I bought new pens. A packet of four black Paper Mate Profiles, the gel-ink kind that retract with a satisfying click. They are smooth. They are my favorite pens. I also have more than 100 pages left in my composition book.
I am ready.
Tomorrow I will spend seven hours, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, writing. I may not be able to go for an MFA right now, or even a BA in creative writing, but I can commit to a writing workshop (thanks again, Mom and Dad, for the birthday gift!). I am giddy about the thought of dedicating such a large chunk of time to scratching thoughts on paper without interruption – no changing over the laundry, no admitting the plumber, no washing breakfast dishes, or managing family finances, or planning the week’s menus, or grocery shopping. Just pens, paper, coffee, writers, and time. Lots of time.
In the past few weeks, as our family squeezed the last drops of fun out of summer, riding bikes, hiking, watching Merlin, and baking muffins, I knew we were in the home stretch, and I guess my writing mind did too. The amount of material that has built inside of me and has already bubbled out on the pages of my journals astonishes me. In the past 22 days, since the last of our summer house guests left and the sentences started flowing, I have filled more than 40 pages in my composition book, typed thousands of words on the computer for my morning pages, and scattered notes in my purse’s Moleskine, my hiking bag’s pocket-sized Moleskine, and in the voice memo system on my phone. I’ve got three blog posts halfway done, the beginnings of two bigger pieces I’m not sure I’m ready for, and an idea for a two-year literature capsule project I might undertake.
I told my friend Dee about this, my eyes wide with wonder about how much is spilling out of me, and she said, “Of course it is!” She gestured to the autumn wreath on our front door. “It’s harvest time.”
Until three weeks ago, the words were not coming, or I wrote endless diary-type entries during writing practice – “I feel like I’m in a perpetual state of waiting” or, “I made chili today – it’s that cool out” – because better ideas were just not there. So now, to see the fields waving with wheat and know that all I have to do is take up my sickle and harvest it, it feels like a gift and I don’t want to waste it. My pen is my scythe, and I write everything down while it’s here, golden and ripe. I’m writing all the starts, scattered though they may be in three different journals, on our computer, on my phone. They will need to be bundled and threshed, but for now I’ll focus on the gathering.
I am eager to enter my first writing workshop in this state of mind. Abundant. Waving with thoughts and ideas. I am prepared, equipped with new pens and plenty of paper, ready for the reaping.
I am enrolled in Writing for the Joy of It, a writing workshop led by Lesley Howard and Jenny Zia, local Blacksburg, VA writers who have been inspired by two of my favorites, Natalie Goldberg and Anne Lammott.