Possible Slogans for this Wine I’m Drinking

Petey’s Malbec: It’s Not the Worst You’ve Ever Had.

Petey’s Malbec: I Think I Can Avoid Spitting Back into My Glass.

Petey’s Malbec: Definitely Not As Bad As Drinking Pickle Juice.

Petey’s Malbec: Cooking Wine You Can Almost Drink.

Petey’s Malbec: You Didn’t Really Need that Esophagus Did You?

Petey’s Malbec: Because Your Mother Would Like You to Quit Drinking Wine.

Petey’s Malbec: What Did You Expect for $4.99?

A Mover AND a Shaker

I learned a nice little writing lesson the other day I’d like to share with you which is this: always go with your gut. Your gut knows, don’t deny it. Deep down, maybe it’s way down there in one of the triple folds of the intestines, but it is there and you need to listen to it. Go with Gut. I’m getting that on a t-shirt.

The other day I posted something here that may or may not have been brilliant. I couldn’t really say. All I know is I sort of pushed through my feelings every step of the way and sort of forced the words out of me. I’ve been reading this great book on writing that is so inspiring and makes me feel so much less crazy, all that good stuff. Except unfortunately for me I started focusing too much on the side of writing that involves the agony of getting the words on the page and sort of ignored the part where a writer writes stuff and then walks away. Or hits delete. Or, you know, adds it to The File, as opposed to hitting publish. Because the book is about writing a novel. Not writing a blog.

So I wrote this thing (again, nothing earth shattering, but nothing I was feeling uber great about either) and every darn step of the way I was like heaving and sighing and just trying to come up with stuff, pushing through feelings of “seriously?” and “are you kidding me?” No, no, Rach! You’re writing about being FEARLESS. So be FEARLESS!!!

Sometimes, being fearless means being willing to NOT say anything. Instead of saying a whole bunch of nothing.

Now here’s the thing: none of it was anything I didn’t believe to be true or didn’t actually feel. But sometimes, we have things swirling in our hearts and in our heads that just are not fit for public consumption. There’s just no need. Have you ever had that experience of a really profound moment or insight, and the minute you try and share it with someone else — even a really trusted kindred spirit — it just sounds awkward and lame leaving your lips?

So I wrote about some things I’ve been hearing God say to me — which I’m not opposed to doing — except I keep sort of touching on the fact that I’m not exactly sure what it all means. And that (here’s a lesson!) is sometimes when it’s okay to leave those things unsaid. Especially if you’re using your swirling thoughts to fill a blank spot that is causing you strain. I’ve made an agreement with myself that right now, in this stage of my life, I’ll write when I have something to say. I can’t write to be “on a schedule” or to make the date on the homepage a little more recent.

But that’s what I did the other day, and then I hit publish and went to bed and the whole time just had this feeling of “ugh.” I tried to trick myself into liking what I wrote by saying (repeatedly) “you never know you that will resonate with!” But again, my gut wasn’t interested in that. It wanted out. (um, not literally, thank God because ulcerative colitis runs in our family but I’m okay so far)

The next day, I was out running errands and doing a few things and it just hit me hard: you know, you can take that thing down.

And so, I did.

I came home and hit delete and immediately felt a wave of relief come over me. Isn’t that funny? Maybe what I wrote was great, I’m thinking not. But the point is that I learned a(nother) important lesson: be honest with yourself.

When I write from the HEART (this is what I’m feeling, this is what’s brewing in that space between my heart and my lips) and not from my HEAD (what should I say today? What should people hear from me?) — I always come out feeling better with the HEART. Because even if it resonates with no one, I know I got out what I needed.

Today Ethan and I were on our way home from the doctor’s (he has a scary rash, on meds to ward off infection) and he was telling me about this awesome interview he heard with a famous musician. The guy has made a million hits and even more money and it was all this hilarious mystery to him — the musician — because he always just picks up his guitar and plays what he feels.

“Can you imagine,” said Ethan, “how amazing he’d be if he actually thought about what people wanted?”

And that’s where it all came into focus, the connection between something working and it not. And I told Ethan that the minute that guy started thinking too much about any of it, that’s when it would all dry up. You just go — you go with God, you go with GUT, but you definitely don’t go with deep analysis and NEVER (unless you have an amazing editor who is demanding pages for your next novel I suppose?) go with anything you can’t stand up for one hundred percent.

On that note, I’m really excited because I’ve decided to add a fashion portion to this blog. I’m mostly kidding. No, no I’m SERIOUS. You’re gonna love it. Be on the lookout.

More Regaling with the Squirrels

Ten Minutes of Writing, GO.

Well I did my Boston thang this week, up and back quick as a wink. One of these days I’m going to give myself a little buffer so I can meet some people I’ve been wanting to meet and say hello to some olden time blogger friends (hi, Karin!) but these days the tight turn-a-round is what I’ve got to give. Up Tuesday, home Thursday night. Peaceful, fun, invigorating, exhausting.

My flight back last night was the first time I’ve had to finagle a three-fer connection, it was the only option for coming home Thursday instead of waiting until Friday. So I did a zip from Boston to New York, a zip from New York to Charlotte, a wee-lil-blink from Charlotte to home (this flight allows me time to listen to exactly three Avett Brothers songs before having to power back down for landing). It all worked out and I’m glad to be home. Highlight of the trip up was flying over New York with a gorgeous view of the city — Manhattan, Central Park, leaves beginning to change. So lovely.

This post is going nowhere fast but the truth is, it’s Friday night and I’m not gonna be one of those people who spends it on Pinterest getting depressed about their lack of personal style and abominable backyard landscaping. No siree not me. Full disclosure: I’m waiting for Paul to put Henry down, I finally got Isa sawing them logs, and we’re going to watching some kind of something on the tube, hopefully nothing involving the letters N or B or A.

Related: has anyone seen Gravity? Is it awesome? Did you hyperventilate?

Have I ever told you about the time I had a gigantic panic attack when I went to see The Passion of the Christ? Well, I did. Good times. And ever since then I’ve been a tad hesitant about intense films. Thinking three hours of watching someone floating deeper and deeper into space while fruitlessly flailing at nearby cords and satellites? I feel shortness of breath even as we speak.

Having said that, that time with PotC was during a particularly dark season of my life (code word: hormones) and I’ve conquered a lot of demons since then. Getting regular nights of sleep has also had a tremendous impact on my outlook on life (as sleep often does) so who knows, maybe I’m at a point where I can handle a movie about a woman who faces the possibility of drifting into nothingness.

And suddenly Pinterest is looking a little less scary…