Here is the first joy from my week. Her name is Farley, and she is my daughter’s new puppy. Look at that face!
My second joy is this colourful arrangement of heart cookies I made for Valentine’s Day. Yum!
The third joy was a sunset cross-country ski outing – with horses!
And now the book, which is also a joy. The Poetry Circle of the Canadian Authors Association branch in the National Capital Region published an anthology. Five of my poems are included in the book. You could buy it if you wish. (It would bring you joy.)
I work part-time at a library. Almost every day this happens:
A child about 7 or 8 years old enters with a parent.
"Mommy (or Daddy), do they have books about____________ (dinosaurs... Lego... unicorns...)?"
"You'll have to ask," the parent says.
The child slinks behind the parent's leg, unwilling to face the scary prospect of talking to an adult. "You ask."
Last week a similar scenario unfolded beside me. A young boy asked his father about a book and his father told him to ask me.
I posted this on a previous blog. It’s come to my mind again in recent weeks.
Sometimes I wonder . . . Did someone ever say to Mozart, “Ya know what, Wolfgang? I think that should be two quarter notes instead of one half note.”
Have you ever been lost for words in an emotional moment only to think later, “I should have said this . . .”?
Or perhaps you said the absolutely worst thing possible only to think later, “If only I hadn’t said that!”?
Or maybe you have thought, “If I could do that over again, I’d do it differently.”?
We don’t get to edit our lives before publication.Everything we do is first draft.
Anne Lamott encourages writers to “Write shitty first drafts.” She knows that getting something—anything—down on the page is key. Writers can’t believe that words are supposed to sprinkle gracefully onto the page in perfect pearly rows. We’d never get anything done, we’d be so frozen with apprehension.
A mediocre mess of an idea out there is better than a perfect pearly idea hidden.
Every day we meet people and choose words to speak to them. Sometimes we choose appropriate, helpful words. But sometimes we choose hurtful ones.
Every day we choose clothes and do our hair. Sometimes our wardrobe and hair could be on the cover of Vogue. But sometimes we manage only sweatpants and a washed face.
Occasionally life kneecaps us with unexpected blows. Sometimes we rise above it with wise, rational choices. But sometimes we solve problems with beer and a whiskey chaser.
We can’t edit our lives before publication, and that means our words and actions won’t sprinkle gracefully in perfect pearly rows. We have to live our delightfully shitty first draft and forgive ourselves for it.
Because one mediocre mess of a life out there is better than a perfect pearly one hidden.
Once upon a time a three-year-old boy sat in a church. At the front of the cavernous space, far away from him, an adult voice yammered on. The boy squirmed. Squiggled. Stretched out on the floor.
To entertain him, a woman handed him an activity sheet. It had a maze printed on it, full of dead ends and clever diversions.
Happy to have any distraction, the boy sat up and began to trace the path with a finger. He made his way through the maze with delightful disregard for the lines. After blowing through any twists and turns that might have blocked his progress, his finger reached the end.
He raised his arms in victory. “I did it!”
“Yes, you did,” the woman affirmed.
Why tell him that crossing lines isn’t always that easy?
Why burden him with the idea that some lines are best left uncrossed, and sometimes it’s hard to figure out which ones.
Better to send him out into the world excited about obliterating barriers blocking his path. Better to equip him to cross the many lines that need to be crossed.