After two weeks I ease back into this rhythm. I hear the kids playing in another part of the house, their distant echoes comforting. I hear the traffic going by on James Street. I hear Leo begin to cry, and I hear Maile’s footsteps pass along the creaky floorboards in the hall, and then Leo stops crying. The tree in the back yard makes a shushing sound as autumn arrives.
There is always too much to write, and there is never enough. The words are easy to come by, and they elude me.
Today someone asked me what I do for a living. The answer comes quickly now, and without even thinking I say, “I’m a writer. I co-write and ghost-write books for people.” But what does that mean, actually? I know, I know, I’m over-thinking things.
But that still doesn’t seem like enough, even though it’s what I wanted for so many years. It still feels like I’m waiting for something else, something new.
* * * * *
We are, all of us, waiting for something. I’m waiting to hear back from various people regarding a book proposal I sent out. My kids are waiting for their school day to be over. My parents are waiting to sell their house. I have friends waiting for a baby to arrive, waiting for a relationship to work out, waiting to hear back regarding a job. In winter, the tree waits for spring.
In my experience, waiting can be harmless. It can be something that lies in the background of life, something I know is there but pay little attention to.
But it can also easily paralyze me. Life can become about the waiting, and if I’m not careful everything besides what I’m waiting for falls to the side. While waiting to hear back regarding this book proposal, my life can easily devolve into a series of meaningless activities, all of which feed the waiting: checking email, checking Facebook, re-reading the manuscript, etc etc etc. And even if I escape these activities that surround the waiting, my mind can still turn over and over on itself, wearing a rut difficult to escape from.
What are you waiting for?
* * * * *
I take a deep breath. I sit in silence for five minutes, just five minutes because that’s all it takes to jump the rut of waiting. That’s all it takes to find a new rhythm, slower breathing, a form of peace that doesn’t always make sense. Five minutes sitting on the floor with my back against the door frame, and in the silence I remember the things that are beautiful in my life: the sound of feet creaking floorboards, the sound of children’s voices, the sound of autumn arriving. These are things here and now, things I don’t have to wait for.