This is March 2016, as if you didn’t know, and I’ve already taken notice of how long it’s been since I posted. Go ahead, you can look. Yes, my head is down in shame, my fingers hesitate over the keys and I type and retype every word like I lost my mojo.
I can’t start this with all the gusto and energy that I did in my last post, last year, last time I stole a moment to write anything longer than absence note, a honey-do or grocery list. Oh, I’m great at making lists. Lists of things I want to do. Lists of things I need to do. Lists of things I’ve done. Lists of things I want to buy. Lists of bills I owe. Lists of things I’ll do when I don’t owe anybody anything. Clearly, the lists will never end.
What I need to write is the answer to why I haven’t blogged in months. What have I been doing all this time? Did I make good on that weight loss goal? Did I finish the countless number of manuscripts I started? Do we ever finish the manuscript? I haven’t followed through on either of those goals. But, I also have not given up trying. I’ve yo-yoed the same 10-15 pounds since this time last March. My stomach has gotten a centimeter smaller, my legs have gotten stronger, but after losing 17 pounds last year, I’ve gained 6 so far this year. I’m bummed about that, but no one to blame but myself. Take that back. I blame those little scout girls bum-rushing me at Walmart. Don’t they know I’m in Thin Mint and Samoa rehab?! And those dang shortbreads! Really, girls? You’re just a bunch of enablers! Yeah, I blame them.
I know: but what about the rest of it? Who gets pinned for my lack of creative dialogue? Oh, I blame that on my job. No longer sitting in the dusty, dangerous lumber mill, folks. Or did I tell you that already a year ago or so? Nope, I was emancipated in August 2014 and it has been nothing but a dream come true. I. Love. My. Job. It’s nice to be able to say that. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not doing what I love, but I love what I’m doing. That has been good enough these past 19 months. I talk every day about picking up that pen again or sitting down at this keyboard, but work and life continued to keep me from it. And I was only complaining inside. Outside, I was accepting it. I have the dream job that I’ve always wanted. A self-propelled situation with no one over my shoulder, work that is portable and even allows me to do it in slippers from the comfort of my sofa sometimes. It’s fun, creative, challenging and pays well. I work with a great intellectual team of educators, who are strewn over four states but harmonize like family. Besides, never having a comfortable temperature in my office (either freezing or frying is the norm), I have near zero complaints. It took some twenty odd years in corporate America to get here. And then I saw that green grass…
Today, something turned my head. And most people know I’m easily distracted because my brain is thinking of dozens of things at once and I can (and often do) switch subjects in a conversation, sometimes mid-sentence, and on multiple occasions and still come back and finish the original thought. At work, we call it the ‘Ooh, look! There goes a butterfly!’ moment. I have lots of those. Lots. LOTS!
See, like right now. I said today something turned my head and had me gazing away from my oh-so-wonderful-relatively-new-so-happy-to-be-here-job and making me once again long to put pen to paper. ‘Oh, my goodness,’ she said. ‘Just say what it is already! Well, I got a royalty check in the mail. Yes, I said that. Chew. Pause. Swallow. And mind you, it probably cost more to mail it than the value written on it – no lie – but it’s just the idea that ‘I’ got a royalty check! Isn’t that what we all dream of? Isn’t that what we’re all striving for? And when I say we, I mean, we creative sorts that sacrifice time, energy, money and pride to get our work out there and have someone appreciate it. A royalty check says someone bought your work. Someone thought what you had to say was worth paying for and reading, or at least putting on their coffee table as a decorator piece and bringing up in conversation during awkward moments of at their dinner parties. That spoke volumes to me today. I said to my kids, ‘Well, wouldn’t it be great if Mommy could stay home with her babies and just get a check in the mail?’ To actually get a check in the mail, for something I wrote over ten years ago and even tried to forget about (thank goodness for pseudonyms!) has just left me flabbergasted! I want another one. A lot of ‘nother ones!! Enough to pay off the debts and replace the tires on my car with the steel threads poking dangerously through; enough to get a new laptop; enough to redecorate my kids’ bedroom; enough to move into a home without shared walls and not have to shout at the kids to keep it quiet because they might be disturbing the neighbors.
Point is, tonight I’m writing. Despite what I have or have not done in the past year. As long as I’m living, I have opportunity. I may not be supermodel skinny (and frankly, don’t want to be), my plethora of manuscripts may all still be works-in-progress and my daughter is not sleeping on Barbie’s Dreamcastle bed tonight, but has that stopped me from keeping up the pursuit? Heck, no! The check’s in the mail is no longer a catch-phrase code for you’re never gonna get it. Today, the check’s in the mail became an achievable goal. And the possibility of that does give me both gusto and energy. That’s why I’m up tonight when Mr. Man is snoring next to me and the little princess is snoring in her old wooden dormitory style bed next door. I know it’s moving towards midnight, but I’ve got a post to get out and a manuscript to dust off.
Friends, all I want to say to you is keep writing, keep composing, keep coding, keep speaking words, keep putting action behind your dreams because you have no idea at all when it is going to pay off. Maybe on that day when you are sitting back thinking, with regret, of all your failed attempts at success, you’ll discover that right at the moment where you want to give up is just the right time and place to begin.