It’s Day Four of the retreat, and already I am telling myself the lie that there isn’t enough time. This is my favorite lie, and I beat myself up with it regularly. A week isn’t nearly long enough to write everything that I want to write (my novel, a blog post a day, one more song, a sermon…) To get to write the way I want to write, I’ll need weeks! Eternity! How can I get more? I have many varieties of greed, but this lust for more time is unparalleled.
And the truth is, my poor kids are at their wits ends because when I am not writing, I am madly cleaning the house, doing the laundry (cloth napkins!!!) and weeding the labyrinth, trying to get them to practice their violins, cooking tomorrow’s meal for the writers and not letting them have as much of it as they want.
In the mornings, we all gather in what most people would call the living room, but what my kids call the writing room. I give them a prompt, and then we all do 20 minutes or so of Brain Drain longhand. This exercise (Natalie Goldberg calls it Writing Practice and Julia Cameron calls it Morning Pages) creates a hive-like effect in the room, all of us scratching and humming away before we each get up and find a new spot to settle in for the morning’s work. All of us are working on our own projects. There’s a memoirist (or five), several poets, a phD dissertation writer. Some are beginning projects, some finishing. I feed off the energy of this hive, and I’ve made good progress on the Big Idea, my novel, though it feels hopeless and impossible, as impossible as trying to keep the weeds out of my labyrinth. The root systems are invincible. (“Salt water and vinegar,” says Sierra, whose grandmother is one of those wise women who knows everything, and who has a labyrinth and also raises bees.)
I’m working on my sermon. Katryna is finally home from England, and I got to talk to her today. My eyes welled up as I heard that voice on the other end of the phone, and I wondered how I had managed to live without her for the past 10 days? The answer: barely. But I did.
It’s beautiful weather. We get to sing a show on Saturday at my church. We are the luckiest.