Baggage

On releasing expectations

On releasing expectations

I’m trying to travel light next week for Vortext, a lovely writer’s salon hosted by Hedgebrook and the Whidbey Institute on an island just outside Seattle. I drew the Hanged Man this week as I started packing in earnest, an apt reminder to approach the task with — wait for it — non-attachment. I’m always afraid I’ll forget something I need!

On a deeper level, the card is an invitation to enter this writing retreat without placing too much pressure on that time, rare as such a getaway is for me. Not that there isn’t opportunity in the everyday to do some kind of writing — I’m passionate about supporting other writers in cultivating windows, large and small, for their practice — but three days devoted solely to that work is something to be relished.

On rewriting our legacies

On rewriting our legacies

A dream last month reminded me that the idea of legacy is at the heart of the story I started writing seven years ago — of my parents’ story and mine, and now that I have my daughter, of mine and hers. Until I find the truth that writing this story will allow me to tell, part of me fears that my legacy to her will be just as burdensome as the one I was given: the example of a marriage that begs so many questions without answers to any of the what-ifs and whys.

On listening to our creative blocks

On listening to our creative blocks

I have been thinking about a writing project that I’m afraid to start.

To anyone else, the project looks innocuous: a few CDs and a folder of handwritten notes tucked inside a paper box I picked up at IKEA. The box is white with a metal bracket on one side for a label, but I’ve left that blank. I know what’s in there. I don’t need any reminders.

I’ve quite literally shelved this, wedged the collection of artifacts into the bookcase where I keep my journals, until I can figure out what’s holding me back. Because the story in that box needs to come out. But every time I think about it, I find a distraction, an excuse not to open the lid. E-mails that need replies; bills that need sorting; you name it, I’ll clean it. I’d rather do anything than clean — except face what’s in that box.