Thoughts on Writing, Loneliness, and Morning Pages

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“GO CONFIDENTLY IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR DREAMS! LIVE THE LIFE YOU’VE IMAGINED. AS YOU SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE, THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE WILL BE SIMPLER.” – HENRY DAVID THOREAU
AFTER ENJOYING MY DAILY HOT WATER AND MEDITATION SESSION, I REALIZED I’LL CELEBRATE A MILESTONE IN JULY. I’VE LIVED IN THIS OLD HOUSE FOR A DECADE. A DECADE. THAT’S HARD TO BELIEVE. I HAVE A LOT TO SAY TODAY, SMILE.
WHILE I LOVE MY PERIOD HOME AND THE LIFE I CREATED THAT ALLOWS ME TO WRITE AND TO PAINT FULL TIME, WEST VIRGINIA HAS NEVER FELT LIKE HOME, CERTAINLY NOT MY FOREVER HOME. VIRGINIA FELT LIKE HOME. PUERTO RICO ALWAYS FEELS LIKE HOME, AS WELL AS BELGIUM AND FRANCE. MY KIND NEIGHBORS WERE BORN IN THIS CITY, AND UNLIKE ME, THEIR CHILDREN AND MOST OF THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS LIVE NEARBY. I HAVE NO FAMILY HERE. MY CHILDREN LIVE IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA AND THAILAND (WHICH I VISITED LAST NOVEMBER), AND MY SISTER AND HER FAMILY LIVE IN MARYLAND. CLOSE FRIENDS ARE SCATTERED THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY AND OVERSEAS, SO IN THE SUMMER MONTHS, I TAKE A FEW ROAD TRIPS TO VISIT FRIENDS AND FAMILY, WHICH I ALWAYS ENJOY. THIS SUMMER WILL BE NO DIFFERENT. I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE HAPPY TIMES, CREATING NEW MEMORIES, AND ENJOYING NEW ADVENTURES.
FROM MY EXPERIENCE, FIFTEEN YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AS IT TURNS OUT, WRITING BOOKS ISN’T A LIFE PATH CONDUCIVE TO A BUSY SOCIAL LIFE. I’VE BECOME A HAPPY LONER, WHO ENJOYS WORKING FROM HOME AND LOVES WRITING BOOKS. NO MATTER HOW LONELY AND ISOLATED IT MAY FEEL DURING THE WINTER MONTHS, I WOULDN’T CHANGE A THING ABOUT MY DECISION TO LIVE A CREATIVE LIFE. IN THE PAST, FRIENDS HAVE URGED ME TO MOVE BACK TO THE DC AREA AND RETURN TO MY JOB IN SOCIAL SERVICES. THOUGH I LOVE THE DC AREA AND THE AVAILABILITY OF GREAT RESTAURANTS, MUSEUMS, AND CULTURAL EVENTS, MY FRIEND’S URGENCY TO “FIX MY PROBLEM” WAS MET WITH MUCH RESISTANCE. NO WAY, I’M STAYING PUT. MY LIFE MAY BE A QUIET LIFE, BUT IT’S MY LIFE AND I LOVE IT.
IN JANUARY 2020, I REALIZED IT WASN’T NECESSARY TO SUBTRACT FROM MY LIFE IN ANY WAY TO FEEL HAPPIER–I NEEDED TO ADD. I ACKNOWLEDGED I’D BECOME A HOMEBODY AND LESS ACTIVE IN WINTER. I DON’T WANT TO MEET FOR LUNCH DATES OR TO DATE FOR THAT MATTER. I WANT TO SHARE EVENINGS WITH LIKE-MINDED FOLKS AND OTHER CREATIVE PEOPLE. WHAT I NEEDED WAS A LOCAL CREATIVE TRIBE. BINGO. I ORDERED MY FIFTH COPY OF JULIA CAMERON’S SEMINAL BOOK ON CREATIVITY CALLED THE ARTIST’S WAY (TAW) AND THEN I CALLED TWO FRIENDS TO JOIN ME IN FORMING A NEW GROUP. THEY PASSED THE WORD ALONG IN THEIR SOCIAL CIRCLES, AND I CREATED MY FIRST FACEBOOK EVENT.
WHY DO I PURCHASE A NEW COPY OF TAW FOR EACH GROUP? BECAUSE EACH TIME I “DO” THE BOOK, I’M A DIFFERENT PERSON IN A DIFFERENT STAGE OF MY LIFE, AND I VIEW EACH GROUP AS A FRESH START. WHO DOESN’T LOVE A FRESH START? I ALSO WRITE IN THE MARGINS. A LOT. I HIGHLIGHT PASSAGES AND QUOTES THAT SPEAK TO ME.
DURING THE YEARS I FACILITATED THE FIRST FOUR CREATIVE CLUSTERS, I WAS AN EXHIBITING PAINTER, A FOUNDING MEMBER OF THE FIRST ENGLISH-SPEAKING ART GUILD IN BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, AND I WROTE POETRY NO ONE READ. I WAS A MARRIED EX-PAT WITH TWO CHILDREN IN HIGH SCHOOL. WE OWNED A VACATION HOME IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE AND TRAVELED EXTENSIVELY. I HAD A LARGE CIRCLE OF INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS AND LOVED MY LIFE. THEN, IN A FLASH IT CHANGED DRAMATICALLY AND BEFORE I KNEW IT, MY CHILDREN WERE STUDYING IN THE US AND I SHUT THE DOORS OF MY HOMES IN FRANCE AND BELGIUM. MY IDYLLIC LIFE AND EUROPEAN LIFESTYLE SEEMED TO VANISH.
IN 2006, I MOVED BACK TO THE US, WENT BACK TO SCHOOL, WORKED FULL TIME, AND PUT THE ROUGH DRAFT MANUSCRIPT OF A DECENT WOMAN, WHICH I’D FINISHED IN BRUSSELS DURING THE FOURTH TAW GROUP, IN A BOX. I GOT ON WITH MY NEW LIFE AS A SINGLE, WORKING MOM, BUT THAT DIDN’T LAST LONG. I FELT LIKE A FISH OUT OF WATER IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE. FROM 2006 TO 2010, I LIVED AND WORKED IN NEW YORK, MARYLAND, AND VIRGINIA, SEARCHING FOR MY FOREVER HOME AND A WAY TO RETURN TO MY CREATIVE LIFE, BUT TO NO AVAIL. I WASN’T UNHAPPY, MY HEART JUST WASN’T SETTLED AND I DIDN’T HAVE A FREE MOMENT TO DO ANYTHING CREATIVE.
IN 2010, I JUMPED OFF A CLIFF AND BOUGHT A BEAUTIFUL, OLD HOME IN WEST VIRGINIA. I FINALLY OPENED THE BOX THAT CONTAINED MY MANUSCRIPT AND WENT TO WORK. A DECENT WOMAN WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2015 AND REPUBLISHED IN 2017. I PAINTED ON THE SIDE, BUT WRITING BECAME MY NEW PASSION, MY OBSESSION. IT STILL IS.
EARLIER THIS MONTH, MY FIFTH CREATIVE CLUSTER MET FOR THE FIRST TIME AT A LOCAL COFFEE SHOP. THE FIVE WOMEN WERE NEW TO THE BOOK, WHICH I’VE ALWAYS CREDITED FOR COMPLETELY CHANGING MY LIFE BECAUSE IT DID. WELL ACTUALLY, WALKING EL CAMINO DE SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA IN SPAIN CHANGED MY LIFE. I WENT ON THAT JOURNEY WITH MY CHILDREN, WEEKS AFTER MY HUSBAND LEFT OUR HOME–A PILGRIMAGE OF THE SOUL THAT UTTERLY CHANGED ME AND CONSEQUENTLY, MY LIFE. I KEPT A NIGHTLY JOURNAL DURING THAT CHALLENGING WALK AND AFTER MY CURRENT WORK-IN-PROGRESS, THE LAMENTS, IS PUBLISHED THIS YEAR (I HOPE!), I’LL BEGIN WORKING ON THE EL CAMINO MEMOIR OF THE MOST ENLIGHTENING TIME OF MY LIFE. I THINK I’LL CALL IT, SAVING GRACE.
BACK TO THE NEW TAW GROUP. SADLY OR JUST RIGHT, ONLY ONE OUT OF THE FIVE PARTICIPANTS WAS ABLE TO BRAVE THE ELEMENTS THAT EVENING. AS ALWAYS, IT WAS A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE. I’D FORGOTTEN HOW MUCH I LOVE THE BOOK, THE EXERCISES, AND HOW MUCH I GLEAN FROM CAMERON’S SPECIAL AND INTUITIVE WISDOM. SINCE THEN, THE PARTICIPANTS HAVE SHARED HOW MUCH THEY’RE ENJOYING THE BOOK AND I CAN’T WAIT TO MEET THEM NEXT MONTH.
WHILE I READ AND WORK WITH WEEK TWO OF TAW, I’M DILIGENT ABOUT WRITING MY MORNING PAGES AND HARD AT WORK ON THE LAMENTS, MY SECOND NOVEL SET IN TURN OF THE CENTURY PUERTO RICO, 1927 TO BE EXACT. I HAVEN’T WRITTEN AS MANY BLOG POSTS THIS YEAR BECAUSE I’M USUALLY DEALING WITH SIMILAR ISSUES AND THOUGHTS IN MY MORNING PAGES. I DON’T KNOW WHY IT’S AN EITHER-OR SITUATION FOR ME; IT JUST IS. AND I’M OKAY WITH THAT. THE LAMENTS IS COMING ALONG NICELY, AND AGAIN, I AM IN LOVE WITH MY STORY AND THE UNIQUE CHARACTERS.
DURING ONE OF MY FEBRUARY ARTIST DATES, I BOUGHT A SLEEK, BLACK WATERMAN FOUNTAIN PEN (MY SECOND) AND BEAUTIFUL, COLD-PRESSED D’ARCHE WATERCOLOR PAPER. THE SUN IS SHINING TODAY AND SPRING WILL ARRIVE ON MARCH 19, AT 11:50 PM. I’VE PURCHASED MY AIRLINE TICKETS FOR PUERTO RICO AND OUR AIRBNB RESERVATIONS ON THE ISLAND ARE SECURED. I’M HAPPY. I HOPE YOU ARE, TOO.
I GUESS I DID HAVE A LOT TO SAY TODAY. HAPPY CREATING!
ELEANOR X

me in ma july 2019

ABOUT ELEANOR:
PUERTO RICAN-BORN ELEANOR PARKER SAPIA IS THE AUTHOR OF THE MULTI-AWARD-WINNING NOVEL, A DECENT WOMAN, PUBLISHED BY WINTER GOOSE PUBLISHING. HER BEST-SELLING DEBUT NOVEL, SET IN TURN OF THE CENTURY PONCE, PUERTO RICO, GARNERED SECOND PLACE FOR BEST LATINO FOCUSED FICTION BOOK, ENGLISH AT THE 2017 INTERNATIONAL LATINO BOOK AWARD WITH LATINO LITERACY NOW. THE BOOK WAS AWARDED AN HONORABLE MENTION FOR BEST HISTORICAL FICTION, ENGLISH AT THE 2016 INTERNATIONAL LATINO BOOK AWARDS WITH LATINO LITERACY NOW, AND WAS SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE MONTH BY LAS COMADRES AND FRIENDS NATIONAL LATINO BOOK CLUB. ELEANOR IS FEATURED IN THE ANTHOLOGY, LATINA AUTHORS AND THEIR MUSES.
ELEANOR CURRENTLY LIVES IN BERKELEY COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA, WHERE SHE IS WORKING ON HER SECOND NOVEL, THE LAMENTS, SET IN 1927 OLD SAN JUAN AND ISLA DE CABRAS, PUERTO RICO. LOOK FOR THE LAMENTS IN 2020.
BUY THE BOOK:

A Decent Woman Flat (1)

https://www.amazon.com/Decent-Woman-Eleanor-Parker-Sapia/dp/1941058876/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?keywords=a+decent+woman+by+eleanor+parker+sepia&qid=1576099888&sr=8-1-fkmr0

 

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