“Have I got everything, am I ready to go?
Is it gonna be great, is it gonna be the best time,
Or am I just saying so?
Am I ready to go?
What do I hear when I say I hear the call of the road?”
–Dar Williams, Traveling Again
I revisited Dar Williams’ “Honesty Room” for the first time in ages yesterday; it had been years since I’d listened to it in full, and more than half my lifetime since I first heard her sing – an elfin waif with a big guitar and hypnotic voice pouring out wisdom in a coffee house in Corvallis. Some things just seem to come back into your life when the time’s right.
Halfway back to the farm from a jaunt down to Palo Alto, on a stopoff in Ashland for the night. Sipping coffee upstairs at Bloomsbury Books and trying to figure out how to start writing again. It’s been over a year since I’ve put the final period on any kind of writing and sent it out to the world, and somehow, this too feels like the right time to let writing back into my life again.
But it’s harder than I thought. Seven or so years ago, before I’d published anything, I was sitting in a front row listening to Neil Gaiman say that you need to “[a]ssume that you have a million words inside you that are absolute rubbish and you need to get them out before you get to the good ones.” The thing is, I think the rubbish generator keeps going. So if you stop for a little, there’s more rubbish you need to get out before you get to good words again. So, patient readers, apologies for any and all upcoming rubbish.
I’m not going to try to fill you in on the past year, not all at once. It had some magnificent moments, truly crowning achievements, and some utter heartbreak and despair. I’m healthy (for a 57 year old); Devon and the kids are thriving. Improbably, the farm is thriving, though I’m trying to find ways to make it less of an all-consuming part of my life. I’ve found myself in improbable new corners of the earth, walking trails so beautiful I’ve had to stop and catch my breath at their grandeur. And I’ve lost an inordinate number of friends this past year. Some went quietly, some in ways I still can’t bear to contemplate. There is so much to tell, so many stories. But they are stories that deserve to be told well. So please be patient as I try to remember how this “writing” thing works.