Now that summer has come to an end, I’m moving into my writing time and am pushing to have my second book finished some time this millennium. I just watched Everest a few days ago, which I’d highly recommend. In order to prepare for the summit, the climbers had to do partial summits for a period of forty days. To get my writing flow ready for the big push, I’ll be doing a bunch of blogs about this and that in hopes of getting my creative juices flowing so I can push for the summit of getting my second book finished. Writing needs to be practiced daily to keep it from becoming stagnant and boring.
What I’ve discovered about writing your story and your truth is that it can be awkward and clumsy, but even when your writing sucks you keep going until something half brilliant comes out of the rubble—well maybe not brilliant, but at least palatable. Sometimes my writing times are so painful I burst into tears and want to curl up in a ball and give up. Surely a rookie like me has nothing to say that hasn’t been said before. Then just when I was on the brink of stomping off like a tantruming child, I came across a quote from Glennan Doyle Melton who wrote Carry On Warrior. It spurred me on and gave me the hurrah I needed to get going. She says, “If anywhere in your soul, you feel the desire to write, please write. Write as a gift to yourself and others. Everyone has a story to tell. Writing is not about creating tidy paragraphs that sound lovely or choosing the right words. It’s just about noticing who you are and noticing life and sharing what you notice. When you write your truth, it’s a love offering to the world because it helps us feel braver and less alone. If you feel something calling you to write or paint or sing please refuse to worry about whether you are good enough. Just do it. Be generous and offer a gift no one else can offer: yourself.” I wanted to stand up and cheer after I read this. Writing is one of the most vulnerable things you can do because if you do it authentically, it takes what’s inside of you and puts it to the outside for others to see. If you do it from a place of vulnerability, you give others the message that it just might be OK to open up about your topsy turvy terrible horrible no good very bad days—freedom not to have it all together—to be messy and awkward and insecure—freedom to bust the Facebook myth that we have it all together and live like Mary Poppins. Writing is an opportunity to crush the walls of self-protection so that you and others can be made whole. What you share is an invitation to others to risk and have courage.
Some of my favourite authors include Ann Voskamp, Glennon Doyle Melton, Anne Lamott and, most recently, Donald Miller. They have the courage to spill their emotional guts out onto the page without doing a whole lot of editing. After reading their work, I’ve breathed a sigh of great relief knowing that someone finally gets me and it’s OK to be an emotional train wreck sometimes. Their courage to expose their hearts paves the way for self-forgiveness and the forgiveness of others. I’m not sure there is a greater gift than that.
The other day, my husband was going to the gym and he heard a strange flapping noise coming from the top of the car. Strangely, before he left I had said, “I think I’d die if anyone ever read my journal.” Well, guess what was flapping on the roof of the car. Somehow, I’d left my journal up there. It wasn’t until he got to the gym that he investigated the noise. My journal had held on for the whole trip, THANK GOD! But then I got to thinking about why I’d be so mortified if someone read it. It’s my truest self on those pages; so on some level I must be ashamed of me. The buzzword of the day is living vulnerably, but how many of us actually do. So, I’ve decided to share a few pages of what you would have found had you found my journal on Summit Drive. This isn’t easy for me to do, so please only comment in the comments section if you have something encouraging to say. Please don’t say something goofy, like wow, never knew you were such a walking disaster. Oh, and just for the record, some of you may be wondering if I’m an alcoholic after reading this, but I’m not—just wanted to get that out of the way.
“It feels like my head has been used for a speed bump. God, I pray the fog lifts before I start work. I feel like I need to be resuscitated. Why am I always so tired? Why can’t I be one of those people who pops out of bed stoked about the day? I need to go to David’s Tea and buy an extra large package of “Serenity Now.” Is serenity too much to ask for? I don’t even know if I’ve ever truly experienced it. That’s sad. The stupid furnace broke--$450.00. What a pain. This coffee is having a weird effect on me, or is it affect? Coffee and I have a love hate relationship. The first few sips are oh so good—life starts bubbling up in me and I feel like I can bust a move and make it through the day, but then there is a point of no return—where all goes wrong. My guts begin to feel like they are rotting and I get agitated and jittery and even nasty. Sensitive people should probably drink herbal tea because drinking coffee is unpredictable. If anyone ever found this journal I am going to be found out—I can’t spell, my thoughts are erratic like I have some manic disorder and my life is one massive ball of chaos. I wonder what it would be like to be on medication for ADHD? I think I have it. Maybe I’d be brilliant and could write books in months because I’d have clarity and wouldn’t be hopelessly distracted by everything. My theme song would be, “I Can See Clearly Now,” and maybe it would be a bright, bright, sunshiny day. I think I need a new outfit—something flowy and light. It definitely can’t be tight—that just isn’t working for me these days. I fantasize about past days when I could eat like a trucker and not gain weight. Now, I have to weigh the cost of eating chocolate cake. If I eat the cake, I’ll need to go for a run. If I continue to eat copious amounts of chocolate, I’ll need to do a Wild Rose Cleanse, which would really suck—12 days of eating clean food which translates into mowing the lawn and eating the grass clippings for almost two weeks. This muffin top thing is really bugging me. When did that happen? Thanks a lot wine. You’d be a true friend if I actually lost weight drinking you and your side kicks—pepperoni, crackers and chips. Well, on the bright side—I got Id’d at the liquor store—that makes me want to break out in song!”
Although this is only one page of my journal you get the gist, and honestly, most days are not carpe diem days. They are a mixture of brutal and beautiful, or what Glennon Doyle Melton calls, “brutiful.” But the truth is that it’s OK to have brutiful days.