A Photograph of me without me in it

A Photograph of me without me in it
A photograph of me without me in it

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Slowing Down

 Today is my “day off.” With no commitments, I get to work on my writing, which is my favorite thing to do. The conundrum now is: which project should I work on? I could write a blog entry I’ve been planning called “Solace” about peaceful times in this difficult winter (inspired by Mary Oliver and a church service using her poetry), a blog currently titled “Remembering Hope” (inspired by Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming and a Homecoming celebration for a friend’s teenage child), an essay on Gratitude for an upcoming contest, or another final chapter for my memoir, a chapter I’m excited about. So many excellent choices! Or I could write this blog entry. 

With fatigue and my commitment to continue being part of the wider world, I don’t have time to do as much as I’d like to. Actually, I never did.

A week has passed since my last blog entry, and I used to post weekly, so maybe it’s time to do this. Or maybe not. Perhaps you’ve noticed I’m not blogging as much as I used to. Last spring, I consulted my writing teacher about what I should do to move towards publishing my book. (I’ve been working on it for 12 years now, and I think it’s time.) I read her the list of things I thought I needed to do: 
o  Finish book: Find readers and a writing group
o  Publish shorter pieces
o  Bulk up blog
o  Look for contests
o  Read good books, including some related to my theme and/or topic
o  Apply for the Tin House conference in the summer and ask for a manuscript review
o  Other?
When I asked her what more I should do, she said I should do less. When I asked her what to cut, she didn’t hesitate: the blog and Tin House.

I thought of the 6thcentury B.C. poet Lao Tsu’s writing. “One must know when to stop,” which has been my mantra for decades, informing my decisions to leave my marriage and my career. 

“Perhaps,” I thought, “it’s time to stop writing this blog.” Then I thought, “But I like writing this blog, and readers seem to appreciate it.”

So instead of stopping, I’m slowing down, which is what I’m doing in much of the rest of my life, too. In fact, a draft pitch for my memoir begins, “Anything that slows me down is a gift. Even brain tumors.”

But I wonder if you’ll stay with me in my slowing down. I hope so. You, too, are a gift.

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