Forward, sideways

I went snowshoeing yesterday morning. Of course I did, because first there was Vic, who said, Of course you can borrow Helen’s snowshoes — take them for as long as you’d like. (Along with these books, which I think the kids would like. They do.)

And then Martha mentioned something about snowshoeing in a message to me about meditation, and I said, Well I have this pair. And so we went out with another friend through the trails on Martha’s property and an eagle flew above us and I fantasized about buying the 35 acres just next door.

And that’s how things seem to be going these days in terms of creative life, pleasurable life.

Like this: Kirsten and Chris have both lent me guitars, and then someone on Facebook posted a link to this site and so now that’s what I’m doing, strumming away so hard that I can no longer feel the tips of my fretting fingers.

Like this: chatting with Heather during after-school pick up on Thursday, and we end up talking about quilting. She mentions that she’s just been gifted bags and bags of material, gorgeous stuff. Maybe I want some? Of course I want some, and the next day, Rowan comes home from school with yards of cloth for me. It’s beautiful. Not necessarily the colours I’d have chosen on my own, but that just means I can whip up something quick and dirty and have some fun without thinking too much. And now the ping-pong table is covered with strips of cloth in lights and darks and Isaac’s special job is to remove the pins once they’re sewn together. He is sometimes more and sometimes less enthusiastic about this task, and so I just go with the flow.

Like this: back in December, I said What the hell and pulled together a writing grant application for a collection of short stories. Because at fairly regular intervals these days, ideas for short stories pop into my head and I jot them down. And the grant, like any grant, is a long shot, but not impossible. And if I get it — and maybe even if I don’t — I will write them all down, because that will be my job.

And so on. What I’m saying is this: gifts appear, and I am saying yes to them. Tasks appear, and I take them on. And this is so much easier than the model to which I had (wittingly or not) subscribed before – you know, the one where I took everything so seriously. The one where I was going to write A Novel, because it was my Life’s Work and My Story. The one where everything hinged on that one project, and its success or failure determined everything.

It’s so much easier to cede control. I mean, of course I play an active role in all these projects, but I may be doing a better job of getting of getting out of my own way, of letting myself be taken rather than assuming that I know the way forward. Like yesterday, out in the snow and the trees, tromping along behind Martha, occasionally breaking my own trail, but always trusting she’d take me exactly where I needed to go.

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