what next?

Well, it is another one of those nights. A night where I have crafted lovely little plums of writing–literally three different pieces, but not a single one of them is traveling the path I hoped it might. So, instead of enjoying the freedom of publication, they’ve been caged in the prison of saved drafts. Were I not in the midst of this writing challenge, this would simply translate to a great night of writing and thinking and wondering and playing with the arrangement of words on the page. It would translate to a wealth of strong beginnings on topics I am excited to revisit…to revise…to reclaim.  However, tonight, on day 37, I am fatigued, have no finished work and have reached the point where I feel done with writing for the night, only to commence writing a new piece, this piece, (where I find myself whining about having nothing completed) simply because I have to publish something. Because that was the deal. Because I owe it to myself to uphold the challenge with so few days to go. Because, well, king cake on Mardi Gras Day…really, there isn’t much more to say than that (let me reiterate at this point how hard this challenge has been…not the writing necessarily, but the not eating king cake!! My sister sent one of my kids this immense king cake donut filled with cinnamon cream cheese filling. This confection typically would have tempted  me to stray from the realm of the gluten free just for a quick taste. But I refrained. I haven’t earned it yet. My job is not yet complete).

But, in all of this meandering, I’ve begun to piece together a writing plan for after my challenge draws to a close on Mardi Gras day. I’ve been wondering for a while not, what happens after the king cake is consumed? I think my plan going forward will still center around writing everyday…but with eyes on publishing only once a week. This is probably what this challenge should have been all along, but in order to get to that point, I needed the accountability of a daily public display of my work. The discipline is in place now, and I am sincerely longing for days when I can work on a piece that I enjoy without having to bring it to some kind of quick or cluttered conclusion before it is fully ready simply so I can click publish. I have missed the ability to linger over a piece and to really select my words, to craft my point, to enjoy the process. Entrenching myself in the discipline of this particular work hasn’t fueled my love of writing, though it has made me a better writer. It has also gifted me with the awareness that I do, in fact, have the time to write everyday. Because, as in all things, we make time for the things that are most important to us.

Were I a little less brain dead, I would have woven the following poetry links into the work a bit more seamlessly and embellished and extended the ideas expressed in each. But that is not where I am and I refuse to withhold poetry from you simply because I can’t arrange it as I would like. As I was writing this piece and I mentioned feeling caged or freed in varying places, the following poems came to mind…

“The Heart of a Woman” By Georgia Douglas Johnson

“Sonnet (1979)” By Elizabeth Bishop (I’m not going to lie, the imagery and metaphor in this poem overwhelms me with every read. I have no idea why I connect to it so deeply, but I love how it makes my brain work and my mind and soul feel…and isn’t that the point of poetry on some level?)

“Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou

(Day 37…a bit of a disjointed mess for sure, but the writing that preceded it only to not be published was worth it)

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