The Really Important Stuff

File Jan 21, 9 00 17 AM

Winter still point.

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.


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8 thoughts on “The Really Important Stuff

  • Willow

    Usually my response to how am I is, “It’s a great day. No one shot at me this morning.” That keeps it all into perspective. And lots of good, fresh food. And coffee. And my underwear fits, too.

    • Meg Post author

      Hi Willow—oh, yes, the no one shot at me today reply. I remember when my husband was teaching art to some inner-city kids and he overheard one girl say to another, “When I get shot….” And she honestly believed that at some point she would be. Yikes.

      The coffee was especially good this morning, although I could use a new red mug!

  • Elizabeth S. Craig

    I love how you were so mindful about what you were feeling. And you got to the bottom of your emotions. I’m still working on that sometimes.

    Health is something I tend to take for granted–until I run into an issue. It’s good to remember to be grateful for health…and everything else.

    Congratulations on all your wonderful progress with your story!

    • Meg Post author

      Hi Elizabeth–I took health for granted, too, in my forties. A little less in my fifties. Not at all now. As Willow said in the above comment: nobody shot at me today! Or to paraphrase: another bullet dodged 🙂

  • Tamara

    One can never underestimate the importance of correctly fitting underwear. Bad undies can certainly undermine the whole day, I’m here to tell ya. I’m also grateful for many things, but my connection with other folks who share their creative process and goals (giving hope to a crusty procrastinator like me) is right there at the top. Thank you, Meg.

    • Meg Post author

      Hi Tamara–I recently found wireless bras that keep the girls in place even when I garden or clean house. Bliss.

      And thank YOU Tamara, for everything you do, and for your art, your poetry, and your thoughts. It’s not too late. Uh-uh….

      Onwards and upwards, I always say 🙂

  • Alexa

    I agree with Tamara about the underwear. It’s hard to concentrate when it doesn’t fit just so. I’ve decided this year to throw out all that give me trouble. I’ve also decided that this year, I’m going to tackle one problem at a time before moving on the another. Lastly, thanks for posting about your 2K First process.

    • Meg Post author

      Hi Alexa–oh, yes, the Great Underwear Toss-Out. I went through this last year, but could only do it bit by bit. I finally found great undies at a store right here in town–but they only had one or two of my size and preferred color at a time, and didn’t restock very often. I persevered, and now have what I consider a generous stack of them in a reasonably tidy drawer. It feels so good knowing they’re there, and I don’t have to face the daily selection of the lesser of several evils. I wish you luck in your journey toward this particular satori.

      The 2K First method continues to work well, and I think I’m going to try for 14K (seven days of 2K) this week and weekend, because it will put me at the end of Act I in a record-breaking two weeks. Just wanted to feel what it was like 🙂