I was chatting yesterday with a relatively new friend who is also an author and between one thing and another, the conversation led me to go back through a good number of my old posts on this blog. It was late, and I didn’t re-read everything I wrote from top to bottom, but I skimmed over numerous entries and re-read a few that were memorable and I discovered something lacking in my current attempt to regain my writing mojo.
I am lacking a direction. A focus. I have so far been successful in just sitting down and writing. I don’t want to belittle that accomplishment given how little of it I’ve done since last March. And I have not found myself overwhelmed by the need to not let go of something I’ve written in the last two weeks simply because it’s not perfect. Well, I might have been dissatisfied with some of my efforts, but I was not paralyzed by my need for the perfect polish, for the perfect hook. Just that right amount of je ne sais quoi.
But I’ve been doing little more than keeping time. I write because I make myself, but beyond that I am wandering aimlessly through the written landscape with no purpose. It is little more than a diary of my days and that’s just … boring. I am finding myself to be more cynical when I write. Less contemplative.
Reading back older posts reminded me of how this whole project came into being. The genesis of my blog was the original #100happydays Instagram challenge, and each and every one of those initial 100 posts had a purpose – finding something in my day that made me happy and then figuring out a way to portray it visually. The words grew around the pictures and eventually took over in prominence but they kept with the direction of the challenge. Even after the 100 days elapsed, the notion of trying to find an uplifting moment in each day led me to contemplate many things in life, both serious and frivolous, the happy and the unhappy.
Now I have no direction.
Tomorrow will mark the half way point in this particular challenge for me and I’m going to try to return to the original roots for the last fifteen days: finding something each day that makes me happy, and going from there. I want to see if it makes a difference to my writing and, while I’m at it, my hobby photography.
Today, what made me happy was my son’s infectious enthusiasm for the cookies that his class baked earlier in the week in preparation for the Senior Montessori Christmas fair that took place today. He has been talking about the cookies for several days and was keenly disappointed that he couldn’t have any immediately on the day they were made. Today, however, I made sure to leave some money with one of his teachers and I told him that his job during the fair (which sadly took place during office hours meaning I could not attend) was to pick out some cookies for mommy and daddy to bring him.
Let me tell you, it was a struggle for me to not just go “oh yum!” and eat the cookies on the train home. And of course he immediately asked if we could have them as soon as he was seated on the train. But I told him that these were cookies that he baked with his friends and he bought them for mommy and daddy and we were all going to eat them together.
Which is exactly what he did. He explained to me on the train exactly which cookie was for mommy, and which cookie was for daddy, and that he got two cookies because he made them. And when we finished dinner I put them on a plate and he explained that mommy would have one of the star cookies, and daddy would have the other star cookies, and he got the snow man and the penguin. And then we ate them all together around the kitchen table.
And you know what? They were pretty damn good cookies. Definitely worth the wait.