Why Write

Take me, for example.  Not the best writer in the world.  A reluctant writer.  A shy writer, but I cannot seem to stop doing it. I have tons of journals in the basement; I am writing a book or trying to. I tried high school teaching once but couldn’t stomach it.  I Teach yoga instead, and love it.

Still writing though.  Weird.  So what’s the point?  Why continue with this?  The answer is: I can’t stop.  I am addicted in a weird way.  I can stop for a while, but not for long. I wish I could stop, but I can’t. It’s what I do.  It’s who I am. Or at least it’s a part of who I am.  Not everything, but big.  Huge, maybe.

I can’t stop doing it.  I like it and I hate it at the same time. It’s both a blessing and a curse.  Why can’t I stop?  This is what happens when I do stop, even for a little while.

At first it feels fine.  I am doing and acting in the world, and everything is fine.  Then there starts to be  discomfort.  Not in the body, but someplace inside.  There is a grouchiness that develops, a persistent feeling of being out-of-sorts.  I can’t put my finger on it but it feels wrong.  I never think it’s because I haven’t been writing, though.  I blame it on my diet, or lack of exercise, or lack of discipline in my life.  I start to worry about death, and wake up in the night and think about how old I am and how I haven’t done a damn thing with my life and it’s almost over.  I think that I am not even close to getting the “Life Well-Lived” badge.  But I am very close to getting the “Too Little Too Late” badge. Or the “Good Intentions” badge.  And that scares me.

So the next day I take out the journal and start scribbling because I need someone to talk to about all this stuff that’s worrying me.  I need to talk to my inner wisdom guide, which I have named “Stella,” only I don’t ever consciously think that that’s what I need to do.  I think I just need to sort things out in my brain.  I think I need to put it all out there and look at it rather than having all the boogie-boogies in my brain (which is a very dark and spooky place to begin with) scaring me with their creepy noises and voices.

When I finish writing there is clear and bright at the end.  Not always “happy.”  No.  But the writing shines a flashlight under the bed and I can see the boogie-boogies for what they really are, which are thoughts, and not real.

I sit down and write these words: Only actions are real.  And although this does not console me, because I am not a person of action for the most part, at least I am not worried about stuff that isn’t real anymore.

Then I realize after I’ve written for a few hours that the reason I was getting all crazy in my head was that I had not written in a while. I was disconnected from my self, my Stella, my star, my soul, whatever I want to call it.  And that’s why I needed to write.  Not because I am a good writer. Not because I need to make up elaborate other worlds like fiction writers do.  No. I write in order to connect with myself.

I write because it’s the only way I know that I can stay happy and sane.  If I don’t, I become grouchy and crazy.

It’s as simple as that.

A Nice White Shirt

Yesterday I went to wear my favorite long-sleeved white shirt from Land’s End and found a hole in it.  No matter how much I tried to ignore that hole and pretend it wasn’t there, it was. This was the day I had been dreading. This was the day I knew I had to relegate my favorite shirt from “favorite go-to”  to “wear- around- the-house-only” status.

It’s sad when clothes die.

Especially because this shirt was so very excellent: silky soft and drapey without being too fitted or too boxy.  And whether I put it on straight from the dryer, or pressed it up with a spritz of Magic sizing and wore it with silver jewelry and a pretty scarf, it always came through for me. Always.

In hindsight, I regret not buying more of them the moment I realized how wonderful they were. The only reason I didn’t must have been because I thought that they’d carry them forever.  It was a basic white shirt, after all. Nothing trendy.

Stupid.

Now I know better. Nothing is forever. Everything changes. Sure, Land’s End still sells white long-sleeved shirts, and I even ordered one and immediately sent it back. They will never have that shirt again because they have found a cheaper source, in a different country, made with poorer quality cotton, that they can sell for a higher profit margin.

At this point, I have a fairly extensive collection of white, long-sleeved shirts . I seem to be drawn to them like a magnet. I am always on the lookout, partly, I think, because I knew this Land’s End shirt would die one day and have to be replaced.  But none of my other shirts even come close to giving me the happiness I found with this one.

I have one from Banana Republic, another from Jones New York, one from Coldwater Creek, and one from ExOfficio. All of them underwhelm.

I have three Gap white shirts:  a “Classic” made in the Phillipines, a Gap Stretch made in Turkey, and another Classic made in China. The first two are “bleh,” but wearable.  The winner, and the one that will have the terrible burden of trying to live up to the Land’s End shirt is the Gap classic stretch-fitted one, the one made in China.

I ironed it up yesterday, spritzed it with sizing and placed it at the head of the pack and said, “Look you. You have a lot to live up to. You are never going to be the Land’s End shirt, but you can try, okay?”

It just gave me this white, blank look.

White Shirts

Hay

When we were in Colorado this summer, we stopped in Ward. There is a General Store in Ward, and inside the store (where, for some reason you weren’t allowed to take pictures) there was a sign that said:

“Hay. Did anybody see the fight on the corner Friday night? If you did,  Pete, the sheriff, wants to talk to you.”

That there had been a fight on the corner on Friday night in Ward went without saying, from the looks of Ward, but what charmed me the most about this sign was the word, “Hay.”

Today G and I went for a bike ride on the bike path in Mansfield which adjoins hay fields. There were lots of those big round bales sitting in the fields. They were beautiful. I said to G, “”Hay! Do you see those bales? I want to take a picture!” In the course of looking for my shot I walked far away from my bike. She rode my bike back to me.

It was a good day.  Not as good as the day in Ward.  But very good.

G with bikes
Hay

 

 

Rowing

I went to the gym last night after yoga to do my rowing. This was a mistake because the place was packed with students, and not only that, I forgot about the whole “proper footwear” thing, and was in my Mione’s and my feet kept slipping out of the straps, which was annoying.

The two rowing machines at the gym are situated RIGHT next to the free weights, and if guys are lifting and preening in front of the mirrors, having some chick doing her thing on the rower at the same time is a big pain in the ass because people have to time it just right so as not to get elbowed by the rower as they make their way to the  ellipticals.

Last night I turned out to be that chick on the rower causing the little aisle between the free weights and the captain’s chair to be practically blocked.

(Ask me if I care.)

The students did provide an interesting show for me last night, though. All the freshman are instantly pegged by their school-issued lanyards, from which they dangle their IDs and their room keys. It’s adorable.  (I wonder how long it will take them to realize that this isn’t that cool of a look?  My guess: Halloween.)

A lot of students walked in looking tentative and uncomfortable. It was clear they had neither a clue, nor a plan.  Maybe they walked in “to work out,” but then instantly realized they did not know what that entailed, exactly.  The gym is definitely a “scene” where it appears everybody knows what they’re doing, but you.

It’s hard. I wanted to put my arm around them, and whisper in their little ears: “Look, come back tomorrow, in the afternoon, when there is nobody here.  Then you won’t feel so intimidated.” Because god knows, they need it.  We ALL need it.

Rowing is my new worky-outy thing.  I discovered it a few months ago when I stepped off the treadmill feeling all tight in my shoulders, so I did a few minutes on the rower to loosen up.

“Huh,” I thought. “This is kind of all right. It’s easy and flowy and kind of relaxing.”  I then Googled “indoor rowing for fitness” when I got home, and whatdaya know?   Indoor rowing as an exercise is pretty kick-ass.  Cardio and strength all in one.  Excellent!  So I bought a few books with different rowing routines, and now I am launched on a 12-week rowing “experiment.”

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily

Life is but a dream.

Yeah. Especially that last line.

A New Kind of Snarky Optimism (with spittle)

I am giddy with the prospect of September even though I thoroughly HATE September and everything September stands for– except for (maybe) the prospect of “new beginnings” which, to be honest, every month has the potential for, on the first day of its bad self.

But after that first day is over, September is especially nauseating because it signals that we are now on the brink of the murk. (Murk: def. Partial or total darkness; gloom) What we now stand before is a long road of dwindling days heading into total darkness. We are looking down into that deep trough of despond, that murk, and there is no escape.  So today we have this new-pencilly murk of September, which will be soon followed by the moldy-leaf murk of October, then comes the wet, bare-branchy murk of November, and the inevitable fake-twinkly murk of December.

This is followed by the hangover murk of January, and the cloyingly sweet murk of February, which, once we get to the end of that little son-of-a-bitch of a month we can finally heave a big sigh of relief and fire up the snowblower just in time for the 5-foot snow drift dump on the newly-bloomed daffodils in March.  Yah.   Good times.

But today I am NOT going to allow myself to slip into thoughts of the murk. No. No way, Hoe-Zay.  Why? Because I am so into the POSTIVE PSYCHOLOGY movement, yes I am, and I even have the book Learned Optimism sitting right there on the book shelf where I can stare at it every morning first thing, right after I squint into, and turn off the creepy green glow of the Zen alarm clock, and turn off its profoundly annoying mechanical birds.

So where was I? Yeah, the murk, and not going into it. Nope. Not going. Because today is September first. The day of Optimism (!) and new beginnings (!); the day of taking charge of my own happiness and my response to everything, because I can. Yes I can. (insert repetition of this a few times here.)

I am going to get back to all the things I need to get back to, and then talk about them, here (hopefully,minus a lot of today’s snark). Resolutions-ish things. New Project-y things. New Goal-y things.

I have decided to take full and total responsibility for my own:

1. Happiness.

2. Creativity.

3. Inspiration.

4. Health.

I have always “claimed” and “proclaimed” that I was taking responsibility for these things, but deep down? Not so much. If I were to come totally clean here, I would have to confess that I really expected more from the world in meeting those needs.

But “the world”?

People, if you haven’t noticed, it disappoints. It really does. And on pretty much every level. And this forces me into “Spider Mode” in which I am left to spin my own world out of my own spittle, if I have any hope at all of getting up that goddamn waterspout.

So “Job 1” every day is tending the Spittle Factory. And to that end, I am off right now to the gym, to row.

More about that, tomorrow.  Happy September. Or whatever.