Day 28: Pause

posted March 1, 2018


The framing is complete. Plumbing begins tomorrow. Next week, windows and then maybe doors. The roof comes soon. I am supposed to be writing songs. I have bits and pieces, and I just wrote out the music and chords and ideas into my songwriting notebook. I am hoping that if I set myself up, create the right circumstances for the muse to come, she will. That’s all I have right now. I am reading Zadie Smith’s wonderful NW and dreaming about going back to London. London’s calling. My daughter feels the same way. We didn’t drink enough of it in. I was sick with Shingles. It’s such a huge city, and we only explored a corner. Who do I know who lives in London?


It’s been two and a half months since I sent my manuscript in to my agent. My high levels of excitement morphed into monolithic despair. And now the whole things seems like a distant memory. It seems hard to believe I once worked so hard on one project, woke at an ungodly hour to do so, had it on my brain like a stuttering kettle on a stove top, always on boil. Friends and colleagues tell me not to take it personally–agents can be like this. But this does not assuage me. Nothing short of a rabid hunger for finishing my book once the first page is read will satisfy me in a reader. But now my grief over my agent’s lack of response has turned peaceful, like the landscape in my yard. The guys have gone for now; the ground is naked–the loam is in the contractor’s shed, waiting to be replaced. For now, it’s mud. The trees are gone, and have not yet been replaced. The leaves are gone and have not yet been replaced in the few remaining trees. We are all waiting.

Strangely, I am happier than I have been in months, maybe years. There is an internal flowering, an early spring, perhaps. I feel a wholeness that takes me by surprise. I have a new patience with my kids (internal, as well as the two I birthed and am helping to raise.) This house project is very satisfying, and way more share-able than my novel was.

Speaking of house projects, I did about a C+ version of Marie Kendo here at Big Yellow. Even so, the house feels huge and spacious minus all that excess. I have discovered the joys of unobstructed corners. Why is it I always needed to fill every corner? As if my life were a puzzle I had to complete by filling in all the empty spaces. Now space is all I want. I am loving the margins of my life, and the margins in the house. We put in some attention to the little hallway that connects my little studio and our bedroom with the kids’ end of the house. We painted it a bright shade of yellow and rich blue for the ceiling. It makes me happy every time I walk between our rooms and the children’s. The alphabetized fiction section of our library pleases me every time I interact with it. I saw Tom devouring a Graham Greene. “Where’d you get that?” I asked, knowing the answer, but wanting to hear him say, “From our library.”

The tile choices for Little Blue were hard.  How could one possibly choose? But I finally went with this pattern here:

The books we consume rabidly are the Harry Potters. Right now, we have Jim Dale’s reading of Book 5 on CDs in the van. I listen to one disc over and over. One or the other child will eventually replace it with the next one. Over the weekend, we watched Harry Potter 7 Part 2, a very dark (literally) movie. But it looked so great, projected up on our kitchen wall. I had just bought (for the Nields, for our sing along shows) a small Miroir projector, which we hooked up to our Apple TV. This gave me an idea. Instead of artwork to hang over the fireplace, I am going to go all Yoko Ono and put up a blank white canvas. Onto it, I will project images of beautiful works of art, song lyrics, or photographs. Prompts for my writers.

PS. I took a break from writing this post and picked up my guitar. I played back a snippet of tune I’d recorded last October. I moved to the piano. I moved back to the guitar. By the end of the session, I had a new song. I don’t know how, or why. It just came. We have a lot of gigs booked for the spring. Maybe I will play it then.

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  1. The muse WILL come. Nerissa. Just played “Love Love Love” on the radio. Love this blog AND your music. Fear not.

    I love your metaphors in this post. And I love its message.

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