"God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand… and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: 'What can this be?' And it was generally answered thus: 'It is all that was made.' It was so small I thought it might disappear, but I was answered... everything has being through the love of God." --Julian of Norwich

Friday, March 8, 2013

Lent III: Friday (as many senses as I can muster)

I got up and out of the house early this morning because it was finally--finally--Friday. Writing day.  Not to diss any of the other wonderful things in my life, but writing day is the best day of the week.

I got to the cafe, but they didn't have my favorite almond croissants today.  Pretty sure I could live on almond croissants, but not today.  That's a'ight.  I ordered a decaf coffee and a big glass bottle of water instead.

I opened my computer and set it before me on the table, read a couple of NY Times articles, caught myself reading a few more than I should have.  I opened my book proposal and spent a few minutes tweaking it, watching the battery on my computer tick down because I forgot to charge it, hoping against hope that it wouldn't run out before I was done, when all of the sudden I felt heavy like a stone about a million years old.  I felt like I hadn't slept a wink all night (even though I had) and I felt like my limbs were all sandbags that took more effort to lift than it was worth.  I felt like I was never ever going to be an actual writer, I was just going to be a person with 70 something random unconnected scraps of nostalgia on my computer and no time or brain power to make them into anything meaningful.

The feeling persisted.  The computer slowly died in an hour or so and I drug my sandbag self home, squinting in the late winter sunlight, passing the snowdrops and purple irises that did nothing to lift my spirits. 

I made it home in time to nurse Lu before her nap.  And during her nap I tried again to write.  Attempting to update my writer bio made me even more depressed and confused.  I felt as though I didn't have a single one of the writerly things you're supposed to have... publications, spiffy teaching/speaking stats, fancy blog platform.   I tweaked and tweaked and reverted to mostly what I already had, then sat on the couch in a hyperlink-following funk.

Do you have those funks?  The ones where you just feel too bummed to get up off the couch and do something healthy and necessary to help yourself feel better?  So you just keep clicking to make time move?  I don't miss Facebook these days, but neither do I need Facebook to make this happen.

When she woke up, I strapped Lucy to my back and we went for a walk in the sunshine.  We have entered the days now when it feels like an eternity between the time I begin saying "Let's go outside, Lucy!" and the time we actually have her socks, shoes, and coat on plus everything else collected.  There is some crying, some running, some baby voice "no, no, no"ing.  But then we made it out the door.  We made it to the library.  We made it to the park.  We made it home again.

We made pizza.  Lucy LOOOVES making dough (just like in her current favorite book, that most banned book in America, In the Night Kitchen).  Watching the bubbles rise as the yeast proofs.  Putting her tiny nose over the edge of the KitchenAid bowl to sniff the alcohols.  When we make spelt dough I let her eat it as we roll it out on the table.  Tonight it was wheat dough, so Lu couldn't eat any, but she had plenty of cheese and tortilla chips instead.

She was ready for bed, cuddling onto the not-so-cuddly laminate floor, before the pizzas were even out of the oven.  So Clint and I changed and chased and brushed and read and nursed and rocked and said night-night.

I plunked down on the couch and gave myself the night off.  Netflix or book?  Book.  The Fault in our Stars, actually, which I was halfway through.  I sniffled, snuffled, laughed, and out and out cried my way through to the end.

And I felt better.  Funny that a book about kids dying of cancer made me feel better, but it did.  Because I put on my gratefulness glasses (yes, we actually had a pair made out of pipe cleaners when I was growing up and my mom, brave soul, did actually have us put them on from time to time; tonight's pair was metaphorical).  It was a heavy day.  It was a writer's block day, a writing around what I want to say, a writing the hard things kind of day.

But there was also blue cheese sprinkled on my half of the pizza, which made me glad.  There were Lucy-smiles and words and giggles and runs.  The sun shone bright and warm.  And there are good books to save my imagination from the doldrums, to cleanse it after a morbid day.

Anne's right today: gratefulness for the little things reminds us that the holy experience is right here in the midst of the funk.  Just what I needed to hear.

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