I sat down to write tonight, not for this blog, but for the bigger writing I'm doing in my life--for a writing workshop I've become a part of---and eventually, possibly, for a book. Last week, after barely making the deadline, I submitted a dozen pages describing my father's death. Of what I learned from being there with him in the weeks before he died and during those strange, miraculous moments where worlds rush together and spirit is tangible in the room.
It was a good piece, and I was grateful for being told that, as there are many dark moments during the process of writing where it is irritating and fruitless and frustrating. But they had a lot of questions about the information I didn't include. About my relationship to my sisters, to my mother: who often told me growing up, "If you had just come at a different time, everything would be different between me and your father," and about my beliefs, and the beliefs of my dad. I left the workshop, my head spinning, and watched the sun set into the lake as I drove home.
Since then I've been struggling with the realization that if I really want to write, it will be longer than a dozen pages. Longer than several dozen. And this terrifies me, because of the commitment, the challenge, and the vulnerability of writing so much. And yet, tonight, doing art, I realized that it is like all the other things I do. I can't know where it will lead, until I begin it. And so, reluctantly, I do.
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manor of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. "