thoughts from the AITC club

Well, here I am again: AITC.

I am surprised to report that, as these lush and languid days progress, daily writing has become more — rather than less — difficult.

Why is it so challenging to sit with the blank page? Why are we able to sit in our office chairs for hours on end and write on demand at the behest of a business, but when given the opportunity to sit and write for our true selves, we blank out and run for distraction?

I take these distractions now and run with them because I can; I am no longer punching a peripheral clock.

A long drive through farmland chasing a magnificent moon.

A brisk walk through town stopping only to observe tiny bits of nature at work.

These moments away from the desk become the fuel for the next thoughts.

Here is one moment: trying to capture the flagrantly full moon out my window while driving. (I know — not safe — and yet, there I went.) Eventually I handed my phone to my daughter, who was only about one-quarter helpful upon being abruptly interrupted from her ipod playlist.

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The result is an eerie reflection of my seeking self, and a tiny dot of a moon (or is that the camera flash?) caught between my arms. This feels like that strange, dreamlike in-between place of never quite arriving at a destination while watching yourself from outside yourself.

Here is another thought-moment: the juxtaposition of a fluttering butterfly alighting upon a large pile of dog dung.

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One creature’s waste as another’s nutrition; the cycle continues…

These tiny moments — at once ethereal and down-to-earth — become expanses of fields in which to wander and play and word search (being watchful of the dung-mines, mind you, aka the ‘mud-pudding’ of the insect world).

As I stop off for a large cheese-and-pepperoni pizza topped with parmesan (my daughter’s favorite — which I think her usual half-helpful, glass-half-full self deserves), I am grateful for and somewhat fortified by my dead-on horoscope from C-ville Weekly:

“Breakthrough will probably not arrive wrapped in sweetness and a warm glow, nor is it likely to be catalyzed  by a handsome prince or pretty princess. No, Sagittarius. When the breakthrough barges into your life, it may be a bit dingy and dank, and it may be triggered by questionable decisions or weird karma. So in other words, the breakthrough may have resemblances to a breakdown, at least in the beginning. This would actually be a good omen — a sign that your deliverance is nothing like you imagined it would be, and probably much more interesting.”

I am glad I am not in charge of imagining up my own life. I’ll stick to the daily AITC (ass in the chair) club and see where that takes me next. ~

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dog-eared days of summer

In this new field of time I am cultivating, I am rediscovering the library. Rather than dashing in and out to find one particular book needed for a work project, I am relishing in the forests of bookshelves, the familiar childhood smell of the worn pages, the crinkly spines peering out at me in various patterns and sizes.

Instead of finding a book, I am once again allowing a book to find me.

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I am reminded of the second-grade year I spent homeschooling my daughter, who is now entering eighth grade, during which time we walked to the library every day. We pored over books with images of insects, volcanoes, dragons, tornadoes, felines, and other furry creatures. We researched the beetles, caterpillars, and leaves we had just acquired along the walk there. We learned something new with every visit, and Olivia voraciously captured these treasures in her little light blue journal as she practiced her cursive. She also used these ideas as springboards for her own creativity.

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Why is it so easy to lose the palpable excitement of childhood curiosity and discovery?

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I walked out of the library with three books in hand, two by Paulo Coleho and one by Anne Lamott. Olivia had three of her own titles, chosen not from the former ‘baby’ section as she called it, but from the newly initiated young adult trove. We would have scooped up even more delights, but we had a hike of a few miles in the heat to get home.

Now, as I sit reading the deliciously bittersweet ‘By the River Piedra I Sat Down & Wept’ I find myself dog-earing a poignant page here and there, only to discover that someone — and in some cases, more than one — has already done so with that very page. I scan the page and wonder if he or she was moved by the very same paragraph, sentence, word.

I pull out a pencil and giddily albeit lightly underline here, circle there. How can I not mark this shining gate post with a star: “Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.”

I smile as I imagine a harrowed librarian huffing as she attempts to smooth out the creases and erase the signs that someone has been here before.

I don’t mind the signs. The dog-ears, coffee stains, watermarks, and pencilings are what make the library unique: a public park of free words in which we all play, fold, scribble, and sigh. They are what connect us across the wires while we go about our everyday lives, stuffing these same spines and pages into our purses, briefcases, backpacks, and tote bags.

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Just as Coelho’s Pilar urges her childhood friend and lover (who, interestingly, is never named but remains a sort of ‘everyman’ in this ‘every love story’) to free himself of the ‘Other’ by flagrantly breaking a glass in a restaurant, I urge you to dog-ear some pages that move you this summer as you carve out tiny excavations of indulgent ideas — even if it’s the last line in the book:

“Go and get your things; dreams mean work.” ~