I think it was Edna Ferber (Giant author) who said the work of writing must be done, "sick or well", or, I might add, if the muse sprinkles fairy dust or not. Recently, I had to write an artist's statement for a fellowship. In a page or less I had to say why I write, how I write, and what writing means to me. I worked on it for about three days, and almost sent in it, but decided to sleep on it one more night. I assumed they wanted to know how I write so they could tell if I knew my stuff. Like a bread baker or mechanic.
Nora Ephron is at a private film screening. There are not enough seats for the crowd and more people keep arriving. The host suggests they double up and sit on laps. Nora observes all this with mounting frustration, finally she tells her friend Bob:
"It's really very simple. Someone should get some folding chairs and set them up in the aisles."
Bob looks at me. "Nora," he says, "we can't do everything."
My brain clears in an amazing way.
Nora. We can't do everything.
It's that happy dance, we have survived the worst of it, kind of time. It's been raining on the beach and snowing in the mountains and there's more daylight here now than in Aruba. It's light enough to walk the dogs right after Morning Muscles at 7 am, and still light after yoga at 7 pm. (I know, rough life.) Also, I saw a camera crew on Main Street yesterday and it wasn't the Discovery guys following Parker and Grandpa John around, their clothes were too colorful and expensive. It had to be pro-snowboarders, another sure sign of Spring.
There were two pages of letters to the editor in the most recent paper, prompting my daughter so say, "It must be February." And two fires in 24 hours, which is odd, the Horton's big shed caught fire and a little guest cabin on Mud Bay Road burned too- fortunately no one was injured in either. One very tired fireman told me he had only been asleep about an hour following the shed fire and clean up when he was back out at the cabin fire. How lucky are we to have such dedicated volunteers? At the same time, I know a little bit how he feels, which is best described as February.
It is Lent, and at our church we began the 40 day season of fasting, prayer, and spiritual reflection with a service this week on Ash Wednesday. We were reminded in the most graphic of ways that we come from dust and to dust we will return, with a cross of ashes marked on our foreheads by the priest. Then we listened while she read what Jesus had to say about walking gently through the world between those bookends of birth and death, as recorded in St. Matthew's gospel:
The weather has been good for writing, and I'm worried that this early thaw cycle may mean winter won't last long enough to finish a pretty good third draft of my new book, Finding the Good, so I'm kind of holed up at my desk in my pajamas surrounded by coffee cups, bowls of seeds and nuts, and dog treats to keep Pearl quiet between walks. (I pull my snow/rain gear on over the PJs.
Poet Mary Oliver says that what we must do with this wild and precious life we are given is simple: pay attention, be astonished, and tell about it. I am prepared to be astonished. I honestly am. It is the way I want to walk in this world. It's a lot more fun than watching out for another truck to run over me, you know? But even so, I have witnessed so many astonishing precious and wild moments in the last few days that I am flattened. (In a good way.) Just this morning, I have been keeping company with a black wolf.
The Arts Council's Northern Lights Showcase of local talent is tonight at 7:00 in the Chilkat Center lobby, not 6:00 as I previously noted- and as may be still floating around out there in other sources. 7, not 6. (Unless you want to set up chairs with us.) See you there! (What else are you doing on this rainy, wet, blowing like crazy February-cane of an evening?)