Last August, while visiting my childhood home down in the Thumb of Michigan, I picked up a tattered copy of WILD MIND: Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg. I bought it at the library uptown (Barry laughs when we call it “uptown” in the tiny town of Yale, but you must walk up a hill to reach the downtown area, got it?) and paid either 25 or 50 cents for it. On second thought memory corrects: I chucked $1.00 in the donation box, not having the requisite coins.
My heart raced, my mind buzzed with wildness, while reading the first couple of chapters. Write, write, WRITE begged Natalie. Just pour your heart out on the blank white page! Let your unconscious wild mind reveal what NEEDS to be said, not what you think you should write. I deliciously wrote this heartfelt blog totally entertaining at least myself.
Some of you long-term readers love Natalie; a few of you not-so-much.
I haven’t thought of our writing diva since that sunny afternoon last August, but her book perched patiently on the bottom shelf on the brown stand beside my recliner. On this gray cloudy overcast muzzling morning as December moans and sputters and steadfastly wanes–the wandering fingers found WILD MIND and reached for its silent invitation to write. Write, oh write, ye ghosts of New Years past and future and everlasting now!
Of course–so many of you know how this goes–I have nothing to say. Perhaps you have nothing to say either. There’s no thousand word blog floating in the ethers of your brain. What I love about Natalie and other writing coaches is that they shake their heads and murmur: It doesn’t matter, Kathy. It doesn’t matter, John. It simply doesn’t matter, oh you who think you can’t write.
Just start WRITING!
So what is it that the mind wants to say?
It wants to say, hmmm, how odd it is to get so inspired by one writer, one teacher, one project. Then in the next moment the Universe waves a magic wand and POOF! –it’s another ball of wax. Things are always shifting, changing, turning into bright shiny newness, bearing fruit, rotting in your stinky garden compost.
We perhaps hope 2020 and 2021 will–WOOSH!–disappear into the ethers, and life will be merry, merry, merry once again–and perhaps it shall. But I suspect 2022 will dawn with your usual array of fake and sincere smiles, runny noses, Facebook judgment, innocent babies, sciatica, challenging phone calls, tummy aches and achingly beautiful sunsets.
Life unfolds like laundry fallen off the line. One minute it smells like soap and wind. The next minute look at the dirt smudges.
It’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that.
It’s like a kite on a string, flying higher and higher before sometimes crashing back to earth. And your little kite flyer cries and thinks the world is ending, but you show him how to patch it up. Here, son. Here, daughter. Fly it again and again and again!
They say, whoever “they” may be, that we’re incredibly lucky to be born on this bright and shining and terrible and horrible and wonderful planet. Souls line up begging to be born. Let me live! they implore. You probably begged too. I’m sure I did, although I sometimes wonder why.
We arrive all butt-naked and squalling and many of us want to back out–let’s get outta here!–back to where it’s one way happiness–but the WILD MIND says, “No, sweetheart, relax into it. ALL of it. Love has your back. Love has your back. Remember that. Love has your back.”
OK, I’ve typed 555 words and the Universe just revealed what it wanted to say. What the WILD MIND really wanted to articulate when you thought you had nothing to say. It wants to say this to each and every one of us, not just me.
Love has your back. Relax into 2022 and trust–no matter what happens–that Love holds you up through laughter and tears, spilt milk and sloppy jos.
Happiest of New Years, buckaroos! You do have something to say in your very own authentic voice. Just let the typing fingers have their way and finally the heart’s message will spill unto the page like a forgotten light from the bottom of a deep dark fairytale well. Or shining from a beady-eyed frog’s crystal ball.