There’s always magic abound. I truly believe that in the simplest form- that there’s always something beautiful, even amongst the chaos that is life. I like to say that life is messy.
As a kid, I liked art. I wasn’t very creative when it came to projects and while my teachers praised me for my essays and create writing projects, I can’t remember anything all that great being said about my artwork. Which is fine because, truth be told, I never really wanted to be a graphic artist anyway or a CEO or a botanist. I wanted to write.
One of my favorite projects as a kid was when I dropped various colors of paint on a sheet of paper, folded it in half, and opened it up. What was once just a bunch of globs of paint was now a tie dye explosion of art. I think life is kind of like that- you throw in the good parts and maybe it gets a bit messy, like when you get realize you forgot yellow and add it in at the last minute and it squeezes over the edges of the paper. It doesn’t make the process any less exciting or the outcome less interesting.
Right now, I’m sitting at my writing desk with old blues blaring and power tools whirring. What I thought was minor damage in my bathroom is apparently a HUGE FREAKING PROBLEM that requires way more everything (time, money, effort, sanity, wine) then I have right now. The upside is that I have an amazing group of people that are being really supportive and two amazing guys that are doing the work. Unexpected and expensive, yes. I’m so very grateful for the help I’m getting and I realize that sometimes, we have to ask for help and graciously accept it.
A few weeks ago I wrote about how life isn’t a story and how it can be easy for me, as a writer, to try to imagine the next worst thing that can happen in life. Despite that, I really am an optimist. What I should be learning from my characters is that they rarely get through their struggles alone. They have me and all the other characters, nature, whatever else on their side rooting for them and helping them along.
In front of me is, what I now realize, an achievement board. Tacked to it is a picture of me with my arms raised, the Cliffs of Moher in the background, as I celebrated my full-steam-ahead rush into my new life last year. There are run bibs from my first 5 and 10k races and pins with witty sayings like “hold me like a first edition” and “get between some sheets” from a writer’s conference I attended. I remember how many things I’ve accomplished this past year alone, things that either I or someone else told me I’d never do. I dealt with a mice problem, learned how to mow a lawn (I grew up in a forest, not in a lawn and fenced yard type of lifestyle), met my neighbor when I showed up on her doorstep crying because I locked myself out of my house a day after having the locks changed, I learned to trust my gut again and slowly but surely I’m learning how to ask for and accept help. If this were a story, I’d say that’s pretty great character development. Plus, I haven’t lost sight of my goals. One is to be a published author. Correction- to be paid for my writing. But that’s not why I write. I write because I have to, just like I run because it calms my mind. Writing gets out the million thoughts and voices in my head. It makes me excited about the future and let’s me visit places and people I might not get to in the real world. It’s a strange mix of creativity and structure that is just the right balance I crave.
I love to talk with others about the writing life. I have a critique group and online communities. It still amazes me how every writer’s process is different and unique. Some are tortured, others more carefree. I think the key is to find what works for you and examine it every once in a while to make sure it’s still good.
There’s a picture I’ve been meaning to hang on my wall and I’ll leave that with you now:
“Guess what? You have a brand new week ahead of you to slay dragons, achieve goals, sweat more, gripe less and ditch the fear. Go!”