Saturday, March 7, 2015

Inch Fifty-Two: A Year of Posts

Ramona's pinwheel buried in the garden snow
Back on March 15, 2014, I made a commitment to write a blog post a week, figuring I was good for at least that much. I took my cue from writer Anne Lamott, who urged wannabe writers to tell themselves that they only had to write enough to fill a one inch square.

I am writing my 52nd inch since that post.

When I wrote last year, I wrote of a brutal winter both outside and inside. This winter's temperatures have made a mockery of last year's cold, and although the sun has clearly moved into its spring position, there are still inches of snow and ice to melt. There is no brown lawn, no kitchen garden waiting to be tilled. There is only a bleak landscape that is not ready yet to yield to spring.

At this time last year I was also a month into a different treatment regimen for the incurable myeloma that resides in my marrow. I am just about to complete my 12th cycle of Revlimid, an oral chemotherapy, so I have gone a whole year with that too. It is a mixed success. My oncologist is very pleased with the results. Yeah, it's nice that the myeloma has stopped progressing. But the price for that achievement is high and relentless. As I told another friend with myeloma who wanted my opinion of Revlimid, I'm not dying all in one fell swoop but instead losing ground inch by inch. Many of us with myeloma do not die of the disease itself but of the treatment and the long-term impact on our bodies and health of the disease and the treatment. Like Beth, I am aware that the tide is going out.

All the same, despite the cold, despite the cancer, here I am a year later, with 52 weeks of posts.

So what have I learned and where do I go from here?

I have learned, once and for all after paying years of lip service to the idea, that writing is a discipline like anything else. Yes, schedules and other outside pressures impact where and when I write,  but the actual act of writing, of making myself sit down and write, is all about me and my priorities. As I noted a year ago, it is about respecting and honoring my commitment to writing.

I have discovered that the act of writing on a regular schedule has lead to my evaluating and reprioritizing my daily life, my weekly life, my where-am-I-and-what-am-I-doing-here? life. Last year I wrote that my recent experiences in Cancerland showed me I need to live more deliberately, and the experience of writing weekly helps me slow down and focus on what I want to do, what I need to do, what I can wait to do, and what I can let go of entirely. I hope I have gotten better at respecting my needs and my time, whether it be for writing or for catching my breath. (Friends reading this who have been trying to plan time with me may be shaking their heads skeptically. I know, I know, but this is the heart of truancy season and my work schedule has gone off the rails.)

I plan to continue my one square inch focus, my one post a week goal. Writing is more holistically beneficial than anything else I do for myself and is a close runner-up to the benefits I reap when I do for others. It is portable, it is flexible, and it is all mine.

Here's to another year of one inch posts.


ellen harris said...

As always, a wonderful column!

Laurie said...

Very glad to hear that. I always enjoy visiting here, and reading what you share.

Anne said...

Looking forward to the next 52 posts, my dear, dear friend.

see you there! said...

I will be here for every one of the next 52 inches. Your writing has so much truth in it.


Tonya said...

You keep writing....I'll keep reading. I'll also keep your friendship in my heart until you have time and energy for more.