At times, making it to the end of this practice seemed impossible. At the beginning, I would stare at my screen for hours, getting more and more anxious. In those early days I had to write the post first thing in the morning so that time was not an added pressure. Then there was the period when I could only write the post at night with the pressure of time. After I passed the midway point, often it wasn’t just the post but “the damn post.”
A few days ago, when I read through the list of each true thing, I kept thinking of a Mary Oliver line. I found it this afternoon in her book, Our World.
Isn’t it wonderful the way the world holds both the deeply serious, and the unexpectedly mirthful?
That’s what I had wanted to uncover–not just the serious but also the quirky. I wanted to know the whole of me at this moment in time.
At the end of 365 days, I’m now out of whatever hole I’d gotten myself into. I’ve recovered myself–who I was and who I am. I know what I think. I can talk about me–the good, the strange, and the uncomfortable. I’ve put the puzzle together and I feel great–both about my life and my writing. To paraphrase Stevie Wonder in Twenty Feet from Stardom, I got to step out there and do my thing.
And now I have a new voice, which I recognize as my own.
Many of you have asked what’s next. This year I want to make my novel a priority. And I want to get rid of the excess, the things I don’t need, the things that obscure vision and movement and joy.
I’ll be back later in the month to introduce the next writer in the How We Spend Our Days series. Until then, from Provincetown where I began this journey, I leave you with this quote that I can’t remember where I found, maybe from one of your blogs. It comes from the book Pollen and Fragments by Novalis, the pen name of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg, born in 1772.
The first step is introspection–exclusive contemplation of the self. But whoever stops there goes only halfway. The second step must be genuine observation outward–spontaneous, sober observation of the external world.