12 July, 2012
I'm at Hamline this week for my Mfa residency. Almost done--with the residency and with the program. I'm going through a lot of changes in my life. Changes in my career, my location, my direction. Add to that mix being in graduate school and you have a recipe for stress-induced hysteria. Thankfully that didn't happen but I did do something else. Hamline has amazing landscaping. Everywhere you go are towering trees, beautiful flowers, wild herbs, and rabbits. I went to a quiet place on campus. You have to walk on the grass to get to it. As I sat on the bench I looked at the wildflowers, and the waterfall and did something I haven't done in a long time. I took my shoes off and lay my feet in the grass. If you're not a nature person its okay. I think this will still make sense. I am very much an outdoors person. I own two pairs of hiking boots to prove it. Yet I have not been hiking or spent any considerable time outdoors in over a year. A part of who I was I just ignored because I was so busy. When my feet touched those blades of grass I almost cried. No. I did cry. I missed that feeling. I realized I had not only ignored the outdoor person in me, the real me, but in doing so I had hurt my writing. The thing about writing is that you take experiences, and observations and you put them into what goes on the page. If you deny part of yourself, or you deny yourself the chance to have observations and experiences, then your writing becomes flat and lifeless. My feet soaked up life and renewed purpose from those blades of grass. I made a promise to myself. To remember who I was. To do what I needed to do to have more moments like that. Still with me? What if your a blades of grass person, but thoses around you aren't? They're concrete people. They see the forest and shriek. You see the forest and imagine all the elves, and unicorns that must live there. Don't worry. Love them as they are. They should love you as you are. If not, don't worry. Be true to you. Gently remind those naysayers that God created you this way and lace up your hiking boots and hit that trail. Go write an adventure.