So those of you who started to follow along may have noticed I piddled out on my Lenten reposts after just six days. I’m not really sure now why I decided to dig up six weeks of old. Maybe because I’ve been so quiet and I wanted to let you know I was still here. And maybe because I wanted to write something but just didn’t have new words. But it’s more than that. The last year plus and all the changes have really been stretching me.
The last skin shedding began, I think, just prior to the Christmas before last, when all the new cabinets were delivered and stacked in the kitchen. They made good buffet serving surfaces for a time until installation began after the holidays. That led to all kinds of new things–a counter, a backsplash, a full-house painting, a bathroom remodel, new floors. All those projects we’d put off for over a quarter century. But then we didn’t have time to settle in and enjoy them. Because in the spring, on Good Friday, my son and his family left for a new life in North Florida.
Then my husband answered a knock on the door that had happened a few months earlier, but he hadn’t answered. Now he opened the door slowly and peeked around the edge. And whoosh! The wind blew it open and sucked him right out and down to Florida, leaving me to finish with the construction people and prepare the house to sell. I worked that plan alone for five months until he came back home in time to greet the moving truck. We watched the crew stack our possessions inside, shut them up, and pull away from the curb heading for some storage facility in South Florida. We walked through empty rooms in the 150-year-old family farmhouse filled with memories. Then we closed the door for the last time on that part of our life.
There were more new doors to open–to a condo, then to a cottage (both just a couple blocks from the ocean), then a new home on a lake–or maybe it’s technically a pond. The jury is still out on that one. New adventures. New dares. A couple of poetry workshops. New teas to try. A totally different empty-nested life. I wrote about this change every day for 31 days. But how would I make this season count and keep from wasting it? Was there time to become something more? Do something more?
It turns out I knew someone who could help me become and be (her tagline says so), someone who had mentored me informally for years. So in January, a month after we moved into our new digs, I dared to knock on another door, and life coach L.L. Barkat opened it. Could she, would she help me find a plan to make the most of these days? She asked me a bunch of questions–and I mean a bunch of questions because that’s what she does. In fact, she says this: “I have learned that you know what you need. If only someone asks you the right questions.” And then she dared to say yes to the challenge of me. I chose to start March 1, the month of waiting and new beginnings, and she sent me some pre-coaching assignments before we officially went to work.
Best move I’ve made in years. And here’s part of what’s come of it. I’ve been a deep see diver and stillness seeker for years. But you know what? For those of you who need that (I know I still do), there are other voices out there who are sharing deep things on these topics whom we can learn from. L.L. believes my best writing right now is feature journalism. Seriously? But since she’s also been an editor and publisher for years, I’m listening up. I want to be better at what I’m best at, so for now I’ll be focusing on reading some of the best examples of that kind of writing, practicing that kind of writing, and continuing to commit poetry–filling my head and heart with good words. That’s also going to mean a change in the look and feel of this blog over the next couple of months (L.W. has penciled me into her calendar for later this spring) and what you can expect when you visit once or twice a week.
Like these columns:
Read-to-Write: I’ll report on some of the reading I’ve been doing with examples.
Best-of-the-Month Creative Copycat: I’ll simply share some of the best examples of my daily copy work. Yes, copy work.
Commit Poetry: You know I accepted that dare to memorize “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” That’s still in progress, but I’m not stopping with him when I’m done with him. I’ve got a whole list of poems to memorize. Look for my YouTube poetry recitations that I’ll also post here.
Dared: A short description of some new adventure like wrestling a rattlesnake (almost did that–not on purpose) or kayaking in alligator-infested waters (on the to-do list.)
Technically Speaking: I’ll share some new writing craft technique I tried that month paired with something I wrote.
I want to challenge you, dare you even, to go on this journey with me, to open some new doors, explore new ways to play and learn. My new tagline will be “daring to open doors.” Are you with me?
Oh, by the way. I signed a book contract. More on that later.