(day 8): a clean slate

Setting daily intentions

(day 8): a clean slate
Photo by Hans Vivek on Unsplash

It's been a few days since I wrote fiction, as I've been unable to focus between blowing my nose every five minutes and feeling giddy to hanging out with D over the Easter weekend.

It eventually catches up with me – that story clamouring for attention somewhere deep inside my subconscious, telling me to write it, write it, write it and not stop until it's written.

Which is why Dean's post today on keeping writing fun and not letting Critical Voice interfere is a timely reminder for me.

Which is why, instead of heading out with D for his classmate's birthday party, I'm at home, writing this, getting out all my thoughts that have been piling up from the past few days, and headed for a much-needed nap while KrA is ferrying the child to and from the party.

I must pick up from Thursday, when we headed up to Toronto by train to keep an appointment for some paperwork.

I had been worried about KrA and me driving up and down, while D stayed at school, simply because of how crazy drivers have become, especially on the highways. I was too focused on the problem and my panic and couldn't think beyond that, so it was KrA who came up with the solution of taking the train.

It was a wonderful ride, the 50-minute journey whizzed past. I could spend an entire day looking out of the train window.

We came back in time for me to be able to attend an event I had signed up for long ago at our local library. The Composer In-Residence of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Abigail Richardson-Schulte, was scheduled to give a talk on the life of Franz Schubert interspersed with solo piano performances of some of his pieces.

Abigail talked about various aspects of Schubert's life, including his great adoration for Beethoven and his desire to be buried next to Beethoven's grave, a wish that was eventually fulfilled. Although Schubert was very prolific, his works apparently found a devoted audience only posthumously.

There was something that Abigail mentioned that struck a chord with me. Schubert's initial works were apparently written for the entertainment of the masses; it was later in life (by later, we mean when he was in his 20s because Schubert only lived until the age of 31) when he was struggling with health issues and was lawfully not permitted to marry a woman he loved because he wasn't earning enough money, that his compositions began to take on a darker and more sombre tone.

I've often given myself grief for writing dark themes. As writers, we are often told that readers read our works for escapism. But I have a dark thread of something blue-black running inside me. It holds my depths of despair, and my stories are threaded with it.

I don't know why but it used to bother me that some of the stories I write are dark. I suppose this may have been because after I published A Benevolent Goddess, a dear friend of mine wrote to me saying that the sad ending of the story was too tragic for her and couldn't I find a way to change it? So I went and wrote an additional chapter, and put it up as a bonus chapter on my website so that whoever read the book could come and indulge in this extension to the story.

But that wobble was enough to cast self-doubt on my work. So much so that it had become difficult for me to write for a while without wondering how it would affect the reader.

I still love reading dark stories, so I couldn't quite explain that dichotomy to myself: that I could love other's dark creations but wouldn't encourage that in myself?

I was being quite unfair to myself, wasn't I?

So when Abigail talked about how Schubert's works became darker when he was going through a dark phase of life, it gave me permission to write what I could at any given point in time. How liberating!

I wrote yesterday about learning that every experience in life can be looked at as a big bonus.

We had a very tiring journey yesterday to Rochester with lots of unexpected delays, yet we managed to have a great deal of fun. A lot of it had to do with a willingness to put up with the delays and make the most of the situation on hand, instead of cursing ourselves for having forgotten something or for not having left from home sooner and so on and so on ...

There is only this moment here, now, unfolding. All the should-haves and could-haves are simply not helpful. What is helpful instead is how we can best manage the situation on hand. That's all there is to it.

Easier said than done, as always.

Which is probably why I keep forgetting these life lessons.

So OK, perfect example here. Instead of wondering over and over again why I keep forgetting these life lessons (i.e., focussing on the problem), I can do something else instead (i.e., focussing on the solution).

I can set myself daily reminders.

Perhaps I can write myself an intention to read and set every morning.

Today, may I do my best to create a peaceful, loving and joyful experience for me and for those around me.
Today, may I approach every situation with courage and remember that I always have a choice in how I respond.
Today, may I remember that fear keeps me from taking action, but the only way to counter that fear is by taking action in the first place.
Today, as I move through the day, may I remember that my life is a tremendous gift and a blessing to me, and that every experience is a big bonus for me to learn from and grow.

So now, after this day of rest, I'll be back at my writing desk tomorrow morning, having fun penning down the stories that are waiting to be written. I can't wait!