“Lean forward into your life. Begin each day
as if it were on purpose.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
I am starting a new trend for myself this very moment. From now on, I intend to begin each day as if it were on purpose. With INTENTION!
And that intention is to write . . .
I’m sitting in a hotel room in West Virginia waiting for my dinner to arrive via room service and I’ve been driving most of the day so I’m too tired to work on poetry right now, but I thought it might be time to return to Write Side Up.
When I got home from WOTM 2014 last June, I immediately started work for a new job and, as a result, I have only written 2-3 blogs posts in the past year. But the past four weeks in particular have been rather illuminating for me in a variety of ways, all of which keep echoing the same thing – I NEED TO BE AT THE PAGE!
- When I spend even a brief amount of time at the page, I write – write – write!
- When I’m writing, I’m breathing. It’s that simple. Words are a different sort of air and I feel healthier and more energized and more alive when I’m writing.
- Look, I smile . . . all the time. Not for effect, but because that is what comes out of me. But there’s something different about a smile that comes from the heart and one that comes from the depths of your soul. I’m a genuinely happy guy. And I have been told my joy is contagious. In part, I believe, because it is genuine. But the way I feel inside when I’m honoring my soul and writing, that takes my typical happiness to a whole other level. Right now, as I sit here typing, I feel so incredible thanks to the past 10 days in New Harmony.
Let me explain.
From Friday afternoon on June 19th (after the conclusion of West of the Moon Retreat 2015) until I arrived in West Virginia this evening (it’s Wednesday, June 24th) I started 28 new poems. That’s right – TWENTY-EIGHT!!!
That’s more poems than I have started over the past 12 months.
On one hand, I could lament the fact that for awhile I let my writing get away from me except for revision work. But I accept that I was starting a new gig, one that is in many ways very important to my future. So, I don’t regret not writing as often as I had intended, in part because, over the past few weeks, I have changed my perspective significantly.
Last Friday we concluded WOTM 2015 and it was, in my opinion, our best retreat yet.
We certainly missed a few special folks who couldn’t be with us this year for various reasons (writers who are an indelible part of WOTM and who will hopefully make it back for WOTM 2016). But the people who came this year were absolutely wonderful.
Two weeks before I headed off to the retreat, I had an epiphany which was really quite simple – start treating yourself the way you would treat someone else.
I have no problem making time for other people. I have no problem putting other people’s interests ahead of my own. I decided it was time to start treating myself the same way, putting my interests first.
I am rededicating myself to my writing.
The timing was perfect, because after spending a week in a special place like New Harmony with so many talented and inspiring souls, I find myself reinvigorated – not just for the act of writing, but for being an active member of the community of writers. And that requires consistent writing.
Although New Harmony has been a special place for me the past few years, I was reminded while there that being at the page is the truly special place. It’s where I most feel like me, not because I’m not myself with family and friends, but because I express myself more fully and more intimately and in ways I’m not sure I could articulate any other way.
“Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Play with abandon.
Choose with no regret.
Appreciate your friends.
Continue to learn.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.”
– Mary Anne Radmacher
I’m not naive. I know my job is about to get very demanding (the next few months are the busiest time of year for me). Guess what, my need to be at the page is equally demanding.
I need to live with intention. To listen hard to my deep-down self. To do what I love and live as if this is all there is!
I’ll leave this blog post somewhat brief by comparison to my typical ramblings.
I’m excited to be back at the page. As a matter of fact, I’m going to post this and get back to transcribing those new poems from long hand (how fun writing in a journal was the past week) onto my computer.
I’m thinking about my stories again. And it feels good. I’m not just engaging with the characters, I’m losing myself and becoming them for stretches at a time . . . discovering them and understanding them . . . and in doing so discovering and understanding myself.
I need this. And knowing that is a wonderful thing.
Here’s to being at the page. To setting off on a quest, finding the treasure, and heading home again . . . changed . . .
Whenever I start to doubt that this is what I’m truly meant to do, I’m going to read a comment that the current Poet Laureate made about one of my poems (talk about serendipity) because if someone with his expertise can find something worthwhile in one of my poems, then I know I have a lot more inside me just waiting to find its way to the page:
Of Lafayette’s poem “I Didn’t Know Which Were The Thoughts and Which Were The Trees,” Juan Felipe Herrera wrote: “In this narrative poem each flowing line is threaded with energy, story and penumbra – we are being pulled and illuminated by the unknown even though we notice the thing happen every morning or evening when we shiver. The piece is compact and yet loosened. It is dark-soft and diamond-rock flare. Dialogical and conversational, we sit and burn in the ash of culture, community, race-chaos, destruction, death-language and voice-resurrection. A tour-de-force.”
Thank you to the writers who attended WOTM 2015 and to Terry Price. Thank you to my family and friends for your unflappable and unconditional support and encouragement. And thank you to my future self for each day I honor my intention and am at the page.
When asked the question what am I writing for the answer is simple: because I must! It’s who I am. It’s who I want to be. I write to breathe . . . to give myself form . . . and voice . . . and to be . . . to just be.