What I have had for the past six years, what has been constant and steady in my life is the novel I've been writing. This has been my home, the place I could always retreat to. The place I could sometimes even feel powerful...the place where I am most myself.~Lily King (From Writers and Lovers)
Eons ago, when I was new mother, a friend of mine suggested we get babysitters and attend a seminar on organizing our homes. Ideas on creating a more beautiful environment. After making the arrangements for childcare, we traveled two hours south from San Bernardino, California to La Jolla. The event was not a traditional seminar located at a hotel, but rather held in the speaker's home. She lived in a sprawling two-story house that overlooked the ocean. She graciously invited us into a space she had carved out in her living room set up with folding chairs. A grand piano sat positioned to our left, and a view of the sparkling ocean lay directly in front of us. The speaker, perhaps in her late fifties or early sixties, stood almost six feet tall. Silver hair brushed the shoulders of her expensive blazer, fitted out with enormous shoulder pads so popular in the nineties. Her lecture provided detailed recommendations on ordering our homes. She then provided a tour of her house, opening drawers and closets, pointing with elegant, tapered fingers to examples of her organizational tips.
I don't remember this woman's name. All I recall is that on the drive home, my friend and I lamented that we didn't have the ability to do what she'd done. Didn't have the money. Didn't have space. For heaven's sake, her closets were the size of bedrooms in our apartments. I remember the one tip I did remember. "Feel free to use all your unmatched tableware at dinner parties," she exclaimed as she lifted her hair from the giant shoulder pad and flipped the shining strands onto her back. "Eclectic is marvelous!"
I'm not sure why I had the memory of going to that long-ago seminar. I think, perhaps, that it had something to do with how I've thought about my wriitng life of late. As I've had more time now that I'm retired, I've searched out resources for online classes, magazines where I can make submissions and i've looked for tools to help me increase my presence on social media. It has seemed a lot like visiting the beachside residence in La Jolla. I don't have the money. I don't have the techinical ability. I don't have an agent like so many other authors. I realized I was sidetracked. I had strayed too far from what delights me--the actual writing. Writing centers me. Energizes me. I would embrace "eclectic tableware," so to speak. So what if I don't have an agent? I could use what I have. I made a list of action steps to take, then began.
I'm now 5,000 words into a new novel. I submitted a "scene" from the new writing to a flash fiction publication. They'll use the piece in their literary magazine in January.
It seems that following the trail back to what delights, is a good place to begin at a creative stuck point. What delights you? Move forward onto that pathway, dear reader.