Wednesday, October 12, 2011
The Art of Standing Still
Two months ago I was a fully signed up, tax paying, meeting going, decision making professional. I tumbled through each day and collapsed each night with a long list of accomplishments that were another step on the path to some mysterious destination. Then, three weeks ago, the little guy above entered our lives.
Our house looks like something vomited laundry through it, hours disappear in a cycle of feeding and burping, I haven't opened a manuscript in a month, and I, whose job description used to include professional trouble shooter and problem solver, flail helplessly in the face of a little man crying unconsolably like he's lost his best friend and nothing I do fixes it.
I, who used to find pleasure in the number of things that I knocked off my to do list each day and how much closer I was getting to whatever my next self imposed destination was, am having to learn the art of standing still, that most days the list of things that I didn't get done is going to be longer than what I did. That sometimes, the fact that both of us made it out of our pyjamas can be considered a victory.
As writers we are often the same. At the beginning we just want to be finished with the first manuscript. Then we just want the manuscript to be polished and ready for submission. Then we just want to have heard back from that agent/editor that we've queried. Then we're waiting for that first book to be published. Sometimes we get so focussed on the next step in the process that we forget to enjoy where we are now.
So today, the spare 45 minutes that I had that should have been spent doing laundry, or unloading the dishwasher, or vacuuming, or reacquainting myself with my long neglected characters, were spent watching the most gorgeous baby in the world sleep and marveling that I get to be part of such perfection.