just this

macatawa greenspace

Am I out of my mind to do this?

I’m not a disciplined person. I make promises I can’t keep, I start routines that won’t last, I forget to practice piano and read my Bible and stretch after running.

But I need the discipline because I think I lied last time. I think I was making excuses for not writing. I said that I’ve been content, but I’ve also been afraid. I’ve lost momentum and have been too afraid to try to regain it.

It’s easier to keep not writing.

My friend Adam, whom I mentioned last time, came up with the delightful little image of a jet ski as a metaphor for writing. If you slip off a jet ski, it takes a whole lot of effort to clamber back on and get moving: it bobs around in the water, everything is off-balance and unstable. But if your partner starts the motor up and the jet ski is moving, the forward motion stabilizes it and makes climbing on much easier. Acceleration provides stability, says Adam.

So I’m going to write. Every day.

I didn’t even remember that November is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), but here I am, sitting in the Minneapolis airport, waiting for my flight to California, and deciding that now’s a good a time as ever to post every (week)day. I’m going to start this dang jet ski back up and let the acceleration steady me.

I believe it’s true for lots of habits—praying, running, reading—that these things take discipline. A structured practice leads to a more fruitful art. So, dear November, here I come.

For today, just this: Mary Oliver, whose words I say to myself as my heart swells for those I love.

In Blackwater Woods
Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

(This post is one in a November series for NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. You can find the rest here!)

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11 thoughts on “just this

  1. i can really relate to the writer’s block or losing momentum or falling off the jet ski ~ i went over three months without posting to my blog AT ALL and really haven’t done as much this year as in the past. i’m hoping NaBloPoMo will help me get back into practice. (don’t tell anyone ~ i didn’t write a new poem or prose for today’s post, but i’d never posted the piece to my blog ~ it’s National Blog POSTING Month after all, not write-something-new-every-day-month, right?) *smile*
    good luck!

  2. Beautiful and humble sharing. I appreciate it. I am not a blogger, but I am a writer. I feel encouraged to sit at my piano again too – thank you!!!!

  3. Wow, Grace. Thank you for that beautiful poem! And for being transparent, for it is a spurring on to all those who read your words.

    Yes! Write and be filled with joy! Thanks for doing the hard work of birthing this God-given gift from within you!

  4. Grace! Just when I was going to set aside writing publicly on my much neglected blog, here you coming speaking a word to the contrary–and I like it. Thank you for writing about being afraid and sharing it with us.

  5. Excellent. I’m so excited for what November 30 will mean for you, both because of what you will have gained and learned and discovered, and because of what you will be free from, and free for. Blessings and Peace to you in your writing, Grace.

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