The Shrinking Margin.

If only there existed a magic button for my life, one that I could press to give me that time and space my mind needs to feel rested again. Today I find myself feeling cramped and small and crazed, oppressed by my insecurity. Oppressed by my inability to juggle and format and finish the things I need to do. Do you ever feel that way? This is how I've felt intermittently for the last few weeks. 

Summer is my favorite season, because I feel an exuberance in the warmth of each day, an unquenchable need to celebrate life in all its green and flourishing glory. Each wedding, party, cook out, firework, each slice of watermelon and ice cold beverage wet with condensation is a joy to me. I don't want it to end.

I don't want to miss it.

And so I struggle in this paradox: in a season that I should celebrate and relax and enjoy the lengthened days, I find myself so overcommitted and busy that the days feel like they're flying by without me. My calendar and my mind are so full that I have no space to breathe and enjoy it. I find myself living in the margins of my life, which are shrinking by the second.

It's no wonder, then, that when I think about writing, I'm too worried about whatever else I should be doing to feel at peace with my creativity. For me, writing is a process of roaming through the recesses of thought and imagination, of exploration and rabbit holes and contemplative ideas. And I haven't made time or space for that recently. So when I sit down to write, and I turn inward to my thoughts and feelings, what I find is a mess - much like the explosion of laundry that has barricaded the path from bed to my closet. Not an inspiring landscape to live in.

Perhaps a three day weekend to celebrate independence is as close as I will get to that magic time and space button, so long as I don't try to cram it full of going and doing. I won't be checking my email. I won't be looking at the time. And I will try my hardest not to think about the coming work week or what I think someone else thinks I should be doing with my time. 
It is my time. It is my life. No one else can create it for me. 
Time to breathe. Time to think. Time to restore rest and writing for me. 

To celebrate, here are a few links from around the www that have inspired me this week: 

Why Todd Henry hopes to die empty.

Two recent sources of inspiration and motivation: Jeff Goins and Darrell Vesterfelt. A great quote from Jeff's talk with Darrell about the inherent narcissism that comes with being a writer:

"Because writing is an internal act, as is any form of art. And the journey of looking inwardly to bring something out can sometimes be hindered. We can look inside ourselves and never get out."

And after the concert I went to on Monday, I can't stop listening to The Swell Season again, particularly this song. [My apologies - there's not a video of a live performance for this.]

For all my single ladies out there, keep believing. We have entered the era of The Return of the Nice Guy. Swoon.

Speaking of nice guys, I married one. Yes, this is a shameless, mushy plug for my music man Matthew Jason. I'm abundantly thankful that I married an artist, someone who understands the roller coaster ride of creativity in all its awkward, crying, mascara-streaked glory. [Obviously, we're talking about me, here, not Matt. My husband does not wear mascara.] He lives to play his heart out, and he always inspires me to keep going. [Fan him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter. It would mean a lot to both of us.]

[Image found here.]


Katy said...

"...much like the explosion of laundry that has barricaded the path from bed to my closet. Not an inspiring landscape to live in."

--> Indeed you are speaking my language. :-) Best of luck to you in your weekend of rest and independence!

Kimanzi Constable said...

I don't know if this post made you feel a little better, but it blessed the rest of us. Well done, you truly are a talented writer who gives inspiration to us wannabe writers!

Melissa said...

Hope you get some time to enjoy the weekend. I totally support taking a time-out from email, work, clock-checking. These days our calendars are so booked up, but to allow our creativity to flourish, we need those days--or moments--to drink life in. Thanks for putting many of my feelings into words in your recent posts!

Carolynn Cecilia said...

The Todd Henry post reminds me of a George Bernard Shaw quote that I come back to whenever I start to feel so overwhelmed with life that it begins to effect my ability to sit down and knock out a short story or a chapter, "I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for it's own sake. Life is no brief candle for me, but a splendid torch which I've got to hold up for the moment..."

{The quote helps a little with my exhausting 31 Days of Deeds project as well}

Good luck with all the noise around you.

Emma said...

I literally just read two posts on your blog and fell in love with this little space of yours. I have such a love for the summer as well that it sometimes scares me. As you said, I don't want to miss a minute of it, and yet I then find myself overwhelmed by it all that I forget that important things about summer which is to just live and be.

I also love the summer concert series that you wrote about in your previous post. I saw the head and the heart a few weeks about at the pritzker. It was fabulous. There's something magical about Chicago in the summer, isn't there?

Unknown said...

It has taken a lifetime to learn to allow in space. space for breathing. i had to first understand and then embrace the fact that space feeds creativity.

hope you get some soon.

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