Survival Lesson Number One

You know what to do, he seems to point out.  The answer lies within.  Or maybe he’s just sharing his cake.

I’ve long eschewed routine, preferring to keep life interesting by jumping in the river and seeing where it takes me.  Following the current kept my senses alert – watching for rock outcroppings and swirling eddies, being seduced by the water’s coolness and enchanting rush.  A schedule signified attention deficit, a diminishing of natural rhythm – the damming up of energy.  These days, however, my discipline leads me.  It climbs the rungs of system and structure, elevating my craft.  What to do, then, when my itinerant inclinations rise up and I’m missing everyone I love – the casualty of living more than 300 miles away?  Is routine mobile?  I’m about to find out.

I toss my trusty red leather travel bag in the car, gas up and go.  Six hours of highway roll under and away, and I’m back in the company of my family.  Comfortably nestled, I am thrilled to see them.  Still, I did move north for fewer distractions, and all I want to do now is sit on the floor with my nephew and stack blocks.  I’m eager to hang out with my sister, talking in the ways that only being face to face, legs tucked underneath, mugs of tea in hand can elicit.  Navigating familiar territory with a fledgling stance of self-government is challenging for an emerging writer.  How do I maintain the regimen I’ve begun to forge?  Wait.  That’s it!  Maintain.  I look it up:  to practice a habit or custom, to persevere.  I need to keep on writing, wherever my traveling heart takes me.  It’s not routine that’s required, it’s perseverance.  So simple.

Last weekend I visited an artist’s gallery, an outdoor sculpture garden.   Above the guest book in a wooden lean-to was a sign with that very word inscribed.  It didn’t register much at the time, but  I photographed it nonetheless.

Seems like the answer arrived even before the question.

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1 Comment

  1. Cara

     /  6 November 2010

    Take your lead from your nephew and tune in to your natural rhythm. Then you will have created a “schedule” that isn’t a “damming of energy” and doesn’t mean “attention deficit.” Eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired (sound familiar?), write when you’re fresh or when the muse calls or when you are inspired by someone or something. But write everyday. We’re all looking for a new post from when we log on! Children often give us the answers before we even knew we wanted to ask a question.

    Reply

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