Friends, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started writing this blog post. Too many. My heart has been a flutterin’ and my soul has been a flappin’. Many things have been going on in my life that at times, I want to share with you…and at times, I need to keep quietly within.
Forty came and went in a small but sweet flurry of friendly celebrations. I cancelled my big party, and I know it was the best decision at the time. Today, I don’t feel like I want to reschedule. All the excitement and…moxie that I was garnering for a performance and a night of dancing and celebrating has fallen off me like water droplets. It’s different. It doesn’t feel like ‘me’. But, that’s about how this year has been going. Many things have been new experiences and it’s been affecting my ‘me’-ness. I think I’ve secretly been craving and needing change for some time, and now that it’s here and happening, it’s new and scary and exciting and exhausting…and you know, wrecking some havoc with my heart and soul. That’s what change does. I know I’m in the thick of it…there is a faint, faint light somewhere far off that I get flickers of every once in a while. But nothing lasting. There are no big road signs saying: ALMOST THERE…or even TURN HERE or REST, IT’S ALMOST DONE. Some days I feel confident that this big dream I’m developing is exactly right and on task with my life’s purpose while others I feel outside myself, lonely, scared and…very, very uncertain. And guilty. And sad. It’s truly a wild experience. On the eve of my birthday, Miller and I went skinny-dipping. We both mooned the moon. It was divine.
I’ve been reading loads (more on this below), and that’s filling me up in ways that are helpful. Alas, I know it’s also a way for me to procrastinate on dream-development and decision-making. I feel there’s a major bout of discipline I’m going to need as this summer pushes forward and that’s terrifying. I’m usually not this…apprehensive about discipline. I usually have a clear outcome or goal to focus on – but, see, I committed to myself in January that freeing myself of writing for an outcome was going to be one of my #1 challenges. It’s challenging alright. One still needs discipline to write at all though. And that’s where I’m at now. I’ve been fitting the writing in around…well, this dream-development, and mothering and wife-ing and friend-ing. I’ve been going with some kind of ‘flow’ all year, but now I know it’s time to take the reigns on Time and set some serious boundaries.
There is Time to fit it all in, at least I feel clear about that. But I’m going to have to say ‘no’ to people and things I love in order to get the writing time in, and in order to get this dream-development into dream-come-true. Exchanging loves for loves. It’s feeling scary right now. But it’s all love, right? I have to keep repeating that to myself.
I’ve been keeping a rather large secret from you all, and that’s been really hard too.
It’s funny how this blog has become an extension of me over the years. I write to you because I want to share my life and creative stories with you. I think I know who most of you are. And, in the grand scheme of blogging, my audience is quite small. It doesn’t matter. Even this blog feels like it’s changing because if you can believe it, there were many posts I wrote with an ‘outcome’ in mind. I need to continue to free myself of that. What matters is the writing. What matters is how it makes me feel to write. What matters is that I’m changing and I’m sharing this experience with you. No outcomes necessary, but to feel the freedom in sharing.
Very soon, I’ll share what I’ve been dream-developing. And, even when I do, know that my heart is sharing to share.
Here’s a quote from a book that is holding my heart up right now.
“Real writing, I was beginning to realize, was more like laying bricks than waiting for lightning to strike. It was painstaking. It was manual labour. And sometimes, sometimes if you kept putting the bricks down and let your hands go on bleeding, and didn’t look up and didn’t stop for anything, the lightning came.
Not when you prayed for it, but when you did your work.”
Paula McLain, ‘Love and Ruin’, pg. 181
A few nights ago, I finished reading Paula Mclain’s new novel, ‘Love and Ruin‘. It tells the tumultuous, romantic, yet painstakingly heartbreaking love story between Ernest Hemingway and his third wife, Martha (Marty) Gellhorn. McLain is one of my favourite writers. For many reasons…she writes from a poet’s heart, her stories are rich with love and life and pain and suffering. When I read her words, I am transported and affected and always sighing with emotions. Hers are books I don’t want to end so when I hit the twenty pages or less mark, I feel a bit sad. I tore through the end of the book…and when it was finished, I dropped the book on my chest and felt a tear slide down my cheek. I looked around my bedroom…at the sleeping dogs, one against my side, one keeping my feet warm…at the photos on the wall…I inhaled the cool air…and I felt filled up. I felt grateful. I felt educated. I felt a little more alive than I’d felt before I started reading this incredible book. I felt grateful for Paula McLain. And for Gellhorn. And Hemingway.
I’ve been reading books more this year than in many others. I’ve been reading voraciously. Like I did when I was a kid. In the last two months I’ve read four books. And, if you recall, I’m not buying books this year so many of the books I’ve read have been from the library. This means there’s a deadline to get the books read! Surprisingly, I’ve met all but one! I did receive some books as gifts for my birthday – that was lovely! And I’ve already dove into these books as well.
Here’s my reading list:
I’m halfway through:
What are you reading?
I’m off to the Humber School of Creative Writing Summer Workshop the second week of July. I’m freaking out in the best of ways as the date to begin gets closer and closer. Perhaps this is part of the flickering light I see ahead of me. I’ve already made some new acquaintances, and I look very, very forward to learning from my teachers and fellow writers. I haven’t been in a writing class in far too long, and this one is a mother load.
I’m still writing a blog for the League of Canadian Poets. My latest one is about editing my son’s first short story. Read it here!
I’ve just handed in my monthly Feminist Caucus Action Committee Chair report. That’ll be out soon. It’s all about boobs. No kidding.
I got a new tattoo!
I’ve been writing in my journal like nobody’s business. I’m on my third journal already this year.
I’ve been submitting some work, but not a lot at all. So many deadlines fly past me my hair is always ruffled.
I’m inspired all the time. I’m grateful all the time. I’m also bitchy and grouchy and irritable and silly and sad and tired and hyper too. The colours of me are changing but there are so darn many of them!
I’m going to kill someone in the new piece I’m writing. That’s something.
And I’m still having dreams about meeting Tom Cruise.
He actually points at me, just like he’s pointing in this photo. He’s all, “Oh, hey! Vanessa – you’re here!” He’s always happy to see me. Huh.