Work-life balance

On not writing about illness

On not writing about illness

I don’t want to write about this, she said.

For the woman who spoke these too familiar words to me, this was illness. Insidious, consuming, chronic. I nodded because it was also my story, just with different symptoms. We spoke in the shorthand we had each become practiced at employing around our narratives, framing conditions that did not, in spite of our best efforts, abate. I don’t know how to write about this, I thought. And I wondered if that was what, deep down, she had meant.

On asking for what we need

On asking for what we need

At exactly 4 p.m., a text from our school district arrives, announcing the fourth snow day in a week, fifth if you count the day they sent the kids home early on account of an anticipated winter storm.

I am already resigned to the fact that O. will be home tomorrow, given the district’s track record — large flakes have been falling heavily all afternoon with no sign of a break. But the text reminds me just how far from normal this weather is for the Pacific Northwest — and how much of a transplant to this region I still am.

What the body reveals about our creative process

What the body reveals about our creative process

Before I began to treat writing as a practice, I didn’t pay attention to the way my writing process felt in my body.

At best, I noticed a dull pressure in the center of my forehead whenever I would start picking at word choice or sentence structure before the work would benefit from such editing. I would lose myself in an online thesaurus, repeatedly delete and replace a comma or dash, reread and rework a single sentence because something just wasn’t flowing — and I’d never make it beyond the page (or paragraph) I was mired in. After an hour, the pressure would be a full-blown headache and I’d have to step away, disoriented to my original generative impulse and unsure how to return to that state of spontaneous creation.