I ran into a dear friend who I hadn’t seen in ages this week. The usual things keep us running in opposite directions: we both have three young kids, freelance work, busy lives with the added inconvenience of living on opposite sides of town. So when our paths crossed; her sitting at a table working away on her laptop at Starbucks, and me, sweaty from a jog (if you can call it that) in search of a big glass of water, well it felt sort of serendipitous.
How’s writing going, she asked me, almost immediately. She is a writer. On my very best days (which aren’t often) I call myself a writer. We often talk about projects and ideas, lamenting that our first-born, rule-following personalities and the lovely chaos of three children don’t exactly mesh with the creative endeavors we want to pursue. We get each other that way.
So I was honest and told the truth: I’m not writing at all. I’m not cooking. I can’t string two words together if my life depended on it and my kids have eaten scrambled eggs and toast more times in the last month than I care to admit.
She reminded me what my favorite author, Anne Lammott, always says. Sit down and write a shitty first-draft. You have to start somewhere. Get back in the habit. Cook something. Write something. Even if it’s bad, especially if it is, I guess.
So here I am, stewing on the fact that life is hard sometimes. Writing and mothering, being an adult, a friend and a wife is just hard sometimes. And I suspect I’m not the only one who feels that way. But life goes on, as it has a way of doing. With my friend’s good advice ringing in my ear, I finally opened my computer and stared at the blank screen for a while waiting for words to appear. Here’s to bad first drafts, trying again, learning from mistakes, starting again.
Last night I made a pot of cous cous and sautéed some green beans in a little butter and chicken stock. Aaron brought home a grocery store rotisserie chicken. I pulled the chicken off the bone and stirred marinated artichokes, Kalamata olives and the cooked green beans into the cous cous. I drizzled the whole concoction with a little balsamic vinegar salad dressing and called it dinner. It was surprisingly tasty and fresh and if I’d had a bit of fresh basil and some feta cheese to crumble over the whole thing it would have been even better.