“Iwrite because there are stories that people have forgotten to tell, because I am a woman trying to stand up in my life. I write because to form a word with your lips and tongue or think a thing and then dare to write it down so you can never take it back is the most powerful thing I know. I am trying to come alive, to find the distances in my own recesses and bring them forward and give them color and form.”
Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down The Bones
The color and form of my own writing is a gray, foggy mess this week. When I read this quote at the pool yesterday, my soul resonated deeply with her reasons for writing. Writing through the gray doesn’t guarantee you’ll have hands filled with color on the other side, but waiting for the gray to pass isn’t always the answer, either.
Why the fog? Self-doubt. Exhaustion. Too many things to do in too little time. People-overload. Tiny bugs showing up in my basil plant. Trash in the kids rooms (seriously, do your kids have endless stacks of Very Important Papers in their rooms?) Fear. Futile attempts at predicting outcomes. Lack of a time machine. Laundry.
And then there is the very real compulsion I have in the summertime to unplug every single electrical thing and live off the light from the lightening bugs. We could pitch a tent out back and eat s’mores and cucumber and buggy basil. We could make up stories with brave, honest, messy heroines and watch the stars until the sun comes up.
It wouldn’t go nearly like that. But sometimes I write to create a pretend reality and I dare you to hold it against me. I write through the fog because that’s what helps me come alive most times. Other times, the fight is futile and the most important thing is to take a walk. Move the basil plant to the porch. Go through the papers one at a time. There is no perfect way to know what the time calls for. The only thing to do is to believe in the God who holds all things together and then to take the next move that makes sense with as full a heart as you can manage.