I have a big book next to my computer with a picture of Ernest Hemingway at his typewriter. He’s looking at me–at once pleading with me and chastising me for not having more discipline to finish the book I’m writing about his time in Key West. I’m tempted to put it face down, but I know he’ll still haunt me.
Last week I finished up a large set of revisions on another book, and thought I couldn’t wait to get back to my Hemingway novel. Monday afternoon I sat at my keyboard, coffee and Pandora ritual readying me to start writing, and there I sat. I could hear the fish tank bubbling. My son laughed at something from another room. The phone rang. I decided my brain hadn’t switched gears yet, so I’d work on my blog, and catch up on reading some others.
Tuesday a bit of the same thing happened.
Wednesday I had a house full of my kids and nephews during writing time, so that was scrapped.
Thursday I was dealing with some personal frustrations and couldn’t concentrate.
Then Friday, the snow came. Three feet of it. And then the realization that school would be closed all next week (since we’ve got another big storm due to hit on Tuesday), and that a general din will remain around my house until then. I started feeling a little frantic. In my extreme state of tension I went to my writing partner’s blog, and found these words…
“And I will say also that the Mama told us this, if we were listening, about the snow. Back September when Fall first got here, under the moon. Farmer’s Almanac too says it will come and come through March. Mama says it just cuz we need a good deep rest, lots of time to listen. Which means come Equinox and tide-changing in March, there will follow lots and lots of time to grow….We’ll either be prepared, or not!”
I was finally able to exhale. It gave me permission to be still. I don’t need to continue to put this external pressure on myself. When the words are ready, they will come. In the meantime, I should enjoy my family, and the snow, and reading. I can fill myself up with experiences and words because I am empty.
Though I sit in a chair, writing is an active pursuit. I’m in a state of euphoria when the words flow–like the adrenaline rush I get from a good work out. When I finish, I’m spent, but it feels healthy and right. I found over and over again, last week, that I couldn’t write well without first replenishing what I’d spent. In hindsight, it seems so simple, but lessons learned always are once they’re learned.
Hemingway’s still looking out from that book cover over there, next to my laptop, but now I notice that he’s actually looking past me. I follow his eyes to my bookshelf and find A Movable Feast. I smile because that’s where I’ll find his voice, speaking to me so I can recreate his world. I’ll take it in where it will sit inside me until I need it later.
And I’ll be ready.