Every day feels at once sufficient and on the cusp of the next great thing. I have found a schedule and proven to myself over the past two weeks that I can, in fact, work diligently as a full time writer from home. That’s the sufficient part. Add in the possibility that every time I check my mail there could be a response from any one of ten places, and life starts to feel perpetually eager. Thankfully, the meditation helps me notice the excitement and hope, but not feel slave to it.
It seems worthwhile to say that I consider the act of reading part of my job. David Long, one of the professors at Pacific University, often told us that we are responsible for what we don’t read. Meaning, it’s your fault what you don’t know, so get on it. He often used this speech as a preamble to passing out his list of his top 100 American works of fiction and top 100 International works of fiction. He was none too serious when he told us to read everything on that list.
Another part of my job is listening. There is a voice in the back of my mind that narrates everything in a near steady stream. But sometimes that voice shifts and becomes something other than my own rote ramblings. First and foremost, it has a rhythm that is instantly different than the constant narration. Second, it has a definite and decided tone—different for each story or essay. Third, it catches me off guard. Learning how to hear this voice when it speaks up is important, and fostering a balanced life that feeds the voice is equally so. Elizbeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, gave an absolutely spectacular 20-minute talk titled “A Different Way to Think About Genius” at the TED conference. It’s worth watching.
The other part of my job is to allow for possibilities. I must allow for the possibility that I could move to Wisconsin. Or Hawai’i. Or Michigan. Or Illinois. Or Massachusetts. Or Pennsylvania. I must allow for the fact that I can succeed at whatever I put my mind to. I must allow for the fact that even staying in North Carolina would have its benefits. In other words, I must allow myself to dream shamelessly.
Could there be a better job description?