“People who are serious about pursuing their vocation look for purchase, not for a map of the future or a guided way up the cliff. They try not to cling too closely to what seems to bar their way, but look for where the present point of contact actually resides. No matter what it looks like.” David Whyte in Three Marriages

It’s the end of my class with Lisa Romeo. It is fitting that outside all is frigid temperatures and solid white landscape. I feel bound by the walls of my house and my mind.
The more I read the more I wish I could write in the way that books light me up, stoke the pilot light inside me and blow that steady breeze that ignites the roaring flame. Today I laid on the couch under my new red blanket, scraping my bottom lip between my teeth, flaring my nostrils, consumed by Emma Rathbone’s lighter-fluid prose:
“Mrs. Dandridge is a pile of a person who smells like someone’s weird house….She makes a big deal out of getting up and sitting down….She is also in the business of making me want to punch things. The way she says my name, all smug and unwinding, as if she has me summed up and pinned down like a display beetle, makes me want to punch the sky. And then punch the sun for crowding the sky. And then punch a door and maybe a stepmom.”
Lisa has taught me much this past four weeks and I have absolutely devoured her knowledge. Every time my inbox alerts me that she has returned some of my work with her notes, I first breathe and remind myself that I need this feedback and it serves to make me a better writer. Generally, then, I concoct some reason to be busy checking my Facebook status or asking my children if they need a snack or transferring laundry from the washer to the dryer before I can come back and actually read her critiques. Because I know that I don’t live up to my own standards. I am not yet the writer I want to be.
And now that the class is over and I feel stuck, not able to busy myself with my regular routine of taking the girls to school and making lunches and walking the dog, I have found the David Whyte quote I squirreled away months ago. And I am reminded to just find the spot where I am right now and use that.

5 replies
  1. Carrie Wilson Link
    Carrie Wilson Link says:

    Still haven't made it down the pile to that book, but am very much looking forward to it! Maybe you just need another session with Lisa? She sounds like just what you need!

  2. Deb Shucka
    Deb Shucka says:

    I loved getting to see David Whyte's words here. It sounds to me like you're in that place where you're absorbing your new learning, that tipped uncomfortable place where the old is revealed as finished and the new isn't quite settled in yet. Exactly where you need to be.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    My dearest friend, I am glad that these classes are helping you to reach the higher level of perfection that you are looking for but you are already a talented writer, with your own personal style. Your writing is vivid and passionate, clear, true and honest. This is what I enjoy reading. When I read your blog, reviews, emails or the few pages of your book that I read, I am happy to read you, again with your own style.
    Writing has been a strong medium of expression for me these last few months, but I am not a writer and I know my writing will most likely stop the way it started, one day when I don't feel this urge of putting into words what I so strongly feel. I am just temporarily borrowing writing from the true writers.
    Taking your your quote from David Whyte, I am neither looking for purchase nor a map of the future, just for my own need. You write for yourself but also for the enjoyment of your readers, you are a true writer, willing to share your words with the world.

  4. graceonline
    graceonline says:

    I know exactly how it feels not to be the writer one hopes to become, but I must say, when I read your blog, I often think,"That's what I want to say! She gets the words right."

    And this, as you quoted, "They try not to cling too closely to what seems to bar their way, but look for where the present point of contact actually resides." Yes. "The present point of contact." To keep making the connection, sparking.

    Thank you for this reminder as I prepare to begin again, picking up where I last left the work. Your words give me courage.


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