The director of my son’s preschool was a proponent of unscheduled days. Creativity comes just after boredom, she would say. Let your children lie around in the grass in the summer, staring at the sky. Remember that time with you is all they really want. This seemed to me to be good advice – still does. But what of overscheduled days? How do you find the gems creativity with the mayhem of life? The calm in the eye of the storm? Serenity? How do you find serenity?
It’s been a whopper of a day. Of a week, really. And now it’s Friday night nearing 9 pm and I haven’t done my words yet. What words you say? You know, the NaNoWriMo words. The 1667 words I’ve pledged to write every day this month until I spit out a 150 page novel. Yeah, those words. I’m ahead of the game, which will surprise those of you who know me as Queen of Procrastination. I’m more than a full day ahead. Fear goads me on. Fear that this month will not ease up but will get more busy – what with my son’s birthday and Thanksgiving. I know I’ll really need that extra day or two later in the month. So each day I’ve shown up at the blank page and I’ve thrown down words. Like gauntlet. Most of them are bad – lots of telling, not enough showing. But some of them are good and the most important thing for me? That I’m having fun doing it. Except for tonight.
In the midst of a hectic day preparing for an alumni meeting and a networking dinner for Saturday, we learned that one of our colleagues was in labor. Three weeks early. She had taken a vacation day to prepare the baby’s room so we didn’t expect her in the office and since she often checks in, we weren’t surprised to hear her calling around noon. After her water broke, she was admitted and called us to let us know she was going into labor and everything looked great. There was much hugging and excitement in the office between meetings with students, printing of nametags, confirming of menus, printing of reports.
But later in the afternoon, my mother called and since she never calls me during the work day, I knew it was either really good news or really bad news. She told me that my grandmother is going into hospice care. I hadn’t known that she had taken such a turn for the worse. So yeah, a whopper of a day running the full spectrum of emotions. And now, here I sit, trying to write my little story. But it seems that my bookmarks need to be re-organized. And what was that song that I heard at 8:18 this morning on WXPN? Oh, and what exactly did Oxford University look like in the 17th century? My thoughts are pinballing while music pounds away in my ears and I think it will push the feelings away but it brings them to the surface so that I’m welling up with tears while listening to Jeff Buckley.
I’m going back to the page to see if a few words want to squeak out, inspired by the wonder of birth or the desolation of loss. Maybe creativity doesn’t stem from boredom exactly but from quiet and if I show up at the page, maybe ,just maybe, some little thought will meet me there. In the quiet.