Today, Fred discussed archiving. He suggests saving all drafts and protecting hard copies with plastic protector sheets and backing up all digital work. Well, I think I’ve got that covered minus the plastic sheets. I tend to get caught up in the filing and archiving to the point that it becomes a distraction from actually writing anything new.
I have this twisted little attraction to all things Office Depot. I love looking through the catalog and really get excited when a brown shipping box with those big red letters on the side arrives at my door. It may only contain cheap mechanical pencils and manilla file folders but I love them. So, yes Fred, I’ve got the archiving covered. Now where did I put my pencil?
When I wrote my essay, The Beach, I started telling a true story from my life. Because I was retelling events, the first draft (getting the event on paper) was just a linear telling of the event. Future drafts incorporated details, emotions, and characterization that painted images. I guess my story evolved like a string of beads. The string was the chronological order in which the events occurred and each bead was the fleshing out of a character or setting or feeling. My friend Amy once pitched an idea of a book to me in which she offers a collection of stories described as a String of Pearls. I guess the creative process I use when writing an essay is more like a string of raw clay beads. Each bead is imperfect and pliable. In the dark cool space of my mind the beads are reshaped draft after draft then finally tempered when exposed to the light of day. Of course, this has to be some kind of magic clay that can be sent back into the dark to become pliable again because upon critique in the light of day changes will have to be made. Maybe the tempering occurs after publishing. That seems right although even then there could be changes. I guess it’s good to string up beads of clay. The beads can always be ground back to dust and with a little rain the process starts all over again.
In an attempt to hold myself accountable to writing every day, I recently purchased a book called, The Daily Writer, 366 meditations to cultivate a productive and meaningful writing life by Fred White. In the spirit of the recent movie Julie and Julia and upon encouragement from my friend Amy, I intend to post the results of exercises inspired by this book. Future references to Fred on this blog will be to the afore mentioned author. If you find the results interesting, please buy Fred’s book.
What do I do if the source of my discontent is living with loved ones suffering from discontent of their choosing? I like my life. My house isn’t perfect, my job isn’t perfect, but I’m ok with that. I like my husband most of the time. My kids are great. We have enough food to eat and a place to keep warm and dry. What’s not to love?
But, what do you do if you find yourself surround by people who if given the chance would have done things differently. Their sour regrets make for difficult relationships and I find myself wanting to shake these people (whom I love) and tell them to get it together and be thankful or get some drugs.
I’ve know for a long time that I alone am responsible for my own happiness. It’s a choice I make every day and in every situation. Be happy or change it, those are the options of life. Don’t get me wrong, there are days I wallow. I wake up tired and I have too much on my plate and I have to make a sacrifice I don’t want to make and I get a little whinny. But for the most part, on a daily basis, I’m ok to just roll with it. I’ve also figured out that it’s unfair for someone to hold me accountable for their happiness. When we spend our time trying to make someone else happy, we just end up making ourselves miserable.
So again, I ask…what’s to be done when someone you love is stuck in the mire of discontent? In the words of the Beatles, “Let it be.”