So here’s the thing: there are no ordinary days, just as there are no ordinary people, no ordinary lives.
I am sitting here in a light pink terry bathrobe with my second cup of coffee. I am typing (not hand writing, which is how I was taught to approach creative writing). I have not written my Julia Cameron’s morning pages (3 pages of hand-written stream of consciousness). I am not wearing a writing hat. I have not lit a candle to mark my time at the page. I am not in the “writing cottage” (our garden shed).
Instead I am here as myself, not yet showered, at my work desk, typing to no one really, unless you happen to be reading this.
I started this project yesterday, on Mother’s Day. My ex-husband (whom I never referred to as my “ex-husband” before now, but those were his words to me two days ago, when we spoke and he offered this out-of-the-blue suggestion to me: “Pack away those old stories. Put them in a big box, tape it up, put it in a closet, and write a sign ‘Do Not Open Until 2016′”
“When you write, Colleen, it’s like you have this 50-pound pack on your back. It’s Mount Holyoke, its Nicholas, its “The House on Almond Street”, it’s “Gingertime”. Let them all go, for now. You don’t need them.”
He went on: “You needed all those stories to get where you are right now. But you don’t need them anymore. Let them go. See what happens”
I wonder at this. I am not 100% convinced. My ex-husband has not talked to me like this in so many years, I cannot count them. Can I trust his advice? Is he offering me this great procrastination device, like sitting on the couch, shoving tortilla chips in my mouth, watching TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress? Hmm.
I don’t know. And I haven’t packed any boxes yet (and yes, there will be more than 1 box, dear god). But I did start the blog he suggested to me (this one), a place to show up everyday, and write imperfect prose or poetry or whatever, instead of morning pages, instead of something with my name printed on it, on a pretty book jacket in Anderson’s Bookstore where we met 26 years ago. Weirder than that, I took a video of myself immediately after, crazy and I look well, like a 48-year old mom with no make up and my Nana’s English nose.
So that’s that. That’s the dare. That’s the New Blank Page project. What do you think?
I hope you dare too, and risk letting me know. I’d appreciate the guidance.