Tuesday, January 21, 2014

First Thoughts are Not Always the Best

Being a writer means showing up even when it seems like the dumbest, most stupidest, biggest waste of time you could do with your precious, irreplaceable time. That was not my first thought this morning.

My first thought was, well, less kind and pulled me into a downward spiral from which I would only be able to drag myself out with the whip of "get your ass to work." I did my morning heart practice, but I still was being nagged from within about the worthlessness of the Tuesday morning writing time. 

First thought, supposedly the best thought. Sometimes, but not always. The list of advice about first thoughts ran through my head:

Follow your instincts.
Your first gut reaction is probably the best measure of ____________. (fill in the blank)
Ask yourself the question and then listen, paying close attention to your body's response - the first one.


I believe in these approaches to life's big questions, small questions, curiosities. I often do try to at least notice that first impulse. Often there is a lot of energy around the first response. Many times that first reaction sneaks out past the internal editor/critic/naysayer. Often - but not always.

I finished up the protocol, changed to my exercise clothes and headed downstairs to do my Wii routine, the only thing I had time left to do - other than the series of 10 minute parking lot and hall walks on breaks at work. I passed my Blackberry and, of course, had to check messages before I went downstairs.

My writing partner had a migraine and was unable to make it today. 

First Thought (after 'stupid migraine, not fair') - "I can skip it, too." 

Second Thought - "You don't get out of it that easy."

See? First Thought was not entirely the best thought.

So I did my Wii routine and a little bit more to bring it to my minimum. And as I was getting into
the shower I realized that the grumpy, Lowly Worm, "woe is me," attitude might also be the very beginning edge of the cold that's going around - rather than a true fact or the edge of descent into depression.

Last weekend I went to Port Townsend for another amazing weekend intensive with Lidia Yuknavitch and fifteen other women writers. It was inspiring and I wrote a lot - including a piece that a couple of months ago I told Daphne Gottlieb in an online poetry class I couldn't write. A piece that is very personal and very raw and current - about taking on the voice of the "other" in this intense situation. I thought I couldn't because the pain of the situation is now, not the past, because of the content I wasn't ready to do it. But Lidia pushed us all to points of "not I can't go there look I just did!" And I shared the space with these wonderful people, a couple of whom had just gotten or were getting over the sickness going around and a couple in the midst of (they thought they were done with it, but it did a boomerang maneuver). 

So in that moment after I did my heart practice and my exercise and went through the nearly not showing up, as I stood in the hot water washing all of that down the drain, I realized that my body, perhaps, was starting its battle against the sick. I'd also had a little exposure from work last week, though it wasn't shared in such a small space for so many hours; perhaps the seed had already been planted.

For me, the mumble grumble worthless mumble why mumble oh life sucks grumble can be the very first sign that I'm in the "getting sick" zone. This felt like one of those times.
After I got out of the shower I wrapped up in a towel and went to my bag where I keep a vial of Oscilloccocinum and I put ten pellets under my tongue and returned to getting ready to go write. For me, Oscilloccocinum works wonders if I catch it at the very, very beginning; hopefully, I did. 
Here I am. At our writing place. Alone. Writing. I started by reading the rest of my feedback on the excerpt I'd taken to the writing workshop. And as I was ready to start writing, I decided to write this post. Which started with one idea and became this one.

Again, proving, that sometimes the First Thought isn't the best. It doesn't make them wrong - but they're not always right.

In my case, today, the first thought that me writing is dumb and pointless and no good was not the right thought. Perhaps I just needed to interpret the message to find it's true meaning. Because I feel better emotionally right now and I hope the Oscilloccocinum is doing its part to keep the sick away.

Now, back to my story writing.