I began the day offline at the gym. After doing a couple of miles on the treadmill, followed by stretching and planks, I thought I would be really productive today. Exercising always clears my head, energizes me.
But I have been loathe to be online where most of my work is done. The computer does not beckon. The screen feels like exactly where I should not be.
The writing life is very different from the one I dreamed about as a kid, the one where I was surrounded by books, journals, pens that felt great in my hand, and other writers. The constant social media presence for someone who helps run a digital magazine drains me. The multiple outlets I have to pay attention to clamor like virtual pots and pans falling off the back of a truck. My inbox receives a constant stream of messages.
But I am not complaining. What I am doing is paying attention to today, this moment. Today was a great time to return to writing my blog post first draft by hand at my dining room table instead of in my office, in front of the open patio door to the sounds of birds and wind chimes. I felt grateful. Incredibly, almost unspeakably grateful.
On Saturday, I went to a women-only party. The women at the party were connected by our kids who had gone or are going to school in Roseville, Minnesota. Some of us have no kids at home anymore; some are still trotting out to get school supplies and attend teacher’s conferences. One of the threads I noticed in conversations Saturday night was the chance to do things that parenting small children does not always allow for: the career that demands many hours; the time to write, travel, volunteer; the chance to become someone other than parent. Perhaps I should say in addition to parent since that piece of us does not just shut off. These conversations were woven with gratitude, with the awareness that we have a community of lucky people who remember we are more than mother, more than Roseville, more than this small place where we are comfortable.
That awareness has been rolling around in my head ever since. The connection with real people in-person, offline, is something modern writers need to tend to. I love doing research online, running this blog, co-editing Gyroscope Review. But today I also celebrate the flesh and bones of how I spend my days.
Yes, I am grateful indeed.