And then love happened.

Hand on mouse, fingers hovering over a keyboard. Ready. Waiting. Ideas tumble out of my brain. Vortices of possibility twirl towards the 4am sky. 80 words to go. Will that be enough? This morning my thoughts have tuned to love and in my core, at the very base of me, I know that not any amount of words or finely tweaked sentences will be enough to bring these thoughts to fruition.

Devotion is an enigma wrapped neatly in decorative papers of blue and gold.  We tie bows around love like it is a package that once passed along will provide some predestined shroud of unending happiness. The very idea of falling in love encapsulates us. It is somehow protective simply in its impression. Let us fall. Fall from where? Fall from one intended to another? Fall from a tall building and have hope that the recipient of our ultimate adoration feels that same way we do. Heroically coming to save us from our plummet.

Some of us do get lucky. Some of us, somehow, in the cosmic wilderness of modern day romance find the love we had sought out for. It begins with shyness. Everything does. The coy wariness of perfect strangers meant for something more. Lightly fingering our way through the idle and awkward moments of the first few years of the togetherness. We will whisper wants to one another. Furtively, with a nonchalant air about our words because God forbid our new and shiny dearest thinks us odd.

We silently chant mantras of normalcy and routine ourselves. We are super-human people with no foibles or flaws because that could be undesirable and if even one of these idiosyncrasies flops to the surface, this tentative thing, this love thing, will surely wither and die. It is a wonder any of us survive the initial staging process. However, after an undetermined amount of days, weeks, years, millennia moves past we become easier, more ourselves. The weirdness leaks out onto the floor whether we like it or not. And the floor hasn’t been mopped up in days. The cautious stroking of yesteryear has evolved into a weighty hand on familiar skin. A comforting presence among the constant chaos of the everyday.

This love will manifest itself in the tiny places we never think about. It is the intense light between the bulb and the shade, only those inside the lamp’s protective cover can understand its brilliance. It is brown leaves pressed delicately between the softened pages of an ageing book. It is a blanket placed over chilled shoulders, a promise of warmth when the room seems subzero.

Love is not grand and glorious. It does not lift us up out of the depths of depression or carry us over the puddles of sadness which accumulate over a lifetime. It is not like the songs say. It does not fix our worries but usually causes us more worries to worry about. It is not magical or almighty.

Love is small and sacred. It is to be nourished. Grown from nothing over a lifetime of trial and error and strife and hardness. Love makes the difficult certainties of life a bit easier to live with. Love gives us the courage to try the new things. Love holds us tight when the new things do not work out as we had planned. Love comforts. Love soothes. Love does not define who we are but grows alongside us as we determine our unique paths in life.

Love is not our life preserver but the warm cup of coffee after we’ve fought off the flood. And if you should be lucky enough to find this sort of love, do not take your fortune lightly. Know that it is delicate and rare and beautiful. Hold it carefully and cherish it always. And in turn, it will have you too.

 

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Warming up the in-inside

 

I am so much warmer than I use to be. The blanketing heat of self-assurance, confidence, comforts me like the safe embrace of a mothers hug.  Before starting 100 Words a Day the thought of writing would cause a deep stab of guilt and regret to course through me. I knew I should be writing but, oh whoa as me, I did not have the time, I could not find the words, my fingers were broken.

It felt as though sitting down to write would be the most difficult thing in the entire universe to do. I’ve birthed babies, nearly died from blood loss, raised a family, built a business and slapped a smile on while doing it all but writing? God no. No thank you Ma’am, that…that will definitely flatten me.

Writing was the easiest thing to push to the sidelines. How could I make time for something that I was not receiving immediate kickbacks from? What I didn’t see was that the rewards we draw from our creative enterprises are more beneficial to our souls than our pocketbooks. The prospect of a healthy soul is difficult to put a price on. We value our inside, our in-inside, differently than we do our physical body and external world. If we can see it, we can sooth it. No point in wasting time with the places that aren’t apparent to us.

It is an easy practice to fall into, one that I took on wholeheartedly. All the while the small nowhere-space next to my heart was crying out for a little kindness.

In times of chaos our creativity can seem as though it is a useless thing. A washed up nothingness that is better castoff for later days. We push it to the side and say, “I don’t have time for you now, Creativity.” Even though there is a slight longing in our voice as we toss it to the proverbial can.

I’ve discovered that it is precisely this creativity that helps to smooth out the chaos. Round out its edges. By shoving the meaningless things, the Facebooky and gossipy things to the side it was simple to make room for some souly things.  And I am already so much warmer because of it.

Our creative ventures are worth it. They cradle us unlike any material expedition could. As humans we forage creativity like bees to nectar. It is our nature to nurture the in-inside. But the external world, the sensible money making, “I have a million things to do” world tells us these prospects are a waste of time. Stop fighting it. Take a few minutes each day to do a little of what you love and then allow the rightness of it make you warm again.

Being human is a strange and scary thing

 

Everyone wants to be just a little bit freer. Free of the worries which cloud over us like rising waves out of a stock still sea. Free of the pain and the sorrow which soars inches above our head allowing us to believe we have just barely dodged it. It circles round. Free of the tiny things, the ones we do not know are doing us harm. The head in the sand things. The turn your gaze to another things.

We want to be taken as well. Take your freedom and stuff it, says us. Roll it away to darkened corners. We do not want the heavy weight of decision-making upon us. We do not want to create or to resolve or to amend. Life has an abundance of idea-men already and autonomy is far too overrated.

We want to be in charge. We want the reigns.  The power, the prominence. We want, we want, we want too many materials to name. Want becomes need because the line here is thin. It is emaciated from eons of manipulation.

We want love. Light, luscious, luminescent love. Take you away from your own personal horror love. Save you love. We bargain for this love in friends, fans, mistresses, men and children. Dogs. Especially dogs. Dogs are not truth tellers—this is why we love them so.

We are all experts, yearning for a pat on the back. We know it all. We do it best. We say it perfectly. We are always right. If we are not, we will die. This is obvious from the strong personal vigils we stand yelling about our ultimate rightness to all those who will listen.

We are humble. We want to be humble. So fucking badly. We want to stand in a public square, baring our soul to those who seek it. Allowing strangers to touch our tarnished humanity, let go of the fear which holds us back. We want to be okay. We want the other people to see that we are okay. There goes the humility.

We want faith if it comes with statistics. We want happiness if it comes with a bit of pain. (Not too much pain because that would hurt.) We could use a little more sadness if it comes with tactful sexual allure. And we want it now, but only in small slices because we cannot handle a lot of anything at once.

We want our mothers, without their philosophies. We want fame without talent. Prestige without having done anything at all. We want blood while keeping our hands clean. Beautiful smiles which obscure the malice that lies beneath. We want strength without training. Exploration without danger. To experience life without living.

And each day we grapple with these morbid thoughts of want versus need. We jumble them, mix them into a giant bowl of universal subject matter. As we lay them out to dry, frightened for what we might discover, we forget that this is our impermanence we organise so deftly within our imagination stations. We look it over. We stare into its abyss wondering how to work it all out. How to consolidate this mass of mess in just the perfect way so it will come out inline with what all the other humans are doing.

So it will be undetectable. Desirable. So we will fit in. So we can simply be.

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Where Words Come From

 

I am falling headlong into to a blank brick wall.

The compact space around it taunts me with particles,

Specks of interesting elements,

That might break down the blockage.

If only I could form these half-baked ideas

Into a full thought.

I wish I was not so afraid to write.

I wish that those innermost thoughts

Which dampen my brain with their

Coverlet of dark concepts and odd impressions did not

Embarrass me so.

I wish that I could pull together these

Strange happenings,

Write them down; file them out in single rows.

Tell them, ever so gently, they will do my bidding.

Afraid isn’t the proper word.

It is not detrimental enough.

I am ashamed.

I am ashamed that I cannot, or maybe

Will not, write down these truths

Which grow haphazardly from the brain branches

Inside of me.

Browbeaten and defeated.

I plod onwards.

Upwards?

Sideward at least.

One day I will be versed, proficient in my craft,

One day I will have the ability

To take the rawness of the words

Round out the terrible edges with pretty prose and vivid imagery.

One day, I will wake up knowing which bricks to pluck away at.

Lithe starlight that stings my eyes will

Gleam through those gaping holes.

The wall which once caused heartache, strife

Will have distorted into the grandmother’s doily,

Dainty, light.

Gone is the reddened brick,

The hardened mortar.

Gone is the density.

The solid safety of rock-hard matter.

The word designs,

The thoughts once safely locked behind,

a robust fortress, now slip through lace

Like sand units falling over children’s fingers.

If not careful,

They will all just blow away.

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The shiny things have distracted me again.

My eyes part to the sound of an energetic whirring that is coming from my right. The sound seems to be magnified in the otherwise dead quiet of our bedroom. It drones merrily, LLLLLIIIIIIIIIINNNNNDDDDDSSSSSSAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY (but not really because in the morning ones imagination is soft and pliable, it will believe anything). It nearly jumps from the ledge of my bedside table.

I wish I was the kind of person who did not need an alarm clock. You know the type. Those people who boast that they are so in tune with their own body, the internal clock which lives somewhere in their brain—or maybe it’s their foot, you know, to get them moving—anyways, it wakes them without incident every single morning. Yeah, I wish I was like that.

Alas I’m still using my trusty cell phone (like a sucker) perched to the side of my bed with a message splayed across it saying, “GOOD MORNING!!!” in what I have come to believe is a seriously passive aggressive pre-dawn text revulsion.

The street is speckled with hundreds of tiny multi-colored lights. Cheer bottled-up into filaments the size of a cat’s claw. The radio serenades me with Jingle Bell Rock and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus because it knows that is what I want to hear this fine and frosty morning. Obviously.

I had toyed with the idea of writing something profound this morning. Wowing you with my inexorable insight, my glass-windowed vision. I imagined exhibiting my heartache, my unrequited culpability, up like a farmer does his heifer for market. I would try to sell it to you, get it into your brain and out of mine. Pass the pain along. Share it among the healthy folk. Or, perhaps, the unhealthy ones. They will gobble it up faster. No questions asked.

I was thinking of showing you the guilt that sometimes claws its way to the surface and spills over the top (because it is over the top) in ill at ease times of aforementioned heartache. The times I let down those I love and those I do not love in a cataclysmic foray of disappointment. The times I must deliver the bad news, the stuff of plugged ears and dull faces.

I could have wrote, this morning about misery and mountaineering. I could have turned it all around and shone some upbeat and blinding light of positivity into the murky thoughts that sometimes cloud my better judgment. I could explain (in my very best self-help voice) that if we shoot for the sky we will reach the stars.

I might have slid words together like children gliding down an icy knoll. Content with jibber jabber and momentary answers to questions never asked, at least not by me. My prophet days are probably still ahead of me, oh how I will profit one day.

I could have carved it all out upon this word document and felt lighter in the end. I should have tossed it down intending to leave it where it lay. Rid myself of the word plague I struggle against everyday. Instead the flicker of pink and green and red and blue lights dance just off the flank of my vision. It distracts me for the times being, it is shiny and bright. Familiarity hugs me, and what kind of monster fights against hugs? I guess the lights will do for now. I’ll preach tomorrow.

 

It is Sunday and I’m Writing Stuff Down

A steaming cup of coffee sits to my left and just like that I am rejuvenated. A bit of this has to do with the coffee (well, maybe more than a bit. Coffee is life.) But more so it is a feeling of reemergence that is warming my heart this early Sunday morning. It has been exactly six days of writing at least 100 words a day and despite my misgivings about this project in the beginning I can already feel the difference in this once-weary writer’s soul.

Ideas are springing up seemingly out of nowhere. A newfound verve for unfinished projects has encapsulated me. Any spare moment I have I find myself meandering through writing projects I haven’t glanced at for years.

I no longer have that hardening feeling of it all being much too much. That overwhelming pressure when looking at all of the unfinished projects on my computer. The desperate feeling of inadequacy which ultimately stopped me dead in my tracks and inhibited me from pressing forward at all.

By writing every day and having the knowledge that I will continue to write every day I am reminded about how much I purely love to write. It is not about the end result yet. It is about the forming of sentences, the formulating of stories. It is about writing my truth down and knowing that I am doing this simply to improve and strengthen my craft. It is about growth as a writer and the growth of becoming my own human being.

What comes from that is yet to be determined and I’ve decided that that is alright by me. I have learnt that looking too far into the future is detrimental to my own creative process. So for now I will not take this writing time for granted but instead celebrate in the muse I have been so fortunate to once again find.

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Living Stories

The sun slips through a crack in my bedroom drapes and I roll over to put an arm around my snoring Jamie. I should really do some writing today. However the musing quickly slides away as a mounting to-do list takes precedence. There are always so many important things to worry about these days.

I hear the kids perusing the kitchen, likely on the hunt for Lucky Charms—their special weekend cereal. Rolling over and pulling the pillow over my head seems like the best option but the to-do list stops me. That damn to-do list, it gets me every time.

My legs feel heavy as I pull on my burgundy hole ridden sweats. I take a fleeting glance in the mirror but I don’t stay long because this early in the morning I don’t have the self-esteem to deal with un-showered, un-shaven, desperately tired with a side of bedhead Lindsay. Don’t cry for me blogoshpere, the truth is it just takes a bit of time for my girl power to kick into high gear on these lazy Sunday mornings—‘aight.

After an impromptu trip to the grocery store for milk, a quick clean of the kitchen, a shower and some coffee slurping I am off to work. The shop isn’t open today but there are some bakery orders that need filling and a bit of prep that is better not left for the last minute Monday morning madness.

I crank my go-to 90’s tunes and get to baking. I’m dancing and singing and sifting and mixing and I’m feeling pretty fucking good about it too. That is until an old friend creeps gently into the forefront of my thoughts.

God you should write today Lindsay. How long has it been? 3 maybe 4 weeks now. Cobwebs. Oh how we hate going back to the cobwebs.

Often, by this point, it just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. You know, too thick with dust to bother.

The feeling moves down to my lungs and palpitates in a rhythm that cries; it’s over, you’re done, give up, writing isn’t in the cards, everything else is too important.

I wonder if writing will ever near the top of the to-do list again. Or if it really is just, over.

All of the greats say that if you are a “real writer” you will make time for writing. You will allow writing to be your first priority. YOU will live, breathe, eat and shit writing,

I don’t know how they do this.

It honestly baffles me. I am barely, just BARLEY, hanging in there with what I’ve got going on. Owning a business and raising two children, who by the way I’d like to be active members of society, takes all of the energy I’ve got. How could I possibly put writing in front my family’s well-being or my children’s upbringing into awesomeness? Obviously it isn’t an option.

But this angst that has now encompassed the entirety of my body does not let me forget. It tells me that it is my nature. It is who I am. It does not brush easily to the wayside for long. I’m in too deep now. Just a few words would suffice, several sentences, perhaps a paragraph if I’m lucky. However any bit will do for now.

After the bread has baked and the cupcakes have been frosted I sit down at a keyboard. I don’t know what I will write until my fingers stroke the keys and sometimes it is garbage that only its creator can appreciate. Occasionally by some vast miracle of the universe another person can find some sort of weird and unruly truth in it. Sometimes when that happens I smile and remember why it feels good to write for other human beings enjoyment.

But every time, every single time, I put words to paper I feel as though this clutching presence has been lifted and once again I can breathe easy.

I suppose that at this point in life, I am meant to be building businesses and bringing up babies, slinging sentences whenever I can and going a little crazy while juggling it all. I should feel lucky that I am one of the few that know, like really know, what they were meant to do.

And in time the writing will come. One day there will a desk that looks out onto something beautiful, a keyboard waiting to be pounded on and a brain overflowing with tales to tell.

I look forward to that day. But first, we must live the life to tell the stories.