I awoke early this morning, gifting me the time to read before officially starting my day. Lately, I’ve been tossing around the concept of time. It could be that I have a significant birthday nudging at my back. But the drive to create something new has become a morbid kind of motivation. The call to finish my writing projects is strong, before it’s too late.
It may be that I spent the later part of my morning at a “Celebration of Life” for someone far too young to be gone. Either way, time is a funny thing. Although funny is not the right word. Maybe bewildering, perplexing, or disconcerting. These terms all work, and they all fall short. I’ve written poetry about the tricks of time, and as lenient or unforgiving as it may be, it’s never trustworthy.
Fear of finishing my projects is a real struggle for me. I supposed it’s because I waited so long to start writing seriously, and then sharing it much later than that. And so, time presses on…
Najwa Zebian has something to say about being content right where you are. In her piece, “Be Content” from the book, Mind Platter, she says, “At any point in time, we always want to either catch a future event to put it in the present or reach back into our past and change an event, hoping that change will change our present. We don’t realize that this moment we are living now was at one point the future that we wanted and will become the past we may regret not living or appreciating. Before we know it, it’s gone, and its too late to relive it. Why do we always want to change the order of events on our path? Why do we not want to wait for the reason part of everything happens for a reason? Why do we always want answers at the time we ask questions?”
She goes on in this piece, but I always get stuck at this part: “Why do we always want answers at the time we ask questions?” It makes me think of those chance happenings in our lives. Or the idea of God’s timing (if this concept connects with you better). Regardless of your personal views on life, the end result, aside from all our planning, is that we can’t control time. But we can, however, acknowledge it. Appreciate it. Live it while we’re here.
To live life while it’s here means I need to be content without needing all the answers. I can relate this to my writing by simply accepting the time I’m given to write, and then, doing just that. Writing. Maybe worrying about the completion of my projects are part of the answers I need not wonder about in the present? I’m not saying I shouldn’t plan or set goals. What I am figuring out for myself is that I needn’t let those future unknowns hinder my present focus. They cause me to rush and stumble in my work. And doing that, I believe, causes me to miss remarkable things in the here and now.
In addition, this morning before leaving for the memorial, I visited the blogpost of Tamara Miles, called Sylvia’s Daughter Says, http://tamaramiles.wixsite.com/sylviasdaughtersays/single-post/2016/02/12/Some-Starless-Night?fbclid=IwAR2qcLjMj0nhdI0P32t_pSmtXvsnyFjswJR6xZoJzuRiwvNyXDYC0H9zCKk. She wrote about her long-detailed To-Do list, and the need to stop sometimes and look around. To appreciate our falling stars, for example our dear friendships. This was her analogy, and it worked splendidly with the thoughts of time racing through my mind. She encouraged taking time to be with friends, old and new. How else can we fill our pockets with starlight… to the brim?
Tamara’s thoughts on considering each friend as something special has me thinking of time and busyness. And how fast friends in our lives can be gone. If I’m writing anything, in any of my projects that’s real, it has to do with relationships. People. Friends. I can’t finish any of my projects if I don’t live in the present of right now, today. Tamara concludes, “how important it is to treasure our old friends and never let them fade away from our presence or our gratitude.”
Two amazing reads; the piece from Najwa Zebian, and the blog post from Tamara Miles on the same morning I went to say goodbye to a young, creative, vivacious soul. At the same time the pressures of my unnamed birthday shadow over my shoulder. The pressures of work haunt me. My growing family is slowly moving on, as they should. But where does this all leave me when my heart suddenly wants to write, and the clock is ticking?
I suppose it could leave me fluttered and on edge (hence this blog post), although I’m hoping for a little rest time in the backyard. A kind of “starry-night-attitude” about the people in my life. I’m hoping to stop and breathe in the here and now, letting my cluster of questions and “what-if’s” dissipate into the atmosphere where they belong. Asking is my only task today. All I can do now is watch attentively to where my present takes me. Be observant of answers to the previous questions I’ve lifted into the universe. Be thankful for where I am and what I have, and maybe, just maybe, instead of worrying about my future, I stand ready with my pockets open… for starlight.
Writing Advice: Answers to Questions Past
What is a question you’ve asked in your past about your future? Find a quiet spot to sit and think for a while. Maybe you were heading so fast in your quest to accomplish things, you missed the answers provided. Maybe you feel your questions haven’t been answered yet. Perhaps you found the answers, but forgot to appreciate them in the moment, and time moved you ahead too fast?
Write about your discoveries for a while. Use this time as a warm-up to some actual writing you’ve planned to do. Let it put your perspective in place so you can write with gusto for today. Only today.
The highlight of this, as you’re working in your own novel or poetry piece, let it ground you in everything current and today. What are your characters experiencing right now as a result of possible questions they may have asked in the past? How is your poetry piece developing in the now, based on the concept from a past viewpoint? Have you thought about your characters earlier questions about life? I believe if you allow yourself to consider their present, as you consider yours, your work will come across even more clear and true.
I think if we take time to appreciate the answers the present can provide, we can mature in our quality of work.
Try it. I know I am (imperfectly but still trying).
~By Celaine Charles, January 27, 2019.
Image and Content Links:
http://tamaramiles.wixsite.com/sylviasdaughtersays/single-post/2016/02/12/Some-Starless-Night?fbclid=IwAR2qcLjMj0nhdI0P32t_pSmtXvsnyFjswJR6xZoJzuRiwvNyXDYC0H9zCKk (Tamara Miles Website, Sylvia’s Daughter Says)
https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Platter-Najwa-Zebian/dp/1523456809 (Mind Platter, by Najwa Zebian)
https://society6.com/product/youre-too-late_print (You’re too late, by Alex G. Griffiths)
http://www.artilim.com/artist/homer-winslow/waiting-for-dad/ (Waiting for Dad, by Winslow Homer)
Categories: Thoughts on writing...
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