Burning Up the Distractions
When we were at our writing retreat at Santa Sabina a few weeks ago, one of the things we did was to write down All the Things That Keep Us From Writing. We scribbled it all down on origami paper, and then folded them into paper cranes. Then we made a very impressive bonfire and tossed in the birds, which crumpled, turned colors, stood stoically without moving, jumped around and curled up before melting into little embers. All very dramatic.
But I've been thinking of it ever since. I am involved with so many things these days, all of them Good Things, but all of them things that I do Instead of Write. (this is why Novaren at Distraction #99 is my new soul sister!)
organize and host a regular author-reading series out of my homeSigh. I am loathe to give any of these things up. Which puts me in the conundrum of having worked on two book length manuscripts in twelve years, and completed neither.
read other writers' manuscripts
write this blog!
coordinate a family camp for adoptive families with children of color
run a household with two kids, two dogs, a spouse and an 84 year old mother
edit fiction at Literary Mama
When I was in my twenties and first moved to the Bay Area, my best friend printed up a set of 500 business cards and gave them to me. Each one featured a beautiful little frame of curling vines, and in the center, one simple word: No. The point of the cards was to hand them to Unsuitable Suitors, of whom I seemed to attract a lot at the time.
I could really use those cards now. But would I really use them? Do I want to? I thought of actually getting a teeny tiny tattoo, in the likeness of those cards, with that small but insistent word. Maybe on my wrist, or in the crook of my elbow. Somewhere tender, to remind me, and somewhere visible.
It's only one syllable, really, but it's the hardest one for me to utter.
In the meantime, I've decided to try my utmost to really only say yes to things that matter a LOT to me, and to really start using the N word on nonsense that I will only end up regretting. I've done a bit of that lately, regretting things, and wanting to tear my hair out over them, and I am going to try and really at least PAUSE-- at least to a count of ten-- before I say yes again.