I have carefully avoided posting a new blog entry for the last few weeks. I’ve commented on nothing, put up no book reviews, re-blogged no interesting things I find. I wanted this one to be special, because it’s my 100th blog post. That actually means I’m pretty slow in the blogging world. But this is MY world that I’m sharing, so too bad. My blog, my terms. It’s a milestone, and I’m celebrating.
I wanted this one to be special – to have some theme I could follow through the past year, something to grab hold of, something that’s been memorable for me. I’ve plenty of options. This has been an eventful year (insert tired face here).
I have all the photos and the thoughts from my Running Year – starting about this time last year when I began once-weekly run-commutes. Magical, strong times. I’d have to follow that with the surgery, and my recovery, with all its difficulties, to where I stand now, preparing (and feeling ready for) a first cruising sail in a week and a half.
I have thoughts from my Book Year – the books which informed and inspired and motivated me this year. It is a long, rich list – this was a great year for kid lit in particular.
What it comes down to, though, is this:
I’ve realized that my task is to frame the work ahead of me with this attitude – grabbing thoughts and ideas as they land in my lap and listening to the messages of inspiration that are their gift. The world is full of these gifts and we manage to ignore them quite readily. My intention is to stop ignoring, to grasp the moments that come to me, to make them mine, to give each one the importance it deserves.
There is a cheesy quote by an unknown author swirling around the Internet, and parts of it grabbed as I commit to dedicated time spent writing. This prospect is frankly terrifying, but also freeing.
Here’s the quote: “Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet. Cherish them.” And actually, it’s pretty good advice.
Today it struck me again, as I sipped the last dregs of coffee from the pot, catching up on Facebook, of all places, on the first day of the official beginning of my move toward part-time status in the job I’ve held for 11 years.
My old friend Caleb is a historian – and I consider him an archivist extraordinaire. He posted several 8mm film clips from the 1930s. These depict his own family, captured in glimpses of simple farm days in Vermont – a home built tractor, a hay harvester pulled behind a fabulous old car, sugaring off in the sugar shack. I will go back and watch them again today – and maybe tomorrow. They inspire me as a writer of historic fiction. They capture moments – real glimpses of dress, and ways of working – but also of what was held important to capture. I was struck by how these small clips in black and white could take me back – I could feel the chaff and the dust blowing into the car, and onto the guy working on the wagon as the hay fell into his arms. I was hugging the cold bucket on that spring day. I was bouncing in the seat at the back of the tractor, proud of the accomplishment and marveling at the builder of that tractor. I was there.
I’ve been revising and writing and describing my book’s characters and their environments in 1915. This is good work. But clearly I need to dive in and poke through my photos of the people and the time and get in there. I need to feel them in situ, catch glimpses of them, their gestures, their expressions, their environments. And then I need to take the inspiration they have given me as gift, and write it.