I woke up yesterday to gray skies and heavy rain. It was not a morning that invited or inspired a morning run. But I had no excuse not to write. A wet and soggy sunrise is practically an invitation to stay inside and dream up a warm and sunny locale.
I’m currently in the soggy middle of the new book and I’m convinced it’s pointless drivel that would be rejected for the back of a cereal box. I also know this is completely normal and happens with just about any creative work. The vision and the reality almost never co-exist.
In fact, I’ve found having a vision of what a book might look like can often be harmful. Squeaky clean artifacts that only exists in your mind can make it really hard to get started. Reality is messy. What I’ve found most helpful is practice. The phrase, just going through the motions, gets a bad rap. A lot of great things, not just creative things, get done by showing up day after day.
It might not match any vision but it will exist. I don’t know exactly where this book is going but I’m going to show up and find out.
We are coming up on performance season. For someone that loves to be on stage, Cecilia doesn’t actually like to be in the spotlight. The winter jazz concert is next month and the anxiety over a potential solo is ramping up with each passing day.
My advice? Welcome to the club! Everyone is winging it. Pretty much all the time. The sooner you recognize this, the sooner you can relax. Feeling ready is a fantasy, based entirely on what you imagine is going on inside other people’s heads. Just get on with it and do whatever it is you’ve been holding back on until you’re ready.
Did she nod and accept my sage advice? My hard-earned life lesson? No, she retorted, “What about my teachers? Or my doctor? Are they just winging it, too?” Spoken like a true teenager or first year philosophy student.
Yes and no. Of course they’re aren’t winging your lessons or your diagnosis, but they aren’t infallible either. They don’t know what’s coming up next. No one does. Their training doesn’t provide all the answers for every situation. Life is way bigger than any textbook. You just need to cross each bridge as you come to it.
That’s a little scary but also very freeing. Show up, wing it, don’t wait. You’ll be happier for it.
We successfully made it through the first full five day school week including just about all the after school extracurricular activities. The afternoon Dad shuttle was in full effect and I was reminded again that there is no hierarchy of time when you are a parent. The more you try to force ‘quality time’ the worse, and more stressful, it tends to get for everyone.
Instead, I’m trying to embrace the garbage time. The flustered, busy, ordinary, stuck in traffic time that can be just as valid and equal as a special day at an amusement park. Time is what you make of it. Being stuck at a traffic light appears to be the antidote to only getting one word answers about school. You can learn a lot in the fifteen minute drive to dance class. I’m trying not to waste it.
Even as the days blend together, we are settling into something resembling a routine and trying to make the best of it. With both Michelle and I on a lot of calls, we are letting serendipity and curiosity play a large part in the homeschooling effort. Yup, fancy way of saying we’re locking the girls in their rooms for a couple hours in the morning and afternoon. We make sure they are fed and watered first. I think they’ll be okay in the short-term.
We’re doing our best to follow the school’s suggestions but if they want to go down a three hour rabbit hole about how to make your own Cheetos or M&Ms (thanks Bon Appetit YouTube channel)…who am I to argue? I don’t think a parent should force their child to master anything but I do think it’s their job to help them discover the possibilities in life. After that it’s up to them.
Though if it’s going to involve the trombone, maybe wait for Dad to get off the phone.