We do many things for many people throughout our day. When daily writing becomes part of your day, you will tune to the things that light you up, what blooms as love in your body. You will also notice what is intolerable. Isn’t that what love is about, understanding the span between light and dark, like this gray time where the contrast is so very visible?
Until then, I hope you pull your journal on to your lap before you pick up your phone or email. Let your inner life warm with the vitality of your attention. Give it a week of writing and see what you notice. I hear so many people say that they wish they had time to keep a journal. What if you gave yourself fifteen minutes less of screen time every day and wrote? Just start where you are, as Natalie Goldberg suggests. Describe where you are and write three things you noticed about the preceding day. Chart your dreams. Or write about what you first thought as you opened your eyes.
Here is a blog post in which I describe my daily practice, which I call a Keystone Practice.
It is the thing that lets me learn to love life’s unfolding and that supports all my other work.
Until then, stay dry and warm.
Welcome back to Rising Forth!