Hi

Hi.

I’m not really sure what to say but I do know that I want to write to you today.

One of the writing groups I am part of believes that you should write without stopping, or editing, or even thinking, every day. Even when the words don’t come, even if you think you don’t have anything to say, you write. Write: the words aren’t coming or I don’t have anything to say, but write it. By writing it, you have begun. You have shown you have something to say.

We call this writing practice. Most days, I have too many words, but some days I don’t have any. So, like pushups, I am practicing, and I am getting stronger.

The other day Zoe, my puppy, stood at the bottom of the stairs. She looked perplexed. My mother-in-law was sitting on the couch. I was heading to the garage. My husband was in the bedroom. She looked back and forth between us and whined.  She wanted to be with all of us, but she had to choose.

I know how she feels. The people I love are spread out too. There is no one place I can go and be with them all. The closer I get to one, the further I am from another.

Most of the time I feel lucky.  Even if I can’t be with all of them at the same time, I have people in my life who I love loving. And who love me. I know that. But sometimes too many people feel too far away, and I begin to feel lonely. And for some reason, feeling lonely makes me feel ashamed.

I think: All I need to do is call, or text, or write.  It sounds so easy, but it feels hard.  So today I am practicing. I still don’t know what to say, but that’s okay.  Maybe for today hi is enough.

Making God Laugh

My dad used to have a set of Post-It notes on his desk that said “If you want to make God laugh make plans.”

One thing I planned to do was write on this blog more often; every Thursday morning at nine according to my calendar. Several friends, good friends, blog-reading friends, have asked me, in that semi-hushed voice, are you still blogging? I think, of course, I’m going to post Thursday, at nine. And then I sigh to myself and wonder what it is that I’ve been doing. Then a little voice answers: living life, and making god laugh.

It’s been almost a year since Z and I headed to Sri Lanka and then Istanbul, which I’ve written about here, and then Spain and Portugal, which I haven’t even gotten to yet. I’ll tell you all about it soon (next Thursday, at nine?), when the winter sets in and my desk feels warm, but right now, the sun is out in Seattle (!), I’m furiously editing my book, foolishly starting another one, and playing with our new puppy.

She is four months old and a snuggly ball of brown fuzz. I planned to walk her in the morning—before nine– and in the evening and work with her at my feet in between. But God laughs and we have all sorts of fun instead.

A few days ago we were walking in the park. Something about the air reminded me of travel, or changing seasons, of picking up and taking off: of freedom. For a moment I looked at my little dog and felt sad. Now that we have a dog we won’t be traveling the way we did. Then she looked up from the twig she’d just found. It was one of the very first cold mornings and when she breathed out her breath hung in the air.  Just for a moment. And then it was gone, a small sign that the morning was cold and she was warm and we were both in the park, alive, together.

I tried to explain to her how great this was.  But you know how dogs are. She just wiggled and looked at me like she understood every word, which is nice for a writer sometimes. And then a breeze blew and her brown fur ruffled and I was glad that I was close to home, without any plans to go anywhere soon.