That’s me with little sis, Carol, and the lovely Liz (Gilbert) last night in Malibu. (Uh, huh. Groupies.)
“Everything kind of falls away when I’m working, which is part of the reason I’ve found over the years that when it comes time to actually write a book, it’s really kind of better if I go away.” ~Liz Gilbert
I’m pooped. Tapped out. Fumbling to hear the voices in my head that are actually mine. It’s crowded in there… so, so, so many stories and accents and personalities sharing space.
Ah, the challenge of the ex-ghostwriter who still regularly helps writers–lots of amazing, gifted, beautiful writers–birth their book babies.
After 3 retreats in 4 weeks, I guess it makes sense that I’m outta gas. I gave it all in Carmel, thus the well has gone dry, and Mama needs to fill this sucker with her own art before August, when new, hopeful faces show up at my door.
I insist on doing right by those practical dreamers (who clutch their big visions close while taking those real-world steps to make them manifest), and will therefore breathe life into my own first. You know, oxygen mask.
So I’m pulling the plug (not on the oxygen, just on my schedule) to write. For me. No one but me.
As of next week, I, too, am going away. Total immersion. The dogs will be lucky if they get walked (oh, who am I kidding… the dogs always get walked!).
But seriously. Goin’ dark to tap the light. Effective July 1 – July 31st.
I’m not in the habit of this kind of self care. (Maybe you aren’t either.) It’s been many years. The past seven, in fact, were all about going OUT into the world and expanding after my unexpected divorce. Can’t stay small, hide in your house, and yet save your house! Between book releases, teen raising, retreat and brand building, and falling in love + setting up new house with a man who both reminded me of the best of my childhood (ah, finally… home!), and yet was totally foreign to me (what do you mean you’ve never once in your entire, self-made life EVER had trouble paying a bill–I don’t know whether to love you or resent the f-out of you!), that took some new thinking + everything skills.
One thing I learned through all of this is to be careful what you ask for. Not in a heady sense. But deep down into my marrow kind of learning. Want career expansion? You sure? Cuz when it comes, you’ve got to be able to deliver, and that’s no joke. As in, like every day. Want to chill and watch movies during the day and go shopping after long, leisurely lunches? Have at it. But you won’t be in business long. And about those pieces that fall through the cracks–and they will, I promise–if you’ve got any predilection for codependency or people pleasing (or you’re just a nice person), those emails you never got around to answering, for starters, may just haunt your dreams.
Want big love with a GREAT guy/gal who has his/her shit together? You sure? Cuz when he/she shows up, you’d better have your shit together too. As in fast. Yesterday. RIGHT NOW. Or at least enough so that you don’t send your mate screaming for the exit doors. We’re playing for keeps here, people. Happily-ever-after keeps. (Unless you’re in the mood to start all over again on Match.com, and as fun as that was–ha–I’m thinking no.)
So, that’s it. I will miss you and no doubt think of you often (but will try not to unless it works with my storyline). I’m looking forward to seeing some of you in the fall in Carmel and better serving those of you who’ve come before or will in the future. (Scaling the retreats back to only 4 next year–16 spots in total–should make that even smoother.)
As for the next four weeks, I’m scared shitless I won’t have all of my emails answered before blackout day on the 1st. And even more afraid of how long it will take me to answer the others when I return (I hate leaving anyone hanging). But fear aside, I’m also amped. Buzzing with the kind of excitement one feels before senior prom, a wedding, a first literary debut.
The month will race by, I have no delusions. But I’m grateful for the time, and mindful of savoring every last minute.
If I do take any kind of break in the next month, it’ll be for short posts on Facebook and twitter. Because, for now, that still sounds energizing.
I wish you a wonderful, creative, relaxing July. (I have a hunch the country–if you’re here in America–may celebrate along with you/us early in the month:) That’s just a hunch.)
And, before I go, allow me to turn the tables a minute and ask: How are you showing up for yourself and your art this summer? Maybe you don’t have a month to spare, but perhaps you could do your own version of “goin’ dark” for a week? No? Please marinate on it. You never know what you might be suddenly capable of. If not, what about a weekend? I’m ever-hopeful you can at least find one five-hour, hold-the-calls, lock-the-door date with your destiny in there somewhere.
Everyone knows Mama can’t create life if she’s feeling like an old-maid spinster!
For further inspiration, here are a few pearls from “the girls” that are somewhat related and so very, very wise regardless.
Until August, I’m wishing you all of the creative mojo in the world to go out there and do whatever you need to do to take care of YOU!
Yours, Linda xx
“You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. The rational mind doesn’t nourish you. You assume that it gives you the truth, because the rational mind is the golden calf that this culture worships, but this is not true. Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating.” ~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
“I often recommend writing as a tool for self-discovery because it’s helped me so much. I use writing in different ways: I write as an artist but I also write when I’m just trying to work through something or make a tough decision…” ~ Cheryl Strayed, Wild
“… don’t be afraid. Don’t be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that may be. If your job is to dance, do your dance. If the divine, cockeyed genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed, for just one moment through your efforts, then ‘Ole!’ And if not, do your dance anyhow. And, ‘Ole!’ to you, nonetheless. I believe this and I feel that we must teach it. ‘Ole!’ to you, nonetheless, just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up.” ~ Liz Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
“Why write? To shine a light; to right a wrong; to shape chaos into art; to know what we think; to pose difficult questions; to challenge our own beliefs; to connect.” ~ Dani Shapiro, Devotion
“This is your life. You are responsible for it. You will not live forever. Don’t wait.” ~ Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
“… Any extended period of piece of work draws heavily on our artistic well. As artists we must learn to be self-nourishing. We must become alert to enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them–to restock the trout pond, so to speak. I call this process filling the well.” ~ Judith Cameron, The Artist’s Way