Tuesday, January 27, 2015
But I was serious, more or less. I had awakened one day to the (obvious) realization that all the anxiety and worry that has accompanied my every waking hour has gotten me precisely nowhere. No better positioned as an author. No higher up on the chain of corporate commands. No richer and no younger.
What would happen if I stopped chasing the world and let it come to me? I wondered. What if I said that, for the next twelve months at least, I will proactively pursue—nothing. I will live my days fulfilling pre-existing responsibilities to family, friends, clients, editors, and students. I will finish the book-length projects that were promised, but not angst over new ones. I will do the work that arises of its own accord, write the columns I love writing, write the reviews that I love writing, teach the students I love teaching. Leave the in-progress novel where it is, simply in-progress, off to the side, rising like yeast. Expect nothing. Push back. Wait.
Leave the days to fate and to chance and to all the other forces that are at play out there.
A few weeks into this new frame of mind, and I can report this: Life is infinitely sweeter. In the hours I once spent searching for new work or scribbling novel lines, I'm reading—books I've chosen, books that assuage, alert, and teach me, books that I share here, books that are broadening my vocabulary. In the hours that once were noisy with demand I'm engaged in deeper conversations with new friends and old ones—about life, children, teaching, stories that matter. I've let that part of my mind that held onto disappointments or perceived betrayals, that wondered why not, that couldn't quite parse the hurts go white as today's snow.
I trust in the tomorrow I can't see.