Friday, April 27, 2007

{Checking In} Week 10 of Finding Water

I can't believe it. It is only a little bit after 9 on Friday morning and I am already doing my weekly Finding Water check-in. Amazing. Punctual? Me?

Well, actually, since I don't work until noon, I was planning on spending the morning working on my thesis--but after returning home from a long walk along the creek with wolfie, I poured myself a cup of coffee and, as I started walking towards my writing room, noticed the blanket of sunshine covering the dining room table and my copy of Finding Water. I decided to stop here in the sunshine for awhile and finish reading this week's chapter. I'm on to my second cup of coffee and the sun is still shining--so I decided to stay in this spot awhile longer and do my check-in while I am surrounded by such comfort. I am transferring time and energy. My thesis will instead receive my full attention tonight.

Morning Pages and Significant Issues
This week I did my journal pages 5 out of 7 days. I can't seem to pull my act together lately. 5 out of 7 aint bad, but then there is the pile of dishes in the kitchen, the bed still hasn't been made, the pile of papers on my desk, the pile of clean laundry that needs to be put away in the basement, and bathrooms that need to be cleaned. Last night, I spent an hour or two reading instead of writing. It is really hard to work in a bookstore and not have time to read. And, in the end, I feel a tinge of guilt no matter what I do.

Yesterday we went to see a play that my 8 year old nephew was in and afterwards we all went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. I very rarely drink, so the one margarita that I had was just enough to chill me out and give me a headache. When I got home I made an executive decision to give myself a break and spent some time reading. Even though it was only for an hour or so, the time felt quite luxurious. Hopefully I can return to my writing tonight feeling a little bit refreshed. It's funny how it doesn't take long for serious writing to make me feel bogged down. There's a lot of emotional excavation going on when I write. I can only handle so much at a time. I know a lot of writers that can push themselves to write in large quantities. They can sit down and write a 10-20 page story in one night if necessary. My husband is like that. But I can't do it that way. The stuff I write just doesn't work that way. It never has. I doubt that it ever will.

Lately I've been setting a goal for myself. 3 pages a night. Of course, deep down I know that I am more like a one-page-a-day sort of person. So I cut myself slack and, in reality, am shooting for three, 3 page essays a week. This works well for me because it gives me a little more room for flexibility. The first night I actually managed to produce an entire 3 pages and--oh the glory--I celebrated by taking myself and my book to a coffee shop to read in solitude and silence. Since moving to this city I had not once gone out for coffee by myself for any other reason than to work. And let me just say: It was heaven! I continue to work towards another one of those moments--but it hasn't been as easy as I was hoping. In all honesty, I was expecting this. And so I will continue doing what I'm doing because a little bit at a time will add up. I have faith in that.

What I don't have enough faith in is myself. This, however, is something that I have been taking great care to work on. There is a part of me that keeps poking: "This isn't good enough. Your writing sucks. It doesn't make sense to anyone but you. Your writing is irritating. It's too abstract. So-And-So on your committee isn't going to like it. You're never going to finish this...." On and on it goes. I could let my inner critic grind me to a complete halt, but lately I've been more successful in hushing that voice.

A good friend (who is also working on her dissertation and is working on the same deadline) recently asked if I would like to be an "accountability partner" with her. These days, I don't know what I'd do without her. I sent my first essay to her a few days ago. Even though I was totally afraid that it absolutely sucked--I sent it anyway. Not only do I have mini-deadlines set to send her my work, but now my writing also has a destination. Because she is under a lot of pressure to finish her own project, I don't expect her to respond to my work at all. But just knowing that she is receiving it and treating my words with tenderness is enough to keep me going. Needless to say, I am grateful beyond words for her. I'm not sure I would be doing this without her. I mean, sure, I guess I would be...but I think my struggles would be a bit more intensified. Just by being there, she is helping me to be kinder to myself. I guess that is the nice thing about friends--they're good like that.

...mine have been cut short due to the fact that my walking partner, Anu, has not been feeling well. My poor wolfie was sick for several days (lethargic, tummy ache, loss of appetite, dull eyes), and so I took her to the vet. A full check-up and several blood tests later, she has been diagnosed with pancreatitis. After a 24 hour fast and a prescription diet, she is feeling much better already. Thank God. I love my wolfie more than words could say. I cry at even the thought of anything ever happening to her! But I do believe that we have found the best vet in the world. She actually looks forward to going to see him! In the past, Anu was always a very difficult dog to bring to the vet--to the point that she actually needed to be sedated before we were able to bring her in. I am grateful that we have found someone that she likes and trusts to such an extreme. I am also grateful that we have found someone that is willing to go the extra mile to make sure that she is happy and healthy. Now if I could just find a doctor like that for myself! ;)

Okay... I feel like I could write forever. But this post is getting long enough. Instead of blathering on I will leave you with a list inspired by one of Julia Cameron's Divining Rods...

About Which I Could Pray:
  1. to write 3 pages a day or 9 pages a week towards the completion of my thesis.
  2. that I will be happy with what is on those pages.
  3. that I will continue to find satisfaction in my work--both at the garden shop and the bookstore.
  4. that my wolfie will live a healthy life.
  5. that my marriage will always be strong.
  6. for help in finding the house that we are looking for--the one that feels like home.
  7. and that we will be able to comfortably afford that place without getting in over our heads.
  8. that we will find another dog when the time is right--and that the dog will need us as much as we need him/her.
  9. for a baby--also when the time is right.
  10. to be able to see the divine in each and every person I come in contact with.
  11. to find beauty often in small and random moments--and to remember to be thankful for those moments.
  12. that I will always follow my heart.
  13. that I may sleep well...and Vinny, too.
  14. that my old cat will stay healthy until his dying day.
  15. that my mom will find a partner in life that makes her truly happy.
  16. that my brother will find a house that is safe and brings him happiness.
  17. that my hair will quit looking like Martha Stewart's! Grow, damnit, grow!!
  18. for help in losing and then maintaining my ideal weight. I don't feel the need to be skinny--but I do want to be the strongest and healthiest that I can be.
  19. for the opportunity, confidence, and resources to learn more about web design. I want to take a few classes--but good classes can be quite expensive (and intimidating!).
  20. that my creativity will bring in a higher and more reliable source of income.
  21. that my sister will win the Vespa lottery that she signed me up for. ;)
  22. that my friends (yes, you) will find their happiness too--both great and small.


Leah said...

(((Hugs and love to you)))

oh, that trip to the coffee shop just to read sounds like heaven! treat yourself to this more!

Elizabeth said...

Great list. (I haven't done my excersies yet this week, so you have inspired me, thanks!) I am back from cyberspace limbo and glad to catch up with you again.

Well done for the executive decision you took, and for the trip to the coffee shop. I agree with Leah, more treats!!
Hugs to you, love Lizzi

Spiky Zora Jones said...

I thought I would have a free weekend but I forgot I had a dinner party tonight. I had even scheduled shopping for tomorrow. Where is my mind these days? I tried to cancel, but my peeps would not let me off the hook.

Ha...I loved your post. I wish all those things for you. I think happiness is like your list. It comes in small pieces. We put them together like we do puzzle pieces.

You are one of my puzzle pieces. I read your blog and I smile. On your bad days you bounce back quickly. It's so inspiring.

Jessie, don't doubt write wonderfully. I can't wait to one day read your novels.

bee said...

let's talk soon, okay?

i love both of your pictures...but the one with you extending your hand towards the purple blossom is so comforting, in an inexplicable way.

i love you, bff. :)

Karen said...

What a wonderful list! I wish for all of those things for you, also!

I'm with Leah--those little moments for yourself are soooo important! It's hard to learn to make them happen--

Anonymous said...

omg. I am still laughing at your "Martha Stewart" hair comment!
Did you know that our grows twice as fast in the warmer spring & summer months than in the winter?
So start giving your scalp a good towel massage after you wash it to stimulate growth.
I love how you break down your day into before work and after work. It's a good lesson for me.
If I have to go in for work at noon-ish, I'll sit around
"waiting" to go to work and be very unproductive for those 5-6 hours.
I loved this whole post and your doggy is gorgeous! He looks like a wolf!

deirdre said...

Jessie, I loved every word of this post, from your morning coffee in the sunshine to your list of prayers. And poor Anu! After spending a horrifying amount of time and money at the vet and trying to keep a very sick kitty alive, it's been decided that she may have pancreatitis. All the tests were inconclusive. We treat her with prednisone and pepcid and she's (fingers crossed here) doing fine. I hope Anu does well.

kj said...

hi jessie. i like your list too. as for faith in yourself, i say do it with or without faith. my book "agent" just suggested i get a "professional writer" help me. WHATTTT? i am changing agents. finally...


The Dream said...

come on now - martha stewart? that's WAY off base and freaky!

i love your doggie!