The mystery of writing and resistance

“So, how’s the writing going?” my friend asked over lunch.

“I’m working on my novel,” I sighed. “More like getting back to it, I guess. I’m about 2/3rds there. I hit a rough patch but just need to get back to it.”

My voice lacked the enthusiasm you might expect from someone whose work, as my husband describes it, is to “make stuff up.” My tone and mood shifted from happy to heavy, my work-in-progress weighing on my mind and mood.

“Why do you writers do this to yourselves?” he observed. “All my writer friends say the same thing. I ask about their work, and they sigh and tell me how hard it is.” …

Dear Maria,

We have wonderful neighbors next door. They are a young couple with darling children. We visit off and on when we are all outside. It’s not what I’d call friendship, but we certainly enjoy each other. My dilemma is that I am very neat and they are not! I try to overlook the condition of the outside of their home, but it is what we see when we sit out on our patio.

I have been somewhat able to let go since I really have no control over any of it. I don’t want to bring the issue up and jeopardize our relationship–especially with the youngest who sits with me some times and I read to him. I know from things they’ve mentioned that they are not open to changing any of their ways. …

Recent events have stoked so much pain and fear in our world, as we witnessed once again senseless violence and loss. I’m on a diet from the news — not to ignore what’s going on, but to maintain some peace in the midst of it. I encourage you to do the same. Take a break from the constant stream of news and commentary. Here’s why:

When we’re not preoccupied with bad news, we’re more inclined to spot the good news. It might be a flower you find on the side of the road, or the favorite song that comes on the radio, or a kind word from the man at the bank. These all may seem like nothing compared to the magnitude of events, but they are something: a bit of grace to sustain us. Let’s attend to these things, and try not to let fear, anger, or sorrow dominate our thoughts.

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Image from the Leonard Berstein Facebook page

Rather than quivering against the darkness, let’s stand for the light. It’s okay to turn down the news and turn up the music. It lifts us all when we do. It’ll nourish our souls, and guide us to ways we can help ease the world’s pain and suffering. Here’s a wonderful, true story of one group of people reaching out to another in their sorrow and bringing healing in the process. There truly are ways we can help, and make a difference. Let’s start by affirming the good that prevails despite the tragedies, or as Anne Lamott says, “Grace bats last.”

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