It’s not easy to shut out the business of writing and allow the work itself to just emerge. Sometimes, it’s brutally difficult, especially if you’re trying to make a living at it. I can get a wee bit grouchy trying to be true to the work while also remembering I have an obligation to my publisher. It’s a trying line, especially when the work itself is as slippery as a plate of spaghetti–I just think I’ve finally wrapped all those little threads around my fork, and there they go, slipping off again.
A writer writes. But a writer who wants to keep writing over a long career, a writer who wants to keep renewing the metaphor pool and freshening up her insights needs to do other things, too. It’s been a busy week of heavy writing, and by the weekend, my brain (and my eyes) rebelled. To serve the work, I had to leave it alone.
This is the reason I end up blogging about things that sometimes don’t appear to be about writing at all. The way a writer stays healthy is by cooking. Walking. Going to yoga class. Setting goals that have nothing to do with writing anything, like the Avon walk. (I’m trying to figure out a way to justify my reality TV habit (Go Holly! Go Ozzie! Go Girls on Top Chef!) but nothing is coming forward–oh, yeah! Relaxing. It’s relaxing and mindless. A person can use that sometimes.)
This morning, I went to church and then met my friend Renate for hiking. We were quiet and maybe both a little tired on the way up the hill. On the way back down, we were laughing and sweating, making jokes and making plans. We had a beer and a salad and I came home to nap, and just a little while ago, I spread my yoga mat in the plant room and lit some candles. There was a CD in the little machine in that room, all flutes and waterfalls and quiet tinkling bells, so I played that too. There was a nice view of the twilight as I breathed and bent and stretched. My old dog Sasha was lying nearby, groaning every so often, so when I finished, I crawled over to her, took off her collar and used the massage techiniques a dog massage therapist taught me. Sasha has lots of odd bumps and growths and tight hips and she dissolved in a puddle on the floor.
It filled me with love. Buttery and warm and so soft. Just her old whiskered face and the day of sunlight and my friend laughing as we walked. Tomorrow, I’ll take that love and the vigorous walking and the lunch and weave into the scenes I’m working with, about two sisters.
Hope your day was as peaceful.
2 thoughts on “Balance, babe”
I totally agree, that it’s all about balance. I just wish I was better at it.
I love reading posts like your ‘balance’ one, Barbara. Everything makes sense. I generally don’t write on the weekends, more as a result of trying to keep a strong personal discipline of writing weekdays only and keeping myself for family time in the weekends now the dh works only 1 in 8 instead of 5 in 6. But lately I’ve felt like I should, or like I ‘have’ to.
I’ve been pushing myself, writing-wise, as a deadline fast approaches for a book where the writing has felt like wading through cold, congealed porridge. Physically, I’ve been in a ton of pain through my neck, shoulders and upper arms. That’s about when I remembered the beauty therapy vouchers given to me for my birthday in February and thought, stuff the time it takes out of my writing day–I NEED a massage. Luckily the vouchers paid for one and a half massages (the therapist said it was like massaging a rock,) and now, in an attempt to be true to the writer in me, I have a series of weekly massages booked because I know now, if I don’t do this for me and for my body, I sure as eggs won’t meet that deadline or the three that come in rapid succession after it.
Yep, balance. Definitely.