I suspect you’re going to feel a bit constrained in the coming weeks, Cancerian — maybe even imprisoned… Regard this “incarceration” as a chance to start work on a masterpiece. Believe it or not, your “deprivation” could be one of the best things that has happened to you in a while. -Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology
So this is it.
The finish line is drawn.
I have exhausted all possible productive activities to justify procrastinating about putting my memoir Good Enough For God in to the world.
I have a place to live. I have proofreading work for the next 8 weeks that will enable me to get by. Today I quit one of my part-time jobs; I didn’t like it and kept trying to convince myself that there was something wrong with me that I didn’t like it, not to mention it sucked dry all my writing energy.
There are no InterPlay or NVC groups I want to go to in D.C. There are no black and white photography shows to hang. I get few calls. Yesterday my one friend in D.C. texted me to say she has no time to hangout until September.
There is this Thing inside me that compels me to write, to put forth my story into the world.
The time is Now.
This morning I sat at the kitchen table with a teeming bowl of pears, mangoes, bananas, and lemons and Long Quiet Highway by Natalie Goldberg. In the memoir about her early spiritual awakening as a Zen practitioner, she describes a walk in nature where she heard an inner voice:
You’ve got to finish that book. I don’t care if you’re afraid. Finish it.
Several months had passed since she’d worked on Writing Down the Bones, her famous book on writing practice. After that experience she wrote seven days a week for 7 weeks and finished the manuscript.
As I sat there staring at the bowl of summer’s harvest, it occurred to me that my birthday, July 6, is exactly 7 weeks from today and that on my birthday last year I said I wanted to put my memoir out into the world this year.
I’ve worked on it some. Several events leading up to this Now have spurred me on:
Wanting to keep my word the people who gave me money to spend 6 weeks at a writing retreat in Paris in 2006, where I wrote the preliminary manuscript that now forms the skeleton of the book proposal I’m endeavoring to complete.
I gained confidence after attending a book writing and publishing workshop that dymystified and made concrete what I needed to do to get my book published.
I attended a writing retreat co-taught by Natalie Goldberg that reminded me what I most love doing in the world is writing.
Today I am spurred on my own version of the voice that spoke to Natalie, the one that speaks to every artist with something inside that longs to be born. I am spurred on by action, by letting go, and the ceaseless flow between them.
So hear ye hear ye, I declare on this wednesdayeth day of mayest in the two-thousandeth of ten-ye in thou fairest capitale Washingtonian, that I Beandrea Terese am spending the next 7 weeks completing my nonfiction book proposal for the forthcoming memoir Good Enough for God.
I agree to:
– write for four hours a day five days a week (aka in a 7 day period, I will complete at least 20 hours of work on the GEFG project for the next seven weeks starting today, May 19).
bq. – do whatever I want during those four hours as long as it has some connection to completing the proposal (pumping out the worst junk in America by hand and at the computer, reading book proposal guide book, facing some emotional trigger that’s been stirred by the content in the memoir, taking walks…)
bq. – do what needs to be done to finalize the proposal no later than 5:21 a.m. on July 6, 2010, my 29th birthday.
bq. – take a picture of the completed draft and post it to this blog for readers to see.
So here I am writing in the Science and Technology Room on the fifth floor of Library of Congress. I’ve just typed up new pages from my writing notebook to include within my book’s chapters. My fingers feel hot on the keyboard. Kojo Antwii, the Ghanaian singer vamps through my earphones.
Who knows what will happen in these next weeks really? I’ve made the declaration public. All I can do now is show up and do the work. Who will like it, whether it will make it to market, and what any of this has to do with me making a decent living – for right now these questions are none of my business. I agree to do my part, and to let the voice within that compels me to write do its.
To keep this agreement means I’ll have to make choices. I’ll need to let sit various other projects I’ve been working on, like building my bodywork practice for women in D.C. and building my joyfullybea.com inspiration empire. I will have time to do my temp proofreading job, do what it takes to care for a human body and soul, and probably little else. I will need to minimize distractions and center my life around writing even as I expect to be routinely plagued by doubt, fear, and sloth.
So if you contact me and I don’t get back to you, picture me cozied up in the stacks of the Library of Congress somewhere between bliss and ripping out my hair (which I won’t be able do anyway since I am virtually bald
See me finally giving birth to this memoir I’ve long dreamed about writing.
See me launching this longtime dream of being an author, not a moment too soon, not a moment too late.