Storytellers and Coffee Shops

I’ve had this little project tucked in its folder for the last month. Today, I pulled it out again—reading through it all and making notes. Being a freelance journalist is my dream and goal, but since I was little, I’ve always wanted to write a novel. Who says I can’t be a writer of both non-fiction and fiction? 

I worked on this story for my last semester of college, it was supposed to be a finished novella by the end of the semester; however, it took so many twists and turns (and I am a way slower writer of fiction than I thought I was) the story changed so much. By the end, I only came out with about 20 good(ish) pages. Today I have determinded that I’m going to keep working on it.

I’m not sure what it’s going to be once it’s finished, maybe that novella, maybe a novel, maybe just a story the little kid I was growing up needed, but, no matter what it turns into, I’m going to show up and write it. 

The Quotes That Have Stuck With Me

Saturday was the official end of an era: I graduated from college. The days of backpacks filled with books so heavy your shoulders hurt, a desk filled with used coffee cups, and early bird/late owl classes have come to an end.

I’ve been out of classes for a week. It’s a crazy feeling, I still have a to do list and places to be, but the feeling of being done with a huge milestone is just like a wieght off my sholders. I started to clean off my desk today and while I was in the midst of moving around some papers, I found a few a few pieces of paper with quotes on them that have stayed with me, some how or another, throughout my life as a student.

They mostly have to do with the unknown, having confidence, and being yourself. I know they will stay with me, even after school. But inlight that I now have the depolma coming to me by mail in about two months, I’ll post them, hoping they will inspire you.

“If you’re feeling frightened about what comes next, don’t be. Be brave. Embrace your the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenged you to exercise both your heart and you rmind as you create your own path towards happiness; don’t waste time with regrat. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present, each moment, as it comes, because you’ll never get one like it again. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breatha dn start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart… where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again. ” -Everwood

“If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together there is something you must always remeber. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” – A.A. Milne

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without careing twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine time out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” – C.S. Lewis

Growth

Right before this photos was taken, I took a different photo.

It was of a cityscape where sucess is stacked in concrete scrapers that reach upwards, waiting for the dreamers.

But this photo has my feet planted on the ground.

There is nothing spectacular about this photo, it’s just me and the parking lot.

This is where I stand.

The future can be a scary thing, but right now, I am here.

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Normally I write about things when I’m in the middle of them: when I have no idea how they are going to turn out or what the answer is. This is one of those times.

I’m honest when I say I have no idea how 2019 is going to unfold itself. 

I know a few things: This is the year that I graduate college, I grab that post-graduation job, I start writing my first piece of long prose (that will hopefully turn itself into a novel), that I stand on my feet and walk, somewhere. 

This is the year,

 this it is. But that’s all I know.

And If I’m honest again, it’s kind of scary. But I don’t want to be afraid.

The fact that there are so many wonderful things ahead, which I know are going to happen, makes me happy, but there are still so many questions left unanswered. There are those days that connect and thread the big days together that will be full of hard work and tired eyes and things I don’t see coming on this day: page 1 of 365. 

When I think about 2018, it was such a blur, but I wonderful blur. It was a year laden with words, it tested my ability to write — even when I felt like I had no words to say, when my figures and mind hurt from exhaustion, when there were so many things to do besides sitting down in my chair and typing words onto the screen. Most of what I wrote wasn’t very good — not in the slightest, actually. There were a few gems, though, ones I hope to spruce up a little more and then send out into the world. 

A lot of surprises were also carried into my life in 2018, too.  

Sometimes love comes and shows itself to you when you’re not looking for it — or it shows itself when you are, in-fact, looking for it, but in a way you never expected to find it. This kind of love wasn’t what I thought it would look like in the first place: instead it’s one-hundred time better than I ever imagined. 

If 2018 surprised me with it’s unknowns, I know 2019 definitely will. 

I was reading a post I wrote on Instagram on January 1st of 2018; I wrote how 2018 was filled of so many unknown territories, and I was afraid. I supposed it was filled with so many undetermined events, and so is this year, but I don’t think I should be afraid, instead, I want to embrace it wholly — I want to be brave as this year of change challenges me to exercise both my heart and mind while I work to create my little path in this big, crazy world. 

I’m not great with new years resolutions, but I suppose if I could set one goal that would be this: to stay whole, present, attentive, brave, and loving while embracing whatever it is this year gives me. 

2018 was saturated with tired eye and goodness. Now here’s to 2019.

Dirty Hands, Lakes, Kitchens, and Rest

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I’m not sure I’m one who should give a speech about resting. In fact, I’m just now learning what it means to rest. How to plant myself down in a chair and not move for at least five minutes, breathing in and out — coming back to the present moment. Everything around me seems to always be moving, jostling, my mind always thinking. I am my mother’s child, my family’s next generation to carry on the transitions; it makes sense. We are hard workers who always are on the move, always working towards the next goal, always in motion, always onward.

Always onward is a good thing. I’m proud of where I come from and how my family works hard for everything that they have. It’s a Midwestern ethic that you put your two cents in and get your hand dirty in order to stake a claim on the land and have your say in the matter. However, there comes a point where I’ve given all I have and giving any more seems like it would be less than giving anything at all. This is when I know it is time for me to rest. Or at least take a step back and breath, return my focus to the right places.

Resting has never come easy for me. It isn’t for my mom, either. Her hands and feet are constantly alive: moving, fixing, typing, scraping, working hard to be able to feel vital and well. It’s ingrained into her process. It’s the same for me. I always have to be performing some sort of task in order for me to feel like I have accomplished something during the day. That I wasn’t lazy and, therefore, I can be satisfied with my efforts; not being so hard on myself for not checking off every box on my to-do list.

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This week has had a slight change of pace, from my usual rise and grind effort, though. I’ve been staying in a house that is forty-five minutes from the high rises in the city, out in the middle of midwestern nowhere, on a lake that only a few people know the name of. My fingernail polish is chipping and I don’t mind. My eyes are becoming un-swollen and I can see. My writing, unfiltered and awful yet full of a colorful essence that can be worked with and molded into something sweet to taste yet fresh and new. My hair frizzy from the humidity yet I’m leaving it be because what is the point of taming it anyway?

If I stay in a constant routine too much, if I am costly at work, I become stale and uninteresting. My conversations and efforts lack while my eye shut down and I become a person no one wants to be around. Refilling the well is a necessity that I don’t seem to take seriously enough, yet this week I can see how much it truly helps out the person who is stuck in a big muddy rut. Within this past week, all of my tiredness and exultation is being undone for me. I’m learning what it means to rest.

Sitting in a screened sunroom at 7:00 a.m. with the sun rising over the tops of the trees and sparkling over the deep blue hues of the calmed water while listening to the bird sing their morning songs puts my restless soul in a state of comfort and stillness. My eye hurt slightly but the rising sun coats them with a welcome and lets them know that it’s ok to be tired sometimes.

Soft silken water ripples and folds as I row the canoe down the lake and into a cove where sun glints and filters through the trees. My arms burning slightly because of the weight I am pushing through the water but it’s all worth it. The cicadas hum, their voices carrying high and low across that vast space and absorb into my ears. While out in the middle of the lake, we got attacked by a giant horsefly. Swingin my paddle at it, I almost tip our canoe and haul us into the water. We tried to row away haphazardly only to spin out and go in circles while the horsefly laughed and bit us more. I’m sure any spectators were in for a good laugh watching us try to get away.

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Inside my brother plays Super Mario Brothers on my moms old Nintendo 64. The retro, boxy beat comes out of the speakers; my brother’s eyes focused and intent on the screen. He makes the little pixel plumber jump from question mark box to the top of a gumba’s head, squashing it while continuing forward and getting the mushroom that will make him grow twice his original size. Part of me wants quite to read my book but another part of me realizes that every human in this room is one with a life that is so precious. I let him play.

The outdated kitchen is messy but only in the loved and used way. Cheerios out on the kitchen counter and used coffee mugs clutter the bottom of the sink. I do the dishes after dinner, getting the greasy stains off the used dishes while the room is abuzz with conversation and clatter. My lips press into a smile as I put down the soggy sponge and step back from the situation and look around me, wet dripping bowl still in my hand. Everything is as disordered and unperfect as it seems yet there the night sky outside is hovering over us, covering us in a blanket that says all is ok. All is good. I go back to scrubbing.

I took a nap yesterday and for the first time in a long time I didn’t wake up wanting to go back to sleep.

As Henry David Thoreau puts it, “A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” I believe that wholeheartedly.

This is what it means to rest.

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Although I am still moving: muscles expanding and contracting while I row a canoe through the rippling water into places where the horseflies play; or paddling in a kayak in and out of the coves that are surrounded by the green leaves and filter sunshine. Although I’m still waking up early, it is to watch the sunrise. Although I am typing this, it is to write something on my own accord and not to fulfill a gap in a newspaper or assignment for a grade. Although I’m still picking up people’s plates and doing the dishes after dinner, it’s out of love instead of necessity. Although I am still in motion, it is with intended presents and not to check a list off or complete a set of tasks.

Resting is an art that I am still learning to grasp but as I sit here, drinking my lukewarm cup of coffee and exercising my figures in a way that is not so demanding, I realize that resting shouldn’t be a thing that is carried out as a check mark off on a list. It should be taken with eases in itself, it should be practiced, a process that in itself is work in the most glorious yet filling ways. It’s apart of this life. Instead of trying so hard, you just expand yourself out in the open and let it all be. Let the day of rest unfold in its present time as you find yourself in its present moment.