For information on #FlashMarch and what’s going on here, check out Day 1.
Prompt from Poets & Writers Creative Nonfiction Prompts:
As writers, we tend to put up a wall between our creative writing (poems, stories, essays) and our more ordinary writing (to-do lists, e-mails). This week, try poking a hole in that wall. Think back and reflect upon an e-mail you received recently that startled you, that brought you unexpected happiness or unexpected pain. Or reflect on a recent to-do list you’ve written for yourself. Write an essay that feels as immediate as these messages or lists. Think about where you were physically and emotionally when you read or wrote these words. What does this say about you in this moment in time?
I wrote this To Do List yesterday for when I got back from a week-long trip starting today:
Bank, Sell Bed, Laundry, Tailor, Leather Books, Files, Closet, Office Bookshelves, Office Books, Office Closet, Goodwill, Antique Store, Organize Records, Hang Art
However, this morning I woke up with a bronchial infection and decided to cancel the trip as it would not be fun nor productive and I didn’t want to get my friends I was staying with—professional musicians—sick with a bronchial infection. We’ve all been there. So, today, with ragged breath wheezing through lungs long-since abandoned, I stared at the list.
The possibilities seemed endless to me. Or—at the very least—the end was very far away and I’d need a telescope or some sort of satellite imaging to see it. I could get so much done today. True, I was sick and not feeling well, but so was Descartes and look at how much he got done. He basically created Western philosophy, I think I can build a bookshelf while coughing.
I sat down and planned out the day. I moved 2,000 miles into this apartment roughly four months ago and whole rooms have remained unpacked. Due to travel, depression, anxiety, obfuscation, procrastination, and design differences… I have put a lot off. But today, today could be different. Though I may be sick, I could take this forced time off to refocus. I could rise up from the ashes and build a stronger, better apartment. I could take these broken wings and learn to fly.
And so I sat in my bed, drafting a plan. A comeback. Not only a return to the days of old and joyous prosper, but forward to a new dawn just over the horizon where the aforementioned ends of possibility are. This was happening, and it would be nothing short of ABSOLUTE GLORY.
Five hours later, I awoke at 7PM. My eyes stumbled across the strewn pages of yester-To-Do and my heart sank. I had lost the day, I had ceded the hill in battle against my own self. And as I made prolonged eye contact with my cat, I thought of all of the moments behind, ahead, and in-between. I had lost the day, true, but I still had the night. I may not be able to move the mountains of my misery, but I could shift my shame in the shade. Life is what you make of it. As Rocky said in the film Rocky Balboa, “it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” And my cat smiled.