Friday, February 27, 2015

The Guts of Inspiration


For the past month, I've had a stack of magazines by my bed that I was too busy to read. I was busy writing, busy bleaching the whites, busy charring tortillas over an open flame. I was mediating sibling wars and cleaning cleaner off all the mirrors (long story). I was in meetings and in my van and wasting time on things that were more mindless than inspiring.

I was even busy exercising, but only a little.

Life felt like a long string of tasks, even the parts I was used to loving.

I watched some TV, because it was time spent with Cory, or the kids. I picked up a book and read now and then, but that's a worthy cause, and I like watching my Reads list grow.

But those magazines collected dust for two reasons; 1) In such a busy season, it never seemed like a "good enough" use of my time and 2) I liked knowing they were there waiting for me, an eventual reward for all my effort.

Earlier this week, after the left-overs were packed away and the kids were tucked into their beds, I grabbed them. Enough was enough. If I waited much longer, new issues would arrive, but more than that, the longer I ignored them the less I began to care about them at all.

Since middle school, magazines have been one of my happy places. Equal parts color/information/quiet, they speak straight to the heart of me.

So I got to work.

Four issues and thirty-some dog-ears later, I couldn't begin to tame the creative beast. I didn't want to.

In just two still hours, I tracked down the part of me that had gotten sidetracked by my schedule and agenda. I came back to life in those pages, reimagining the green entry table and considering the neglected downstairs bathroom.

I made plans to make lemony chicken and dill soup and serve it up with yellow cake with salted chocolate ganache.

I vowed to stop the world this weekend for a batch of homemade spaghetti and meatballs - I could already hear the oil hissing in the pan.

In no time flat, I was daydreaming about a family trip to the Lake Michigan Shipwreck Museum, plotting hellebores for the garden, and making a mental note to find The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain (Calvin) and Remember Me Like This (moi).

The funniest thing happened when I woke up the next morning - I couldn't wait to dig into my "real" work. Maybe the line between work and rest isn't as stark as I thought. Maybe sitting under an afghan and thumbing around for more projects actually counts as billable hours. It helped me remember who I am.

My art is "official" writing, but it's also cooking and learning and playing house with my home, to name a few. They feed one other.

In this life that I find so rad, an organized mud room happens to be the catalyst for an enjoyable 3,000-word-count day at the "office".

So, it's Friday. The perfect day to try something new.
What are you going to do about it?

My advice? Find that "other" part of you that's been hiding somewhere in the corner of your day jobs.

Dust it off.

What are you waiting for?


*amazon links