Day one in 2020

Screen Shot 2020-01-01 at 07.41.28DayOneJournal(njl@bloomwords.com)Wow. Look at all that blank space, with the beautiful stylized date at the top left. WED 01 JAN 2020. And the time is now 07:42. A time for answers. But what are the questions?

The prompt/tip at the top of this page is:
“By writing about emotional or stressful experiences, your ability to concentrate can increase.”

That much I know is true from past experience. I also know that writing with the knowledge that someone will be seeing the product afterwards can cause truth to be picked-and-chosen, ugly facts to to become sugar-coated, and some emotional and stressful experiences not to be written about at all.

This past year and a half of near-daily blogging (writing, then hitting publish) has perhaps enacted some massive shifts in me.

(Writing for an audience. Can’t seem to help myself. That said, I will not publish this. I need the purge.)

===

Wow. Look at all that blank space, with the beautiful stylized date at the top left. WED 01 JAN 2020. And the time is now 07:42. A time for answers. But what are the questions?

The DayOne prompt/tip at the top of this page is:
“By writing about emotional or stressful experiences, your ability to concentrate can increase.”

That much I know is true from past experience. Near-daily journalling, for nearly three years straight, had, by the end of winter 2018, brought me to what I experienced as a relative state of awakened consciousness.

Productivity levels were at an all-time high, likely due to my freed-up mental space and newfound ability to concentrate. I was able to make decisions, finally. For years prior to that I would agonize over any decision, no matter how small. I would do this in a very obsessive-compulsive kind of way. When painting the kitchen white one year, I took weeks to decide on which shade of white, endlessly moving colour samples around a room. Nantucket White, Dove White, Cloud White? Which should it be? Which sounded best? What would so-and-so think was best? I know it sounds ridiculous but I was like this with most things.

Daily private thought-purging brought me to a state of being in which I finally learned to value myself a little more, and the opinions of others a lot less. This was a necessary step for someone with massive self-esteem issues and an intense desire to please everyone around her at all times. I started to learn what I, myself, really, truly wanted, rather than constantly wondering what others wanted of me.

So yes, I know that writing about emotional experiences can alleviate suffering and aid in ability to concentrate.

I also know that writing with the knowledge that someone will be seeing the product afterwards can cause truth to be picked-and-chosen, ugly facts to to become prettily-clothed, and some emotional and stressful experiences not to be written about at all.

This past year and a half of near-daily blogging (writing, then hitting publish, usually within seconds afterward)* has perhaps enacted some massive shifts in me. I’ve become used to the fear of rejection, the possibility of seeing view numbers rise and “likes” remain at zero or low in the stats; I’ve learned more about the blogging world than I probably wanted to know, and I question whether it’s time for me to retreat back to my inner cave, nearly every single time I post.

But while obsessive perfectionism and FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) once prevented me from ever fulfilling my dream of becoming a blogger (I would never admit this to myself, subconsciously thinking, as I did, of blogging as being far inferior to authoring books; but yes, I wanted to be a blogger, deep down), the desire to connect with other like-minded souls kept me obsessively hitting the publish button once I’d gotten started.

(Writing for an audience. Can’t seem to help myself. That said, I will not publish this. I need the purge.)

===
She has written something, suddenly realized she’s again writing for an audience, then gone up the page, travelled back down it again, re-written it for an audience. This is the way she sculpts a piece of writing. And always she has begun with the hair on the top of a subject’s head. Never knowing what face, what body, will appear under that single hair. Always expanding, clarifying, adding the detail of a pocket on a dress, a dimple in an elbow, a hint of a smile in the corner of a mouth, a tear in the corner of an eye… or simply rails on a utilitarian but spiral staircase.

She stops to smile now, herself, but only in her mind. She is alone, completely alone, her body does not need to move, other than her fingers, her body can remain in pleasant, comfortable, relaxed stasis. Not please anyone.

Her head begins to tingle. She has, finally, entered the Now. Now she may truly begin to write, and for herself, herself only. And all the world becomes her wonder, and her delight.

The tree outside the skylight, long dark limbs pushing through the fog of the new-year sky, a sky which only eight hours and twenty-one minutes before this very moment had been so clear that every star and every distant hamlet streetlamp could be seen, the black velvet of the earth’s horizon strewn with small jewels, twinkling amber and ruby and zirconium bright, and then the sky, above, fathomless navy, Orion mastering the space between the tree and the house, the dippers seen as joyful ladles reaching up and down from the northeast, and them, us, the six of us, on the road, for better or for worse, in the clarity of this lonesome night, our bellies full from homemade oliebollen,** banging with wooden spoons on pots and pot lids, clanging, clanging, then seeing very far away a few small fireworks, lit by distant neighbours, hearing the pop and whistle of the smoking lights as they rise toward the stars, expire down to earth.

We each bang out a rhythm, a kind of individual music, something we hope the stars can hear, if not the neighbours; something we hope will make its ephemeral but particular mark upon the air, just as the bells of the village church tower do every hour on the hour, pulsing through the particles, available to be heard for a moment in time, then quiet again.

The answers arise in the quiet spaces between the clanging. But first, the questions.

 

***

*across three currently-active WordPress blogs and before that, on Medium

**oliebollen are Dutch New Year’s treats very similar to donuts or beignets, served fresh and hot, with dusted sugar.

A bit of meta-nonfictional fun for the morning. Happy new year, everyone! I have absolutely loved getting to know some of you and your blogs; it has brought me such a feeling of community, friendship, love, and kindred-spirithood. Thank you. 💛🙏🌱☀️ xo Nadine Julia L.

9 thoughts on “Day one in 2020

  1. I love this! Wow! Did I say: Wow! I love how you have chosen to write this. To be honest, I didn’t want it to end I was enjoying it so much. (Oh well, nothing lasts forever lol ) I love all of the you that shows through in your writing, whatever form it takes. It also feels like kind of a privilege to be able to connect with you through your writing and the interactions that sometimes occur between us. And last, but not least: HAPPY NEW YEAR! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t really explain how much your comment means… I felt very ok publishing this in the morning, then by nightfall I felt hopeless about it… like perhaps it was a TL;DR (I knew when posting it I could have made it far more likeable by removing the first two sections, but in my view that would have removed its point, which was to teach something to those who might feel blocked in their writing, or who might wonder about process) but I feel like you have understood what I tried to do here, and it honestly means the world to me to see your comment this morning. I can’t thank you enough.

      Your About page is just marvellous by the way. I viewed it from the front-end (outside WP reader) and there’s a glitch that prevents me from “liking” posts that way, but it is just wonderful and inspiring, and I believe, just the kind of inspiration I needed to see today… I have such a hard time writing “about” myself and/or teaching directly, yet this is what I long to do, perhaps like many fellow bloggers; so yes, I write myself in to each post I suppose, a kind of showing-not-telling. But your About page just is so beautifully written and describes things in such a direct and clear way. Your opening statement: “The reason for this blog is simple really. I care. I care about others, all others, not just those in my immediate circle of family and friends…” This is such a simple and relatable way of putting it.

      I think we are kindred spirits. 💛🙏

      And wonderful to know your ordination name, Samten; all this time I thought your WordPress username was 5am (as in the number 5, time of morning) and wasn’t sure how to call you. :))

      Dear Samten, thank you so very, very much for this huge ray of sunshine you’ve just brought me, it’s the best new year’s gift this blog could have received, and certainly saved its existence, for at least one more day. ☀️🌻

      Happy new year, with much gratitude. A lotus for you 🌷

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Eek. Discipline? Used to be. Then it became addiction. 😅But thanks Matthew. I’ll take whatever I can get. 😉And thanks for your time in reading it; always happy to see you here. 😊

      Like

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