This blog is the extension of an email dialog between two old friends, who live too many miles apart. It went like this:
C: The writing institute was a wonderful experience. My writing piece underwent major revisions from what I sent you and I got lots of useful feedback – now I have to figure out how to carve out time to do more writing. I am rethinking how I spend my time and trying to get some control of my days. The dividing line between work and personal time is largely non-existent – I imagine it’s a similar challenge for you.
J: Hearing about your writing workshop experience encourages me to try something similar. There are days when it feels like my mind is buzzing with good ideas that will never take shape on paper/screen. Some of that is simply due to poor time management (discipline, work habits, etc.) but I bet most of it would benefit from getting perspective and feedback from other people. If I could find time (and talk you into it) I would just come up for a week’s retreat at your place and try to hammer some things out!
C: One of the things I realized at the writing institute is that I desperately need conversation partners about process and ideas. I am not yet close enough to anyone here, where I could engage in this process of reciprocal reflection, writing and goals setting.
J: Time management became a serious challenge for me decades ago, when I was trying to manage the business, raise a family, be an artist and god knows what else. I could style myself a victim of the “have it all” generation, I suppose, but the posture is not appealing.
And on a related topic: how did you manage to shed the accumulated possessions of your past domicile? Or did you? One of my goals for this summer was to “de-clutter” but it is a struggle. There’s the intellectual resistance to creating landfill waste (where do I repair, recycle, resell or donate this thing?) which provides fertile ground for emotional resistance to letting go (oh- isn’t this interesting! wow- maybe my kids will want that…).
C: A quick response – I walked away from all the stuff. But it’s amazing how fast new stuff adheres..I think it is actually an interesting spiritual and ecological discussion, even a possible blog: “How I went about letting it go…” in all the environmentally appropriate ways. Where do you take it? Who wants it? I have three large printers sitting in my house waiting for the appropriate day to be dumped at the recycle place. I know the hard fact that often books are ploughed into landfills or burned because no one has use for them. I talk with older people who are struggling to let go of often generations of material goods that one one is interested in any more. These people know they need to downsize but are exhausted by the effort and grieve the realization that no one values these things any more.
J: “Letting Go” is such a great theme to bounce off of – already I’m thinking about:
– letting go of a self-image, and the t-shirt that represents it
– letting go of the pounds of yarn I will never knit
– letting go of the mouse we trapped in the basement
– letting go of an ambition and the stuff it generated
– letting go of political illusions