So. It’s been a rough couple of weeks here at Chez Knutsson. Our lovely, beloved Alex kitty has been gravely ill, and last week, we were certain it was time to say goodbye. However, cats being the amazingly resilient creatures that they are, she’s rebounded, thanks to the equally amazing care from Alex’s veterinarian. But, it’s been a challenging time as we continue to learn to manage her diabetes (she was diagnosed back in October) as well how to juggle all the other medications that are allowing her to heal from the past week’s crisis.
Add to that a wicked chest cold, and, well, I’ve been down for the count. Today was the first time I’ve been out of bed in days, but due to a nap this afternoon, I’m wide awake when I should be sleeping. Not the best way to heal up, but…*shrug* As my husband is so fond of saying, It is what it is.
Maybe it’s the time of year, or maybe it’s because I’m getting ready to dive back into revisions on my middle grade project, but…I’ve been thinking. I’ve been thinking about what I write and how I write it, about why I tell the stories I tell, about what I hope to gain from those stories, about what I hope to share with those stories, and about the life a story lives once it’s left my hands. But, most of all, I’ve been thinking about why the stories I’m called to tell need to exist to begin with. I’m not sure I have any answers, but maybe answers aren’t what I need. Because thinking leads to questions, and questions, to my mind, are what open paths. Answers, I sometimes think, close paths. Though, that’s what I’m thinking tonight. Tomorrow, I might change my mind.
What I do know is that I’ve come up with a little mantra, once that I was first introduced to when I was doing some horse work with Jodine Carruthers. I’ve been horse-crazed all my life, but my relationship with the horses I’ve encountered hasn’t always been easy. That unease came to a head a few years back when I took a position at a stable and found myself way out of my element – not because I didn’t have the horse skills I needed, but because horses have a way of making us n look at our shadows, and I was hiding from mine. I knew I was in a bad place, and I needed help. So, I went to work with Jodine and her horses, and Jodine introduced me to the concept that story has no place with horses. They don’t care about your history, or why you are the way you are. They just see you as here, now. That’s a strange concept for a storyteller. I mean, I have a running narrative in my head all the time – either my own story, or the narrative of the stories I’m working on. (My brain is a busy place.) So, learning to stop, to be, and to be here now was really hard. And, it’s still a work in progress for me–a balancing act, perhaps, as I learn to allow story to be my work, and not be my all.
Horses aren’t part of my life these days. That’s a bit of a sore spot, but it is what it is. Someone once said that you can have everything you want in life – just not all of it at the same time. Now is the time without horses. I have other work to do. But, I still have the lessons I learned from the horses I’ve known.
Be here, now. That’s what they’ve taught me.
Those are the words I’ve been living lately, taking one day at a time, each moment as it comes, because really, there’s no other way to do this living business.
Be here, now. Tomorrow, I’m applying those words to my writing work.
Be here, now.