Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The task of writing a book is becoming very real to me. It’s not so frightening or intimidating anymore. I know I have at least a book’s worth of information inside of me to express, and probably several book’s worth. I’ve been outlining and then further breaking things down to specific essays and it’s all began to feel very doable. I haven’t perfected the outline yet. It doesn’t quite flow the way I want it to, but I’m getting closer, and I know it will all eventually fall into place.
But it’s more than just having the ideas and form of this project gelling in my mind that has me feeling very upbeat. More and more I find myself overwhelmed with awe and I realize I’ve been preparing and practicing for this project my whole life. Finally, it’s my turn to begin contributing! I’ve been apprenticing for so long.
Research, for instance, is something I naturally love--digging through books, distilling the key information, integrating information across subjects and making new associations. As I take notes and copy down quotes in my notebooks, I’m transported back to my high school days, when I was reading Jung and would copy down quotes extensively from his work. Somehow the act of copying, in longhand, key quotations from these books, is nourishing. It’s so natural, so innate, and it helps to further imprint the ideas in my mind. And there’s more to it but I can’t quite put my finger on it. The feeling of coming home. The sense of coming around to my destiny, and of recognizing how my life to this point has been an apprenticeship. I’ve been in training all along. Slowly bit by bit the knowledge has been accruing, as well as the discipline and maturity to work with it, to find a way to express it and share it.
Journal writing for twenty-four years has kept me writing, even though it never feels like “real” writing. Despite the fact that my worst vice in this life is a lack of self-discipline, I am able to be a fairly disciplined writer, just because it’s such a habit.
And I can see the form my days need to take in order to accomplish the task of writing a book. The first few hours of the day are my hours of clarity and insight, so that is when I mostly work. The middle hours of the day are often a little muddy and sluggish as far as thinking and creativity go. Sometimes, though, the evenings also are fruitful times to work. I don’t feel as though I need to be working on this eight hours a day. It feels right to devote a few hours in the mornings, concertedly, and then the rest of the day be mulling over ideas more casually, jotting down notes and ideas here and there as they occur, reading snatches of books as I can. It feels like a wonderfully natural process.
On the days I’m in Boulder county, I spend most of my time at the library, so those days are really gifts to me. The library out here is really pathetic. I’m really dependent on having access to good quality libraries. Much as I dislike this back-and-forth life, I need things from the Front Range.

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