Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Out with the Old, In with the New

As I've been unpacking boxes, I've been letting go of some of their contents. Like these books from 2002. That was during the time I had left my "real" job in college ministry and begun building my piano studio and teaching Italian lessons, determined to have more time to myself, more flexibility, and more time to write.

The truth is, I didn't know what I wanted to do, because I had never planned on needing something to do at this point in my life beyond raising children, which was not happening, despite all attempts.

But I knew I liked to write. That's not quite right. I knew that all my life I had been writing, that I couldn't seem to function without writing, and that people had fairly consistently said good things about my writing. And an influential person in my life had challenged me to do more of it.

So, I bought the Writer's Handbook and Writer's Market Online as part of that endeavor. They're on their way to the recycling bin. I bought Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird--which I'm keeping, by the way, and someone else's The Writer's Life--on which the jury is still out, though I have a feeling it will end up out once the jury comes back in.

Anyway, for several months I had a routine of writing each morning. I don't remember now what exactly I worked on, though it's all here in the computer or on the shelf in notebooks. There was no one big Project with a capital P.

And then life happened. I kept teaching piano. I never got more than a couple of Italian students. At some point, a former professor encouraged me to start seeing clients in his office, and I did for a while.

And then came the year of losses, when five people I loved died in less than six months. And then I spent most of a year caring for the children of one of the friends who had died. And when it was all over, I felt more than ever before that at least for the time being, counseling was my calling.

So the books in the photo never really got put to use. They were there more as mascots, cheering me in my game, than as players that made it onto the field.

And in the picture, they are positioned on top of the binder full of manuscripts for the writers workshop coming up this weekend. I've done more reading than writing for this workshop, as I wound up sending in something written years ago--an article about the year of losses, actually.

So, time goes on, and circumstances change.

But I still can't function without a good deal of putting my thoughts down in the process we call writing. I don't know if anything will ever come of it beyond its role in keeping me sane.

But if that's the only purpose it ever serves, I must say that I for one consider it a worthwhile one.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Boxed In

(Note: photos are blurry to symbolize the effect this past 10 days has had on me. I'm tired!)

For the past year and a half and more, I have lived with boxes. And, yes, I have felt very boxed in.

In the past week, at least 17 boxes have been emptied. Friday over a week ago, Sue helped me move the full boxes out of my home office. Saturday over a week ago, Judy helped me paint the room. And over the past week, I have at last unpacked my books and files and put them in more permanent places.

And, yes, I have done some winnowing and pruning.

And now my muscles ache from the carrying of heavy loads and the day of painting. But my mind and spirit are lightened by no longer carrying the load of wondering when I would ever be free of those boxes! And by the lovely "quaking grass" green that now greets me when I walk into the room.

(What would we do without friends--and without Larry the plaster guy who got the walls ready so they could be painted?)