Looking For Where I've Been

Writing always involves a certain amount of waiting. Sometimes there is very little. Sometimes you need only wait until you are at your desk and then away you go. But just as often, you must wait. I am an impatient soul, and so this has always been the most challenging part of writing for me. When things are going poorly I watch the clock, and I can’t remember what it feels like to write something I am actually interested in, and I start writing too soon just so I can have the feeling of writing, a choice that usually leads me to write something I am not actually interested in. This makes writing feel like homework with no right answer but for which a teacher who can mark you wrong all the same.

The problem is always where I have chosen to wait. There is a friendly place within me where all my stories and blogs reside. I know I am there because it so pleasant I almost don’t care whether I write or not. Inevitably, however, I do write, because one need only stay there so long before you wish to share this friendly place with other people. It could be mistaken for a hiding place, but it is not. We hide to avoid discovery; here, we have sought just the opposite.

You would think I would never want to leave such a place, but I have, and for long periods of time. When I leave, it can seem impossible to find again. I begin to believe it is the Luxembourg of my interior life—tiny and of little significance. Yet once I am there, it feels as expansive as the sea. And still, I leave again. It is as if the house is so beautiful I must find the one who built and learn how to build one myself.

It is impossible to build such a place, and my search always leads to confusion and despair and a kind of resentment.  What is the use of it if I can’t make it myself? Such thoughts can keep me away for days and months and even years. Then I grow weary of the search and return home, mildly surprised to find the door open and inviting as ever, as if all my wandering hurt nothing, as if all my fear were instantly forgiven.

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