These Things We Love

The unpredictable bliss of salvaging a memory from a (sometimes) fruitless writing practice.

(photo credit: https://www.firstpalette.com/craft/leaf-rubbings.html)

These sagging couches, broken with the weight of brother-wrestling, and binge-watching, stained with old chocolate and fresh dog lick. They were once pristine, even measured to fit the room, with cushions like single beds, not broken up in twos or threes, representing my hope for kids’ sleepovers, now the soft landing for teenage boys sleeping late..

These dogs, scratching on the glass door to be let in and not taking no for an answer. Can’t they see my pen is moving across these lines? Don’t they know I am trying to drop into a memory or uncover a turn of phrase that could make my day, if only they would bug off?

These drugstore notebooks, not so precious, filling up with last week’s bad ideas and false starts, the same stuff from the week before, maybe a good paragraph waiting to be rediscovered, reshaped, and repurposed.

What is the point of all these scribblings that come to nothing? Is it simply in the exercise, writing as sit-up or squat, their value in how they may have strengthened me?

Or could there be buried treasures hiding, as ordinary as beach glass, to pick up from time to time, maybe bringing back a memory of an ocean’s spray, or the time a wave knocked me over and I got up laughing and soaked, wholly forgotten until I revisited the page where I wrote it?

These things. These decisions to etch in ink for my own muscle memory, later to be remembered, something found and forgotten and found again.

Like this morning, flipping through pages, finding something written at a different desk in a different city, a memory stirred by the view from the airport shuttle bus from San Franciso to Marin. As we passed Stern Grove, a memory comes alive — just for a second, like flash paper — of being twenty-six and with a friend in a grove of redwoods. And though I can’t remember the specifics, I remember there was music playing.

. . .

Laura Nicole Diamond is the award-winning author of Shelter Us: a novel, and Dance with Me: a love letter, and editor of the anthology Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood. She is working on a memoir about becoming a foster mom to a teenage asylum-seeker. MediumFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Go Slowly: Advice on Writing and Living in 2022

Pearl demands a morning belly scratch

As the days continue to spread their light over more minutes of each new day, the intensity of that light remains gentle. I’ll take that as a message: Go slowly.

Read the full post at Medium.


A question for readers: As you know, I’ve been posting on Medium and providing a link to those pieces here on my website. I would love to know what you think about this. Do you find Medium a good way to read my posts? Is it burdensome? Do you encounter a paywall? (You can read five free articles per month on Medium, or subscribe for unlimited access to all its articles.) Please let me know what you think!


Laura Nicole Diamond is the author of Shelter Us: a novelDance with Me: a love letter, and editor of the anthology Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood. She is at work on a memoir about becoming a foster mom to a teenage asylum-seeker. Follow more of her writing on Medium.

Slow

Monday morning. Here we go! Clean slate! Another week, another chance to start strong! Exercise! Writing! I will make meaningful strides in the revisions! I will get this book done!

Good intentions are slippery suckers; I know/fear that how this morning goes will set the tone for the rest of the week. So I pick a podcast to listen to as I sit on my yoga mat – multitasking, baby! — something to motivate me, light a fire.

I need inspiration. I have been castigating myself for how long I am taking to revise my work in progress. Draft 6 already, with more drafts needed. I suffer from a case of the “shoulds” – I should be done with it already. My comparing brain lights upon every author who writes faster. I have begun to say aloud that maybe it will never see the light of day. I wonder if I should prepare my heart for an “ambiguous loss,” like this author whose novel has not been bought and is wondering if it is over.

Is ever the right time to call “time of death” on an unrealized dream? Or do some dreams need to sit dormant, put away for safekeeping, until your unconscious directs you to open them again?

I pick a TEDTalk podcast called Things that Take Time. The host, Manoush Zomorodi, draws me in:

“We live in an era of instant gratification, a culture that prizes efficiency over patience, but some things, to reach their full potential, they simply cannot be rushed.”

Okaaaay. Go on…

“Optimizing or speeding them up is impossible….A more deliberate pace can be productive, if we revel in it.”

We hear from a zoologist who is over the moon about the evolutionary brilliance of the sloth, the only animal that “comes with a built-in philosophy.” We hear from a sleep scientist that we cannot rush sleep; Mother Nature has evolved our bodies to need what it needs. We hear from an architect investigating ancient, indigenous technologies, like rain forest “bridges” made from trees that were planted fifty years earlier for that eventual purpose.

I sooo want to cross the finish line with this book. I feel antsy, judgmental of my progress, and ready for a sense of completion.

But as much as I want to complete it, I want it to become what it is supposed to be. I may not even know yet what that is. So I am listening to it. I am showing up and straining to hear. I am giving it the time it takes. I will try like hell to revel in its deliberate pace.

I come back to the Mary Oliver poem that always helps me slow my breath, “Don’t Worry.”

Things take the time they take. Don’t
worry.
How many roads did Saint Augustine follow
before he became Saint Augustine?

Felicity