Focusing on the Process

Dear P,

I remember you once said that you wanted out blog to be more real. I knew what you meant, but I hadn’t figured out how. Filters surround our society like pretty scabs. It’s hard to be honest.

This break, I read Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones”. Natalie Goldberg is a poet, which is interesting, because besides a brief stint in seventh grade I have never been much of a poet. The most valuable thing in the book is her advice to keep an ugly notebook and do timed writings every day. Since December 31st, I have filled nine pages.

I put up an enormous fight to begin this notebook. I wrote about how writing for myself didn’t make any sense, because I thought all writing should be a conversation (hence why I love this blog). I wrote about how I thought a diary was myopic and a waste of time. Then, I wrote for several pages about my disgust for my brother’s man-boobs when I was fifteen years old. My pettiness and vanity shone through like never before. I realized why Goldberg recommends keeping a diary like this and not letting yourself stop. You can cut through your own bullshit when you are forced to have a conversation with yourself. It stops being about how many likes or views  you get, or if so-and-so will publish you, and starts being about how honest you can be with yourself. It becomes about the process, and not the end success story, of writing.

Yesterday was January 1st. A lot of people resolved to run a marathon in 2014. Many of these people will never achieve that goal, because many of these people hate running. You have to love it. I started running because I have the hand-eye coordination of a toaster and I enjoy the endorphin high. I resolved to run a marathon last year because it sounded impressive (again, pettiness and vanity). I may have started training for the wrong reasons, but through the training I learned to love running. Even if you listen to a book on tape or music while you run, it’s hard to pull your mind away from the step, step, step. I like the isolation of it- it’s a form of meditation. If I fart, no one cares. I am too fast.

I am learning that everything is like that. The step, step, step of running is like the sound of my fingers on the keyboard or my pen on my notebook. I am learning to love the process of writing as opposed to worrying about the end result. We had the conversation on the last day of 2013 about how you wanted to love the process of learning, like you used to, without thinking about the grades. You want to focus on the process. I don’t know how to ignore the grades, but I admire and respect you so much for wanting to enjoy learning. I think just the realization that you want it will help you with your journey. The realization that you want it, and the practice, which you won’t escape anyway.

I love you,

I can’t wait to hear about how you biked down a volcano today,

E

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