I saw this bumper sticker the other day as I drove to Olympia to sit at my mother’s bedside. It royally pissed me off.
My brain (which is like a hamster on a wheel these days…and nights) went to other things…like writing…as well as the big-life things like one’s mother being so ill.
It kind of sounds fun, writing a novel. Getting fit–or getting really healthy on a great diet–any of that can sound fun, at first. Then you realize that it’s work. If your intent is to have fun all the time, then I predict that you will be eating a lot of ice cream (weighing 280 pounds), entertaining yourself constantly with your iphone or tv or whatever, and NOT finishing a novel, or a short story, or a poem.
Sitting with my mom is not fun, and it made me think of when my 14 year old had her meltdown earlier this year. There is really no where else I would rather be, even in hard times, than with these very important people in my life. I want to be the kind of person who is there for the hard stuff, the kind of person who doesn’t flinch from the hard stuff. My friend Louise, who is an Early Childhood educator, once described it to me as being on a bus ride. You can’t get off that bus, not easily (some people do get off). As she used to say to her teenaged sons, “I’ve enjoyed growing up with you.” (She says it to me, too!)
So, how is this also about writing? There is something for you — in the work, whatever the work is today — that you must learn, something you can only learn by being present with it. I wish you the strength to be present today with your most important work, even when it isn’t fun. I promise you moments of astonishing beauty, moments that you will only reach by being there.