This weekend as I sat out on my lovely front porch writing my morning pages, enjoying the play of light filtering through the dying muscadine leaves and the plants that create an intimate, private environment, I turned again to the prompts from Write ALM. The prompt for Sunday the 14th was “Life is” and as my puppies splayed themselves over the upper deck and my husband checked his stats on his iPhone while laying on the daybed he built me, I was struck by all that my life currently is. I’ve also been thinking a bit about list poems recently as an activity for my classroom, and I began to scribble out the beginnings of list poem about all that life is.
I like the idea of a list poem for this prompt because life is so very many things, and at least in my head, it’s hard to boil it down to what life really is about. And there is so much. I could easily say that life is unexpected – that’s what I wrote about yesterday morning. How this life of mine is nothing like what I thought it was going to be. How I put it out there into the Universe – this general idea of what I wanted: a husband, a family, work that I enjoy, connection – and it’s slowly come to pass. Not in my time, mind you, and not the way that I thought it was going to happen, but slowly and surely – coming around to what I told the Universe I wanted…even if it isn’t in the package that I thought it would be in.
But I don’t think that what I believe life to be is encompassed in just “life is unexpected and eventually gives you what you what you want.”
…choice and consequence, not always pleasant, not always easy, always a choice.
…darkness and light, the daily triumph of one over the other; some mornings or evenings a toss-up as to the victor
…beauty and wonder if we are willing to see and seek it.
…one foot in front of the other, constantly moving along the path, leading to right here, right now
…showing up when it’s difficult, working through the tenderness
…commitment, evaluation of desire
…a chance to try again, every second
…unexpected in ways delightful and heartbreaking
…a lesson in cultivating relationships and openness
…a willingness to try
…the want-tos and the have-tos and the maybes and putting them all together in ways that work
It didn’t turn out quite the way I had hoped it would in my head, but I imagine that I’ll come back to it again. As I’m working out what I want to be when I grow up, I think my ideas of what life is or isn’t will get more important. In the meantime, it’s this glorious mess, and while I’m not altogether happy with every piece of it, I’ll take what I have because it’s not so bad.
I can’t remember when it was exactly that I discovered the monthly prompts from Write ALM, but I think that for the last six months or so I’ve been trying to keep them in mind when I’m doing my morning pages or when I get stuck with my writing. It’s always good to have something sitting in your back pocket to inspire a few words. Back in May, I got smart and made the decision to start printing the graphic that goes with the prompts. At the beginning of each month, I paste the prompts into my writer’s notebook so I don’t forget what I can potentially write about during the month. Usually I only write a paragraph or so about the prompt, but occasionally the prompt will speak to me, sparking more than that. This morning, thinking about working towards my goals and making a new plan for my life, was one of those mornings.