I’ve tried three different times to write a blog post in the past month, and each time it just didn’t feel right, somehow. The one I just deleted before starting the one you’re reading now was 823 words long, about a new writing process I am trying out. But it felt like I was trying to avoid writing about the really important stuff.
A bad cold knocked me off my stride in January, surprising because I am usually able to keep working through the ups and downs of health. Things like the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman made me feel like I, too, could soon snuff out, a feeling that I learned was shared by many of my fellow 60-somethings on Facebook. The ever-present concerns about income are also still hanging around. And concerns about family and friends, the things that bubble under the surface.
Yet I managed to bang out 40,000 words toward the set up of my next book, the story lines, research, outline and synopsis, and then, as planned, began Chapter One on the first of February. It’s been a good writing week. That new process I mentioned is something I call 2K First: Two thousand words written before doing anything other than getting dressed and making coffee/breakfast (aka no Internet). Goal: 10K+ per week. Practiced this in January until it became a habit.
I hit the 10.5K mark yesterday (Friday) morning, so decided to use my afternoon for grocery shopping and other errands. But on the way from one store to the next, I felt this huge wave of sadness–felt so tired, and everything hurt, inside and out. I actually started crying. I felt overwhelmed, like it was all too much. Was it shopping? Desire? Seeing too many things I can’t afford?
Then, at a long stop light, something shifted. I’m not sure what triggered it, but it dawned on me that it wasn’t really sadness that was getting to me. And the pain and the fatigue was awfully like the kind that comes after an ordeal. The overwhelm, however, was definitely real, but it was from relief. Gratitude, not Desire. And for so many things.
I parked my 19-year-old Ford Explorer at the grocery store, and as I slammed the door shut, a chunk of rust fell off the fender. I almost cried again–not at desire for a new vehicle, but at the thought of how I’d feel if I had to replace it. I’d really miss the old thing–our dear old ratty, fun, reliable, and practical Dora the Explorer. I looked around at all the newer vehicles in the parking lot–and every one of them was newer, save for one of those ubiquitous white vans parked off by itself–and felt a certain badass pride. I turned up the Snape-like collar of my favorite long black coat (which I bought twelve years ago at a resale shop) and strode toward the store. From the back you can’t tell if I’m a boy or a girl.
The roof only leaks some of the time. There’s a filter for lead on the water faucet. My underwear fits. Stuff like that.