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.
Congratulations! Well done!
What a wonderful journey, and a lovely summing up! Good for you, Cindy. Carry on!
YAH! Congratulations. I’m so proud of you.
Fantastic! I bet it will seem strange tomorrow … like there’s something you’re forgetting to do.
Congratulations on your great accomplishment – especially sticking with it when it was tough. Enjoy the freedom of being able to move forward.
Huge congratulations! And what a beautiful final post. I am with you on getting rid of excess (the things that obscure vision, yes), and I envy you the freedom to let go of the inward now for a little while–though I know that introspection also fuels you. But to not HAVE to write a damn blog post. Oh, you lucky thing you! Well done!!!
Congratulations, Cyn, this is so wonderful. I never doubted you’d get here, but I know you did. Doesn’t it feel amazing to say you’re going to do something crazy and hard… and then actually DO it?? I love your final word, that the purpose wasn’t to get to the end, but to make the end a grand beginning. So, so happy for you. Now take your earned repose. If you’re like me, it’ll surprise you how easy it is to let go of this practice. It doesn’t own you, it was a gift and now that gift has been received. Both by you and everyone who got to benefit from your micro memoirs. I’m so much looking forward to reading all of your posts together, in big groupings, as I started to read them months ago. You’ll have to do that soon, too–you’ll see (if you don’t already) how they speak to each other, loop around, enrich your themes. What a pretty manuscript you’ve made. Sending you so much joy from Maine.
I’m not going to lie – I’m going to miss your daily posts. (But I’m looking forward to what comes next – )
You made it! 365 thank you’s from me!
Well done you! Impressed at your stickability!!💐
I took a week to myself, and now I’m back to respond to all of your lovely comments. Jacqueline, Patricia, and Karen, thanks so much. Doug, it did seem weird–in fact I automatically came up with a true thing about myself : ) Ann, thanks–I hadn’t thought about the freedom to move forward, and I love that you mentioned that b/c I do feel it–hooray! Anne, thanks again for being here on so, so many days. I look forward to seeing what you’ve been up to. And thanks for mentioning this final post! Claire, thanks for checking in and sending joy from Maine–I got it! Susan, thanks for your support along the way–what a beautiful post you wrote on the tragedy in France. Dorothy, thank you for all 365 : ) HH, thank you for the flowers!!!
Congratulations, Cynthia! I look forward to seeing what comes next, as well, and hearing how the novel progresses!
Thanks, Kate. I appreciate it. As I’m discovering, the first thing is turning out to be catching up a bit on other things I’ve let slide : )
Congratulations on making it to 365! I learned more about you too and appreciated your personal honesty. I’m sure this exercise will help your writing. Best of luck with your work in progress! I also love the symbolism of your photo – chipping away the exterior layers to find a strong foundation.
Thanks so much, Sarah, especially for mentioning the photo–which I love, the scraping away of the layers to discover what’s underneath…
I’m so happy to have found your blog, through Sarah’s (whom I’ve never met – my friend from grad school Amie introduced me to Sarah’s blog). I’ve actually had trouble finding thoughtfully written, introspective blogs like this one. Congratulations on all you’ve accomplished.
Rachel, thank you! I was wondering if you and Sarah knew each other. Loved visiting Last American Childhood. Nice to know you.
Cynthia—I’m a little behind here, but now that I’ve arrived, let me just say, WOW and my favorite…tides.
Thanks, Jodi! And I love knowing your favorite : )
Cynthia, though I unfortunately missed a lot of your journey at a certain point (I was pretty regular in the beginning), I got to enjoy and experience what you were doing along with you in this way. I’m really happy for you that you achieved something you needed to achieve and have come out the other end in a better place. What an accomplishment! To me, it’s HUGE! I know I would never take this leap, committing to something like this for a year (I won’t even do it for shorter things). I’m so proud of you! Congratulations!!! oxox
Yes, Donna, you were very regular at the beginning! Thanks so much for your support and for coming back to see how it all turned out. Hope you are well!