At the end of September, I retreated. I spent four magical days in Albuquerque, New Mexico surrounded by other authors, learning and editing and talking and listening and laughing and writing and just being… still. Which is something I’ve talked a lot about here lately– this idea of rest and stillness, and the fact that it seems simultaneously necessary and a bit out of reach.
Leading up to the trip, I was very aware of what hadn’t happened since I attended last year. Most specifically that I hadn’t finished a book. I felt a little queasy about admitting I was still working on it. That it had been a slow year. That I still wasn’t quite sure where the whole thing was going. And then suddenly I was in the Atlanta airport and there were familiar faces. People that I had become accustomed to seeing only as tiny square profile pictures were right there, in person. Giving hugs. And I knew instantly that this was going to be everything I needed.
Post retreat, Jessica Topper, wrote a lovely reflection in which she described the experience as “the care and feeding of writers.” I keep coming back to that phrase. About how really when I talk about rest and stillness, I think I’m talking about being kind to myself and seeking experiences that nourish instead of tearing down. I didn’t sleep all that much more than usual in Albuquerque, but I was heard, understood and encouraged. And I have rested. Now to finish that book …
I was just scrolling through the pictures on my phone and found some from our trip to Portland. I had the thought: that was something really awesome we did last year. Except we went in March. As in March 2016. Six months ago.
Moments before this I was reflecting on the fact that next week I would be headed back to Albuquerque for a writing retreat and thinking how it certainly didn’t seem like it had been a year since the last one.
There are 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86,400 seconds in every day. The same amount of time, no matter how it’s measured. So how is it that is can feel so different? Has there been so much going on these last six months that it seems like more time must have passed (as in: surely, all that could NOT happened in just six months)? Or is the time since Albuquerque shortened by the fact I’ve kept up with friends online and feel like I just saw them? Perhaps a little of both?
Or maybe none of either.
Maybe tomorrow Portland will seem like yesterday and Albuquerque light years away. Time passes, fast or slow. And maybe it doesn’t matter how close or far away events of the past seem. Yes, it matters that we made those moments and have those memories, but I think maybe what matters more, is moving on to make the next moment. The next connection. The next adventure.
I just spent a long weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a writer’s retreat. I had never been to New Mexico. Or to a writer’s retreat. I had no idea what to expect from either. Both were amazing. Continue reading →