For a long time now, I’ve been a bit curved. Bent toward my son, to better understand what he needs. Bent over the blank page. Turned inward, as I listen for what is next.
It is good to straighten up, to lengthen the gaze. Breathe.
Some of you know about my fascination with the river. It’s an image that won’t let me go. The river represents so many things. It’s the creative force that runs inside us, if we can only slow down and listen. It’s the flow of words that wants to come out, if we will just let it. It’s that inner current of grief or joy, confusion or wisdom, rage or humor or tenderness. Some days it’s all of these at once.
The river reminds me that I’m not in charge. That my writing and my life are governed, in the end, by forces greater than my own. That even when things seem to make no sense, I am being taken somewhere, led by the current. That my most important work is to say “Yes.”
It’s not easy saying yes. Especially when we had something different in mind. Which is pretty much most of the time.
In the past few years, the river has led me to some pretty surprising places. From my beloved San Francisco to the strangeness of Silicon Valley. To five addresses in eighteen months, for all kinds of crazy reasons. Home is elusive, yet a quiet voice whispers, You are where you need to be.
Parenting, too, has pulled me in wildly unexpected directions. Never in a million years did I imagine I’d homeschool my child. I once called the idea my own personal nightmare. Then again, I never imagined having a boy quite like ours. (For his privacy, I’ll call him Jack.) I’ll share stories from that journey here.
And then there is writing. My touchstone, my inner heart. It is here, for me, that the lessons of the river are most clear. Be still, the water says. Listen and let go. That’s how I find myself beginning to write a memoir about life with my son, and also, this blog. I hope the blog will be a place for warm community, creative conversation, and the sharing of ideas about writing, parenting, quirky kids, and more.
To kick it off, a question. Has writing, or life, pulled you in unexpected directions? What has helped you, in the words of Thich Nat Hahn, go like a river?