It often happens that I become discouraged with the progress of my writing career. There are so many interruptions and distractions. After all, my writing hat is only one of many that I must wear–I am also a mother, a wife, a friend, an employee, a supervisor, a musician. Work deadlines, dinner menus, doctor’s appointments, bill due dates, sick pets, yard maintenance…they all do their best to interrupt my writing goals.
But, as the real world tugs me this way and that, sometimes succeeding keeping me from putting words on the page for days on end, there are always signs to keep me on my true path–my writer’s path.
Sometimes it is something as simple as a yellow finch singing outside my kitchen window as I mundanely wash the dishes. Proudly cocking his little golden head and hopping from branch to branch. What are the words of his song?
Or, shuffling papers to search for a receipt at tax time, an old photo slides to the floor. My Granny. The sweetest soul who ever graced this planet, smiles out from a faded Polaroid. How I loved her laugh and her stories. How unconditionally she loved me!
Other times a shooting star will streak across the night sky as I stand outside shivering while my dogs sniff around in the dark. Make a wish! Then my eyes connect the star-dots of Orion and I think of ancient times.
Once, after cleaning the bathrooms (my most unfavorite chore) I saw a bald eagle fly past my bathroom window. I ran through the house in just a towel, following it from window to window, desperate to keep watching it until the last possible second. My heart thumping. Massive majestic bird. What is he doing here? Where is he going?
Often when I’m singing, I forget where I am and who might be listening, and I am the song–the perfect words, the notes following one after the other like a bridge to something amazing. There’s magic in song. Magic in words. Magic in story.
Forced to attend a tedious business lunch, I meet someone new and they tell a tale about their life–an amazing revelation of uniqueness where I had expected monotony. For the rest of the day I look at the other ordinary people around me and I wonder about their stories.
The façade of an old building on a one-way street in the city. Gargoyles and supernatural beings, frozen in stone, beautiful ugliness, stare down over modern life. What would they say if they could speak? What if they came to life and walked among us?
And my fingers begin to itch. I need pen and paper, a keyboard, a digital voice recorder. I need to write, to create, to pour it all out like an offering. And I do! Scribbling like mad on the train on the way home–laughing silently as I feel the curious looks of my fellow passengers. “What is she writing about?” they wonder.
Everything! I am writing about you and me and everyone! Laughter and tears and war and wonder! The beauty of the ordinary and the secrets of the soul’s imagination.
The next morning, I’m tired. I have a headache from staying up too late or being woken an hour before the alarm by two geese yelling at each other on the lake behind my house.
No writing today. I can’t even think!
Driving to the train, I turn down a road I’ve been down every work day for the last five years.
And I catch my breath….
The road is lined on both sides with blooming pear trees back-lit by the red-pink rising sun. White wedding-dressed branches welcoming and waving me on as I drive slowly and drink in the loveliness of the picture.
And I know I’m a writer today and tomorrow and every day until the end of my time on this planet.
Amen. So be it.