I’m feeling very cranky and vulnerable right now, in fact, I’m experiencing a panoply of feelings.

As I was listening to this excerpt from Still Writing by Dani Shapiro, for some reason, I started to cry. Not in a deep sobbing way, but in a “wow, I needed to hear that today,” way.

I wanted to share some of those reasons with you.

As Dani says, “sometimes all we can hope is that we fail better.” The failures and the triumphs of the year that has passed are at the forefront of my mind.

We lost our house and moved in with friends. We then had to move out of the friend’s house and into an apartment. I’m still not done consolidating our storage units and our car has just died.

The Tony’s are over and friends and loved ones have either won major awards or not been recognized at all even though everyone has done amazing work this year. The arbitrariness of who gets recognized and who doesn’t can sometimes seem overwhelming.

I’ve been offered some summer work that I love and enjoy with amazing people, but I know it will take time away from my family and writing. There is an inner voice tugging at me that says, “Protect your time this summer and write” but another voice that says, “don’t miss this opportunity, it may never come again.”

I feel pulled in many directions.

I recently received an email saying I’m being considered for a job in academia that feels like a new adventure, a new opportunity, but it is far away from our families and friends. While it is exciting to be considered for the position, I am only being considered and it feels very uneasy not to know what will be happening next.

My teenage son is about to graduate from high school. This is supposed to be a joyous time, but today I found out that someone from his class, a young woman who was supposed to graduate with them this week, died suddenly. She was ill, fell into a coma and died five days later.

This is my son’s first real loss of a person close to him. He wrote a very moving tribute to this young woman on his own blog. I’m sad for the loss of his friend, but I’m also sad because he has now moved into the world of those of us who have lost someone close to us and realize that our time must come, too, someday. Prior to this, I’m sure he felt invincible. Now that invincibility is gone. He is no longer the little boy I remember and he is not yet the man he is to become.

All of these thoughts have been floating around in my brain all day as I worked with my hands, sweating and dirty, at a job that I had to take to pay the bills. When I finally got home and showered, curled up on the sofa and then listened to this excerpt, I cried.

If you haven’t yet, listen to the Soundcloud excerpt from Dani Shaprio’s Still Writing as read by Dani Millman. Then pick up her book, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, (one of 2013’s best books on creative writing) you’ll be glad you did.

I’ll end this post with a quote Dani uses in her book. It’s Donald Barthelme. “Endings are elusive. Middles are nowhere to be found, but worst of all is to begin, begin, begin!”

Begin! Stories are the Wildest Things.

Original source: Brainpickings.org

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Why Debi Millman and Dani Shapiro Made Me Cry

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