Friday, February 10, 2012

Moving Forward

I’ve been remiss in blogging in February. I’ve thought of a number of posts, but didn’t act on the impulse immediately for one reason or another. As time wore on I’ve focused more on the stories I haven’t written rather than the stories of today.

Today, as I anticipate an amazing and cold backpacking trip over the coming days, I look forward to posting a little trip report and pictures with it when I return.This means I must leave untold stories behind.

In looking forward, I release all that I haven’t written.

I do this in taking to heart what I recently read in my bathroom book Seven Steps on the Writer's Path. I need to let go, step five. In focusing on all the things I haven’t written, I’m blocking what it is that’s most interesting about today, this moment.

“But there’s no guarantee to this step [letting go]; there are no rules; there’s nothing to predict or to anticipate. There’s only the possibility that if you can experience the peace of fully letting go, you may receive the gift of what you need the most."-- Pickard and Lott from Seven Steps on the Writer's Path

In this case, releasing the stories I haven’t shared is also a way of forgiving myself for not blogging more.

So, here are the stories you won’t read here.

You won’t read how I found myself nostalgic for Charleston during my last visit. I found myself appreciating the hidden gardens behind gates and walls, clues about them dropped at my feet like camellia flowers. Then I remembered that visiting Charleston is so much more rewarding than living there.

The romantic notions of the architecture, horse drawn carriages, and history feel easier to appreciate when its not presented daily on the back of institutionalized racism, classism, old boy networks, and consumerist snobbery. The foundation of this city still exists, yes, but the fresh eyes I arrive with on my travel often clouds my vision – at least for the duration of my stay. 

I wonder what this church did to end up behind bars.

I also didn’t write about how incredibly difficult my race was on Folly Beach last weekend. I could have written a lengthy dissertation on the difficulties I faced. I could have mulled over my complications – dehydration, flat land, frequently revisiting the same terrain on the course, or two weeks without proper training due to a cold. I might have even publicly questioned why on earth I think I want to run a marathon, which was one of the precise things I asked myself as I ran. I also weighed the ethics of cutting through side streets to reach the finish line sooner to more quickly put an end to my pain.

I wanted to write about my first experience of going to the Story Slam at Magnetic Field. I felt inspired to write my own stories on their theme of 3 Little Words, Declarations of Love. I wanted to share what it felt like to be there, which stories appealed to me the most, and how inspired I felt afterward to let my stories take the stage during a future event.

Another story you won’t read:
I wandered into Downtown Books and News last Thursday, after happy hour with my ATC buddies and buying a beautiful handmade vintage dress at Vintage Moon (now temporarily closed). I have a theory about Downtown Books & News that sounds hokey to me even as I confess it, but I always find what I need when I go in there. I don’t go in with a mission to find something specific, generally, but I just know the right things will present themselves. 

During this visit I bought:
  • The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book (recommended to me ages ago by my last boss, and I’ve been looking for it ever since)  
  • Mary Oliver’s Rules for the Dance (as much for the title as for the tips on writing poetry),
  • the All New Square Foot Gardening book,
  • The Great Divide about walking the Continental Divide, and
  • Circling the Sacred Mountain: A Spiritual Adventure Through the Himalayas, 
This last one’s complete with notes and contemplations from the previous owner on stickies. I like to think that as I read it, it will be a bit like having a virtual book club conversation with the person who last held it. “Really, I found this part more interesting…”


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