Todd asked me this morning if I was going to do a blog post, and I realized that I had turned it off already: the need to write the first piece of the day. I decided that wouldn’t do. One last post on this journey.
I’m sitting on the couch, Todd journaling next to me, the day bright and blue outside. Thanks to my mom who brought us groceries when she picked us up at the airport, we had an easy food transition into the new day. (Thanks to the thai place down the street that delivered us dinner!)
Perhaps I’ve had so many “good-byes for now” moments in my traveling life. So many friends that I visit and leave, visit and leave, sometimes only a few months and sometimes years between face-to-face visits. The leave-taking at VSC yesterday morning after breakfast felt so familiar, and I didn’t feel too emotional because I knew that I would see many of these people again. Yet, as we passed through the beautiful mountains and Vermont terrain that we had seen upon our arrival, a sad contentment immersed me. That feeling that I didn’t quite see everything I wanted, but I saw as much as I could.
The two weeks at VSC made me embody my writer self more completely. I feel this calling again in my bones. I feel confident that the momentum gained these past two weeks will continue. I don’t doubt that because I watched a movie last night for the first time in two weeks, woke up late this morning, and am sitting here at noon still in my comfy pajamas, I don’t doubt that my writing and my projects will continue. I feel alive with them, feel their energy in my fingertips. Tomorrow, I will let this energy creep back in as I sit down to journal and read before my work day begins.
The new friendships and conversations I enjoyed at the VSC made me realize how important it is to do the work, to keep doing the work, to not worry about the “career” as much—the career is in the writing, playing, reading, and writing some more. I am confident in my ability to do the work and to play with my work. In a way, it’s how I felt after finishing The Artist’s Way in Northern Wales in March of 2006. I sat in damp castles, steamy tea rooms, and cozy pubs and found the courage to leave my secure job and pursue my writing and an MFA.
This moment on the couch feels similar. This time, I’m on the journey and breathing into it, reminding myself as Cameron once reminded me, I am a writer, and I embrace that. This other world, the world where I need a full time job to pay my bills, the world where time with friends and family is as important as good food, the world where I need date nights with Todd more than I need nights watching tv, the world where a good workout in the gym or a long walk or bike ride helps me value my body, where the balance of the creative, romantic, social, and working lives is a continual juggling. This other world is one that I accept. It makes these two weeks in Vermont seem even more precious because they are hard-won. As always, the challenge is in keeping this momentum alive, but that doesn’t worry me so much this time. It feels entirely manageable and already present.
There's also another perspective omnipresent. My friend Keiya is dying. I have listened to my friend Tim, her brother and my dear, dear friend, tell me the details as her condition has worsened the past year. Today they hold a special gathering and celebration for her in Peoria. She won't be in this world much longer, and it makes me infinitely sad. Keiya's been loved so deeply by her family and her friends, both before and during this hard five year cancer journey. I think of holding Debbie Kampa's hands the night before she died, feeling so blessed to be there in Punta Gorda with her and Bill. I think of Mark Perlberg and how I didn’t visit him in the hospital when he was ill, and how much I have regretted that since his death. I think of my Grandfather and how I can still feel my guttural crying in the phone closet in Grahamstown, South Africa when my mother called to tell me he died. I think of my Grandma and how hard these past fifteen years have been for her without my Grandpa, and how her worsening condition causes her and all of us such sadness.
All these sadnesses build up, feel so heavy. They are also what motivate me to keep writing, to keep embracing all the complications of this juggling life. It makes me value the past two weeks, this moment right now on the couch, the leftovers that Todd has warmed and brought me on this couch, my ability to type on this computer, to see this screen, to see the blue sky filtering through the windows, to walk and smell the spring air. Today, I am thinking of all these people and presents in my life. I am sending Keiya so much love and wishing her a safe journey, and my friend Tim and his family who have become an important part of my life, I am sending them peace in this difficult time.
Eamon Grennan’s words to a fellow writer at VSC stick with me, Stop fu#%ing thinking and just write. So it begins. and so it continues.