It's been a year since I last posted, and my writing here had been dropping steadily before that, and now there is this quiet tug to blog again. Life isn't any quieter now, or the internet any safer, but life circles back and there is this desire, and maybe desire itself is a gift, a nod in some direction- look, there- and to ignore it is to miss something.
This morning I tried to pull into our snow-covered driveway but there was a robin hopping all over the place, huffing, he seemed mad about the snow and I thought maybe he was calling my bluff- go ahead, take me now, please- as it hopped in front of the tires and I had to wait for the suicidal robin to clear the driveway. So what does this have to do with writing? Only that there are these moments- this joy and fury and misery and what do we do with them but notice and watch and protect them somehow, the experience of living.
Pablo Casals, one of the greatest cellists who ever lived, began every day in the same manner. "I go to the piano and I play two Preludes and Fugues of Bach. It fills me with awareness of the wonder of life, and with a feeling of the incredible marvel of being human." (Still Writing, Dani Shapiro)Does blogging fill me with the awareness of the wonder of life and the marvel of being human? No, but writing does, and this is one way to share in the marvel of being human together.
Maybe someday I'll freshen up the blog, but for now I'll be happy with a free hour on a Friday afternoon to try to catch up a bit and share some things I learned this winter . ..
Harry Potter helped me remember what we're here for. I read the first Harry Potter book to the kids and before I could pick up the next one Annie had finished the series. For a month she ate, slept, and breathed Harry Potter. She is reading them all a second time, she's reading them to her sister, she talks about the stories, the characters, endlessly. She dreams about Harry Potter. Watching her, I remembered what art is for. I remembered how it feels to be entirely transported into an experience, I remembered the shock and thrill and sizzle that good art can do, and how to come back to earth with the light still firing in your eyes. This is why we make art.
I've been learning how to make sourdough bread. I'm learning about the elements of good cooking: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat in this beautiful cookbook.
I'm still learning so much about mothering and living an intentional life from Sally Clarkson, and now I'm enjoying learning and pondering the arts through her insightful daughter's podcast, Speaking With Joy.
I learned more than I thought I could know about North Korea in this amazing novel.
I learned that writing is solitary work. I know this, I've always known it, and yet I've spent a decade believing that I could just sneak it in along with the noise and action of life, wondering why I felt so frustrated. Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, by Dani Shapiro is a great book about the writing life. What struck me most were the details of her working life; she keeps bankers hours, she needs a place free of interruption, she is alone and writing forty hours a week like its her job, which it is. For some reason I needed someone to spell it out like this, to talk me through the details of a writer's life, the sense of feeling cut-off from the world, the courage to claim her own space and time. Some of the same challenges are present with homeschool.
I was able to attend the IF Gathering last month and was encouraged to Persevere in my faith, specifically in the spiritual disciplines.
"If you can't get out of it, get into it." I've kept this bit of advice in my pocket from Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak. Intentionally getting into the very thing you wish to avoid is the key to most things; commitments, relationships, winter, piano practice, growing older, getting things done.
Self-Care Mistakes, and How Service Solves Them, at Simply Convivial. This helps explain my cringing reaction to the term "self-care." I thought about all of the inexplicable ways and times I felt the tender care of God when I wasn't looking for it, and how much more satisfying it is to be cared for by God than to strive for it for ourselves. A wise perspective.
Finally, a fast summary of the past twelve months; I quit my job, we re-homed the dog (don't hate me, she got to move in with her best friend and the most incredible dog parents- a long story that emotionally wore me out but was the right decision), we continue to homeschool, this year we formed our own co-op and its been the best year, I turned forty, the kids are easy peasy, we're all still in process, still trying and failing and loving and fighting and working it out. We're still doing our best to love God and people and to live wholehearted and amazed in this brutal, beautiful world.