small steps

graffiti on a post: where do you want to start?It’s supposed to be 80 degrees in Oakland today — only in the low 60s in Dublin (Ireland), though. We have to keep track of these things sometimes.

The puppy won’t settle. She thinks it’s time for breakfast, and keeps pushing at my hands. She finds a treat on the table, and responds to my Off, but then paws at my leg to give her the treat for doing a good job. Smartie.

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In my dream, a bunch of us were going somewhere, like tour. We were headed to Africa, we were at a big airport waiting for a small plane. I realized, after the first leg of the flight, that not only didn’t I have my passport with me, it didn’t have my new name on it, and so I wouldn’t be able to travel internationally. Then I found the passport in my bag, and I handed it, my driver’s license and tickets or some other paperwork off to someone (Kathleen? Someone else on the tour?) and they were supposed to tell me if I’d be able to use it all together to travel with. But then whoever had the paperwork didn’t get back to me, we were hastying around the airport, trapped, the plane was about to leave.

There’s a lot more that I’m not remembering. That’s true about dreams, and the rest of life, too.

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I almost never feel like I have enough time for my writing. And yet, on the days when I could devote hours to writing or editing/other writing work itself, I generally come up with something else to do — of course, that’s the time to plan out next year’s workshop schedule, study for the GRE, clean up the deck, research new movies to add to the netflix queue, do a bunch of training with the dog. All of those things are necessary (well, maybe except the netflix one). None of them are writing.

That’s why I like short assignments (like Anne Lamott talks about), time limits, and generative writing workshops. Almost all the work I’ve performed or had published in the last 9 years began in a workshop — began someplace where I was focused only on writing, and just had enough time to devote to one idea for 20 minutes.

I struggle against time limits, feel constrained and endlessly put-upon; I never have enough time for this true love of mine! This might be true — and yet, in the short assignments that this blog makes way for, and that we do in the workshops, I’ve done so much more actual writing than in longer, multiple-hour sessions.

We create a little bit at a time, whether that’s art, craft, relationship, change, ourselves. I know you know this — I’m reminding myself here.

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We all know that quote about the longest journey beginning with a single step. It continues one small step at a time. Turn around for a minute today, take a look at how far you’ve come. Maybe let that be your write for this morning — what was the first step that you took toward your dream? Does your character have a big change they want to make? What’s the one small step they can take next toward that change? What small step could they take that they don’t realize, maybe, will be they one that takes them toward their dream? 10 minutes — give that to yourself today.

Small steps. Thanks for continuing to move forward, yesterday and today, too. Thanks for knowing that standing still is a step sometimes, and sometimes going backward is the right step. Thanks for your movement, your compassion and patience, your creation, your words.