"But you're writing, that's the main thing, baby girl." Did someone actually just say that to me?
It's a hell of a time in the history entwined with your life to become average. Good jobs are going, you're not very young, and we're competing in a global marketplace. As if this latter were a new thing. What had hidden it before?
I was not at all a grade-grubber. I was a grade hungerer, lover, and needer of a grade prosthesis. If I didn't get a good grade, I would never go contest it. I would, instead, wear the bad grade as a skin that never let my nervous system rest. The givers of the grade appeared in dreams in which I struggled to approach them; they did not seem to care if I did or didn't approach them.
Having decided that words were not the answer, and that, since most answers are in words, there could not be any answer, I stumbled on a time when the staying-present energy had drained—or ebbed, receded almost by intent, to make some room for something else. I was not content, not contained. What they call "executive function" had kicked up its feet on the desk and abandoned the something important and urgent that always engaged it; its chair was tipping back and very near its tipping point. Because it was unseasonably lovely, I went on the deck and listened to the city sky, its orchestra of vague and trenchant engines. Words started to fill me. In the space created against my conscious will, these words seemed to want to put themselves together in a way that came from all my body, all my thoughts, perceptions, feelings. These were rooted and right as language very rarely is for me on a day-to-day basis: either because I am trying too often to make it conform to my "should" frame of reference, and to further make it carry out enunciation and enforcement of the "should" mandate, which necessarily entails judgment (of emotions, of the body, of the lack of focus which I'm learning is the prelude to my best writing); or because, in my meditation practice, I try to give the body its chance to assert itself and form a friendly circle, hands joined with thought and feeling but not in a solid grip with them. . .just light intermittent touches of the fingertips, and in so doing ask words to sit silent and dark outside the radius of the campfire. I think willing myself average is the way I may be able to allow more of these moments, unambitious and disorienting as the overachiever in me finds them to be, into my life.
On a bench in 60-degree weather, blue sky at the end of December, watching the dogs run around in the meadow, I could sit like this forever.