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The day began well…

Sunset

It started with a gorgeous October sunrise. I took that photograph from the top of the parking structure before rushing off to a mandatory 7:30 a.m. employee forum. What I like best about it is that you can’t tell I’m in the middle of town, on top of a concrete garage, with sounds of traffic below, and a work day looming ahead. You might be fooled into thinking I’m just stretching on the porch of my cabin retreat, greeting the day, first cup of coffee in hand, before heading back in to write until sunset. Sigh…

It also ended well…

Business cards

I arrived home to discover I’d received my business cards….my first business cards ever! I used Moo Designs and everything about their design, order, and delivery process was ultra cool. I opted for the “Notebooks” theme. I also opted for something simple and to the point: name, profession, email, website (this blog, for now!). My husband was the first lucky recipient. Forty-nine left to pass out. Where will they end up? God only knows at this point.

As for the middle of the day…

It wasn’t horrible…it wasn’t even exceptionally challenging…(that was yesterday, hands down). No, it was just long & busy, full of complicated tasks, urgent requests, and hectic situations. As I write that, I realize that’s pretty much every day, but for some reason today had an edge to it. The prospect of getting home late from work and having to write a blog post was daunting, I’ll be honest. In fact, I told someone as much. They suggested I write about how it hurts to write.

I thought about this suggestion as I drove home, especially about the use of that word, “hurt.” There’s no denying, it’s apropos…but what I realized is that, despite what we tell ourselves, it doesn’t hurt to write, it hurts not to write…not to have the energy or the time. Obviously, I am writing because I’m sitting here composing this post, but that’s not the type of writing I mean. I mean my creative writing. After being drained by a long, demanding work day, it hurts the soul and spirit to come home and not have anything left for the loves of your life…both the people and projects. I can hear my professor now: it doesn’t matter how you feel, show up to the page. I know that’s the truth, but after a day like today, like so many days, it’s hard to come home and reside in a tender, vulnerable place of experience and emotion…the stuff of good writing. You just want to go numb. If I show up to the page, the writing tends to be surface level, skeletal, plot driven. I don’t steep the scene in emotions, I don’t let myself (or the reader) feel what my character is feeling, I don’t explore their inner thoughts or even create meaningful metaphors. Perhaps showing up to the page, is how you learn to do that when you don’t think you can. Just perhaps…

Last weekend, my professor reiterated that I need to make my creative writing a priority. Knowing the answer, she asked when I’m best able to access the emotions and memories I need to write. The morning, of course…when I’m fresh, not yet emotionally beat up, not cluttered by the day’s events. She suggested I take my boss up on her one-time offer to start work later, even if it means staying later. (Gulp.) She also gave me an immediate mandate: write two hours each morning. (GULP.) It’s hard love…and I get it from others too…and I know why. They believe in me and they don’t want to see me hurt.

Not writing does hurt. I’ve just gotten used to it…learned to ignore it or numb it or convinced myself it’s the way it is. Aren’t we supposed to work long hard days and come home exhausted? Aren’t we supposed to then put on our pajamas and zone out until it’s time to get up and do it again? Maybe not if it hurts…

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