A few months into the pandemic I lost my job. I wandered around, figuratively of course, for a month or so and began to feel a bit of space in my mind that hadn't been there for a long time, and then I started to write again, but this time with regularity and a kind of urgency. It seemed to just fall into place, like brushing my teeth and making the bed. I ordered a table from Amazon to be my desk. I knew exactly what I wanted: something long with plenty of space, uncluttered, no drawers...a place that could hold a candle and my little truck and a lamp, and where my laptop could sit ready for me every morning, or actually ready to work at any moment.
I had a daily running calendar and I had been saving the days that spoke to me. I had seen my daughter post those on a wall in her apartment and so I began to put them up above my desk in the room where I write, if they made the cut. By the end of 2021 my 10ft x 8ft wall was almost full of these little inspirational squares, plus a few that I made myself. It had been meaningful and full of energy and I loved that wall and loved writing in there. But at the start of 2022 it felt kind of blah. It gave me some anxiety to think about taking it down, but it was no longer serving its' purpose. Having learned that discomfort is always the way I began the process of stripping the wall bare. As I was doing this there were some that jumped out at me. SAVE ME!, they seemed to say. So I did. I spent an afternoon pulling down the squares and separating them into the weirdly easy-to-distinguish piles of keep or discard. At the end I had about a quarter of what had originally been up and those went back on the wall, like a soup condensed into a potent bouillon cube. The power of that wall is almost palpable now, and it has some kind of significance that I have yet to be able to define.
The first half of 2022 has again had a bit of a wandering feel, but in a way that is producing more angst than open space. It feels as if lots of things, big things, need my attention and concentration. Now. All of them, and at the same time. I don't know what to address first and what to put on the back burner. I hate eras like this--I tend to get paralyzed. Add in the voice that says What are you doing about ____? You're 55 years old...That voice gains in volume and mixes with the world outside our doors and I turn in circles not knowing where to land.
So the other day I walk into my room. My desk is clear, waiting. I look at the wall and I hear write the wall, and I know exactly what that means. Back in 2020 I gave myself a writing challenge--The Twelve Days of Running--from December 12th through Christmas Eve. I had to ("had to"!) write a blog post every day related to running and the holiday, and I loved that. It was challenging and satisfying. It had strict perimeters, but absolutely no rules within those perimeters, and a pushing deadline--all the elements that seem to make me come alive. Write the Wall simply means take one of these boiled down quotes/thoughts from the wall and post about it, EVERY DAY, until I write about every last one of them. It's a little daunting because it seems like there are more pressing things to address. But I know that running leads the way, and I know this hits all my criteria of what makes me come alive, so write the wall I will, starting tomorrow, for 71 days.