Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Letting It Sit There

I read this morning’s email writing prompt* and the inspiration started tickling around my ears.

Or maybe that was just stray wisps of hair.

But there was something calling, calling, calling me. And I let it sit there as I made my way through my morning exercise routine.

I paid attention to each step of the workout until about halfway through. It all comes mechanically now; I’ve done it so often. My mind started soaring to other parts of the universe, ignoring the mess, noise, and physical discomfort of teaching my body discipline.

I needed to finish my workout, so I let my thoughts just sit there, teasing, trembling, tossing and turning.

As my breath returned, I passed through the motions of cooldown. Sit, breathe, breathe, think. My body calmed and my brain took control of my fingers. The thoughts came quickly, fluidly. I paused as I realized a connection between a previous journal entry and my current ideas. My journal was in the back room. The conviction that I needed it was insistent. I got up and left the piece, promising a quick return.

The journal excerpt fit like a long lost piece of a jigsaw puzzle, right in the satisfying middle of the landscape of thought. It was a thing of beauty.

I went back to where I had left off, quickly finishing the first draft. I knew it wasn’t complete. With my whole heart, as eager as I was to display my work, it was still missing something. I knew what had to be done. I had to let it sit there.

And sit there. 

Sit there, until it would call me back.

It was lunchtime, and the little ones were hungry. I made the obligatory peanut butter and honey sandwiches for my sons, apples with peanut butter dip for my daughter.

The piece called me again. Welcome back. Here was the muse; she just needed a break. She needed a lot of space to think and play and eventually come unhurriedly back to the point. I had to give her kudos for creativity.

For the love of everything, the entry was still incomplete. My daughter wanted to make a craft. “Not now; do we have to do it now? I’m in the middle of something.”

She searched for the instructions and I did my best to assist her. It was hard, for my heart was wrapped in the message I was trying to type out but kept getting distracted from. It was so hard to let it sit there, let it sit; it would probably sit there until bedtime.

There is method to the Spirit’s chaos. “Trust me” came the reassuring thought as I wrestled with the mother/writer roles.

I promise you, God has a sense of humor, because crafts and I are generally not friends until we’ve been forced to spend a lot of time together. This time was effort, error, effort, imperfection, more effort... epiphany!

Back to the poor, neglected page of heartfelt words, but now with a binding theme. A theme that lurked from the beginning, but it took a paper and scissors and a persistent child to extract from the abstract. Inspiration comes in all sizes and volumes. My daughter and I make an incredible idea-team. We’ll be unstoppable someday soon. Wait and see.

My piece is still not finished. Call it a gut feeling if you like. It’s lingering at the precipice where it will either learn to fly, or fall and be dashed. Yet for all the painstaking effort, there is a lack that my heart can recognize but not define. The one that says “hold on for a bit longer.” It is a good work, but it needs refinement. I am close to completing it, but it’s still in the “not yet.” It is beautiful now, but it will be much more beautiful soon, soon, and very almost probably penultimately perfect. So close you can breath its fragrance and hear its glory song.

The hardest part for me is letting it sit there. 

Letting it sit there. 

Letting it sit there.


  1. Well, now you've built up our suspense. If the story is half as good as the story about your story, then we're in for a treat! :)

  2. Great post, Jamie. It's not an easy thing to write in the pieces of our days, but we do what we have to, right? :-)

  3. Haha. Well, I cannot make any promises. It might be more like "it's such a dirty ol' shame that all you get from [editing a piece] is [another piece.]" I promise I'll publish it soon, whether I can perfect it or not. ;)

  4. Exactly. It's worth the chaos, though, isn't it? (Most of the time...)


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