Thursday, October 22, 2009

Even the sun has a schedule!

"Is there anything more loyal than the sun?"

The poet Mary Oliver said that.

I felt like she was talking directly to me. Like I was the only member of the audience who really mattered to her. I'm sure I was the only one in the crowd to scribble these words onto the front cover of my program titled "An Evening With Mary Oliver."

And to think that I almost didn't go.

You know the routine - driving home, dreaming about doing nothing but shaking off the cobwebs of a day that slowly smothers the soul. Hoping that peeling off the 'work clothes' and climbing into those soft pj's could create enough space around the body to finally let it breathe again.

I googled my favorite Mary Oliver poem and printed out two copies. I read and reread the lines that had walked beside me through my divorce as I struggled to rebuild a new life with my sons: "...and you felt the old tug at your ankles. "Mend my life!" each voice cried..."

I had followed Mary's advice and just kept walking until I could hear my own voice rising above the chaos and clatter around me. I "strode deeper and deeper into the world," until I had saved "the only life I could save."

My sister had sent me that poem in an email - she said it reminded her of me. I recognized myself immediately and felt so much relief to know that I wasn't the only person in the world walking away to save my life. I felt a sense of community with a writer I had never met, until last week.

Mary refused to sign my copies of the poem, citing something about potential copyright issues. (I'd wanted to send my sister a signed copy for Christmas.) Mary happily signed an official collection of poems for me instead. As I watched her hand guide her pen across the page, it struck me how easy it was for a writer to create magic with words. How simple it is to construct sentences that can help people in ways the writer could never imagine.

I didn't tell her why I loved The Journey.

The sun waited about thirty minutes after I got up the next morning before rising over the Atlantic. I brewed the tea, packed my lunch and hurried back into my work schedule.

I was driving home as the sun set in my rear view mirror. I felt frustrated because I wanted to hurry home to write my novel, but I was teaching instead. I was helping others to birth their own novels. How ironic is that?

Since my last entry I've been unable to crawl back into my writing schedule. I could blame it on the pc virus that took me 14 hours to locate then destroy, but I write my novel on my iBook, so that's not a valid excuse. I could also try to blame it on the one year anniversary of the death of my neighbor, who was like my surrogate mother. This had sent me into my kitchen to roast a turkey and potatoes the exact same way my nieghbor and my mum had roasted them for me.

But there are no excuses for blowing off my writing schedule. There is just the plain fact that I have been wading though emotional molasses these last two weeks and it's time to haul my boots back onto solid ground.

If the sun can show up for her schedule every day, for thousands and thousands of years, then I think I can try to show up for mine.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nic, does this mean you haven't been writing? Having a balmy autumn her in the UK. Sister Sue