Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Signs of Spring

The coldest days of winter seem to come just before spring. I felt it this morning as I walked, layered in warm clothes to fight off the biting wind. Still, the bitter chill stung my nose and forced me to quicken my steps and speed up my thinking. I wanted to come home and write and I looked for new inspiration. I had a few fleeting thoughts, but the cold snatched them away before I could file them in my memory.

Fleeting thoughts are just that sometimes. They come to us and we think “Wow!” capturing what we feel to be a brilliant idea and then we return to our driveway and discover we left our best ideas somewhere on the other side of the street. So we backtrack and try to hunt them down. I have resorted to a pen and paper stuck in my pocket – or even geekier, am learning how to record a few buzzwords on my Blackberry. Bodey, my Black Lab looks at me like, “Have you lost your mind? Could we just walk and enjoy this morning?”.

It would not be true to say I have not written since my last posting. In January, I committed to finish my book. I thought I had an organized story, using much of my journaling through the time of Megan’s illness and death. But, as I would reread and reread, I knew the story had to be told differently. So I did what I read about good writers doing - I started over, changed the arrangement of the book in many ways, but not the story, and have now - knock on wood - completed it and handed it over to an editor.

The day I finished the final chapter and delivered the book was like taking Blair, my youngest child, to her first day of school. Those special years as a mom were now over and life would take on a different look. This book was sort of like my child in many ways. I had fed it, nurtured it, corrected it, and tended to its needs. I could be with it all day, return to a chapter at any time, and remember and relive those special and mysterious days. I could cry freely as I rewrote a paragraph or laugh over a sweet memory. And as I handed the book over, for a moment I felt that I was letting go of Megan all over again. My editor seemed to understand and gently took it from my hands.

And now without the book to “care for” each day, my hands are empty, but there is still so much to say. I wonder if God will continue to allow me to use his voice through my writing. I know good writers must find their own voice. How like God to freely give us what we cannot find on our own. He has taught me so much and I feel that maybe he will trust me with my own voice in time.

In her book on writing, Bird by Bird, Ann Lamott said “You are going to have to give and give and give and give, or there’s no reason for you to be writing. You have to give from the deepest part of yourself, and you are going to have to go on giving, and the giving is going to have to be its own reward. There is no cosmic importance to your getting something published, but there is in learning to be a giver”.

And so I am back at my desk, working to find my voice, learning to be a giver, and trying to remember what it was I wanted to say. My Blackberry reminds me:
the coldest days are just before spring,
night before day,
death before life,
the darkest night is just before dawn
weeping lasts for the night, but joy comes in the morning

The book is finished, but the story is not over. Spring is coming.