The Stories We Tell

20150421_193254I have so many things I want to write about, including spring cleaning. I am stubbornly waiting until the weather actually turns spring-like so that I can open the windows and actually call it spring cleaning. Today we are due to get some hail, (yes, hail!)so I continue to walk across my sticky kitchen floor and watch the dust balls grow.

I also want to write about the time I wrote an article on assignment for a magazine. It was about a vision quest in suburbia. Talk about an oxymoron. I remembered the assignment while driving home from writing group last week, after discussing freelance writing. Oh, and there was that, I thought. I’d forgotten about it. And now I want to write about it because it was so bizarre that I have to dust it off and churn the experience into a new story.

And I want to write about writer’s block and how Julia Cameron, author of the Artist’s Way, rescues many writers from this misery. She reminds us, when words become as elusive as water in the dessert, to not call it laziness. Call it fear.

Thank you, Julia Cameron, for reminding us of this when we are blocked. We are not losers! she is telling us.  We are cowards. Believe it or not, this really does help.

I want to write about these things and more, and I will, but I am currently preoccupied with the Moth open mic story telling. I first wrote about my Moth Story Slam adventure in an earlier post here:  https://musingsimplicity.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/the-moth-story-slam-live-storytelling/

Happily, I sold my winning Moth story to an online magazine and am now working on lengthening it a bit, at the editor’s request. They will own exclusive rights for six months, and after that  I can do what I want with it-submit to other publications, blog, etc.

I am still waiting on the date for the Moth Grand Slam where I will compete with ten other story tellers. I think it will be over the summer and I can hardly wait!

In the meantime, I plan to perform again this week at another story slam just for practice, so I am preparing for that, right down to picking out my mothfit

A mothfit is what I now call the outfit I wear to these things.  A small detail, I know, but I reason that it requires at least a little thought.  It should be authentic, and not pretentious. Comfortable, but not frumpy.  Chic, but not shabby.

So after this week, with the story revisions and the Moth Story Slam behind me , I will be free to focus on other writing again.

And it would be great if this coincided with spring making her grand entrance.  Because for me, bogged down by winter’s layers- of clothing, cold, and grime- are dichotomous with writing freely and moving forward, lightly.

Here in New England, we are going to appreciate spring like a blocked writer appreciates fresh words.

When that time comes, I will throw open my windows. I will wipe away any dirt and excess, and clear the way for the sunshine and the muse to come through, light and warming. Because this simplifying thing, it really does work.

Live Like You Were Moving

 

We’ve all heard the song “Live Like You Were Dying”, which is good advice, really. But what if we also lived like we were moving? I don’t mean in the way that you don’t settle in to a place or get attached to your home or your area (though that works for some people too). I just mean live like you were going to have to pack up everything you own tomorrow.

Would you bring it all? Really? Even the nearly empty bottle of nail polish, and the wide brimmed hat that you never wear.? The chipped pie plate in the back of the cabinet, the television in the attic, the fourth pair of flip-flops? Who loves all that stuff?

I may have been thinking of this because of all the houses selling. People are packing up and moving and moving is hard work; harder still if you move stuff you should have left behind. I think it can be refreshing though, when everything that is moved is chosen consciously. Do I want to keep this? Do I even like this? Would I miss it? Rather than packing up everything and having to deal with it all later- to live with it all later- the wanted and the unwanted- why not sort through it before you move? Even if you have no plans whatsoever to move, it is freeing to live like you are moving.

When a house is going up for sale, a realtor will usually tell the owners to clean it up, put some things in storage, keep the furniture to a minimum. It makes the space look bigger, more open and inviting, less cluttered. And if this is so, why wouldn’t we want to live this way even when we aren’t selling our home?

It’s been a particularly busy weekend –a birthday celebration for my father, an Easter dinner, watching the Boston Marathon (my sister ran!), guests, driving my daughter back to school. It was a joyous weekend, but it’s time to get back to writing, and it happens to be trash day. Out with the old and unused. After gathering the trash and recyclables, I had room left in each barrel and seized the opportunity to do a little extra purging. New week, fresh writing, and spring is eeking through in fits and starts. No room in my life for old hair products, a ripped sheet set or Tupperware without covers. Would I bring this stuff with me if I were moving? Not a chance. Out to the curb, out of my life, gone from my line of vision, my mind, my cabinets. It is a season of renewal and new beginnings. We don’t have to be moving to start fresh. Sometimes the newness, even if it’s a mystery, reveals itself after we’ve purged.

Ahh the sweetness of a new day, a fresh week, an empty table top. I look around me and everything I have is everything I need. It is raining hard outside, a puddle forming at the root of the tree I see from my window. Firmly planted, even in its bareness it looks so alive, so strong, so rooted in time and place. There’s only a wall and some space between me and the tree, inside and outside.   I look between the two and think of packing up what is in here to bring it out there. What would I take? Everything that is in here? Pretty close, I think. I have no plans to move, but if I did, I think I’d be ready.