This week, I was stumped. Am writing an eBook reallllly close to my heart about Joy. It’s inspired by my mother, whose beauteous maxim was “Don’t Postpone Joy”. I had already called Fear out and told it I was going through with my eBook(s) whether it liked it or not. I believed we had an understanding. I’d write, it would show up and I’d write in spite of it. Push on through.
Besides, what’s easier for me than writing about Joy? I know this like the back of my hand. And it’s in honour of my Mom’s approach to life. (Also known to me like the back of my hand.)
So I wrote up a neat and tidy outline for the free eBook that looks like it’s going to be really truly valuable, and then…nothing. NADA. White space. Blank page. Staring moonily back at me. Blink, blink, blink goes the cursor.
I get up, shake it off, make some tea. I coax, I cajole, I get coached.
I back up. I surge forward.
I try a role call of saboteurs who may be trying to stop me. It doesn’t seem to be the “this is gonna suck, sucka!” or “who do you think YOU are to write about joy?” varietals (because, as my bud Leslie said and Rock Star Pam confirmed, I AM an expert on joy).
And the Words. Will. Not. Come.
Still something else.
February 14th (launch date) creeps closer and closer. And closer still.
Then Carrie (who is designing the stunningness that the eBook is becoming) asked me this:
I also wondered if your mom had a favourite flower we might slip in somehow, or a particular colour that made her smile. Your intention, alone, makes this project special... but if there are other little details we can stitch in, do say.
I immediately respond:
My Mom had sublimely eclectic taste (friends LOVED our homes because they were fun and lived-in). Art everywhere (nothing “valuable” just lots of pieces from travels...none of which “matched”) Massive colour (like salmon-coloured walls) though she searched her whole life for the perfect “butter yellow” wall colour for her kitchens (never found it). Yes flowers...the showiness of hibiscus and the subtleties of lily-of-the-valley. Trees were huge for her (we have a commemorative one in her name on the beach that reads: Brenda Geisler – Lover of Life and Trees – Requisciat in Pace – she was proud that she knew Latin!) and made sure she planted several in every home we lived in (and there were many). Coffee, fall macintosh apples, good cheese, a mohair blanket I knit her, good books tat could take to her to far-away places she couldn’t afford to visit herself, and bubble baths, and heart-to-heart hugs (she would actually get pissed off if you didn’t touch hearts in a hug or look into each others eyes when you clinked glasses in cheers).
Didn’t spellcheck, didn’t reread, didn’t edit. Just pressed “send”.
Then I cried. Blubbery, slobbery and completely. My husband walked in and gave me a hug (heart to heart, of course). Didn’t try to dry the tears, just knew they needed to be released.
And boy howdy, did they ever.
I sat down to write The Joy Pages that same day. Easiest thing I ever wrote. (Still not entirely sure how it’s all going to look once my beloved editors have their way with it, but I know it will be purposeful, useful and from my heart.)
For me, the stuck wasn’t fear as I had assumed after all. (Fear has such fabulous PR that it gets the credit for pretty much all stuckness). In my case, it was profound sadness masquerading as fear that had its grip on me. And not surprisingly, it’s bloody challenging to write something useful about joy when sadness is holding down the fort.
Fear is your lifelong lover and will show up, time and time again. I continue to say we ought to all move forward in spite of it. And that may look like getting clarity around whether it’s fear or something else. Then dealing with THAT accordingly.
Am learning that the enemies of fear are: love, joy and clarity. This Valentine’s Day, those will be my gifts to you.