On Saturday I described how an overriding longing of my heart is to get closer to my son – and how a promising medium for doing that is our music and poetry project. As I write this on Sunday it is his birthday and I have very much wanted to write some more poetry for him. All week long, depression threatened to make the writing of poetry unattainable.
Well I did it! Last night – Saturday night – I wrote twice as much poetry as I had previously sent him. And I like it – and think that he will like it. (Since writing this, this morning, I have talked with him and he definitely does like it very much.)
Several factors helped make this happen. (Feel free to steal anything from this that might help you with an important and difficult or vulnerable project.)
- On Friday I thought about longings of the heart all day, made a voice recording about them mid-day and wrote a post about them in the evening.
- I posted that piece yesterday, including a passage about my son – and included a commitment to write the poetry. I made myself accountable to you, my readers.
- All day long at work I ask people “What’s been a highlight of your day?” – and often they ask that question back of me. Sometimes they – and I – answer in future tense, something coming up that we are looking forward to. Yesterday, especially as the word day drew to a close and poetry-writing time came close, the highlight I shared was frequently “Tonight I’m going to write some poetry for my son.”
- Friday night I set up several lifelines – I emailed some friends to be available by phone Saturday evening if I got stuck.
- All day long yesterday, depression told me this would not work. And it had a lot of data to back it up: when I’m this depressed, I don’t do really creative writing. The amount of blog writing I’ve been doing is totally impressive – almost unprecedented. But that’s story-telling, building off of experiences during the day. Poetry feels very different. All day long, I pushed back and told myself I could do this. I pictured in my mind what success would feel like. In my mind, I drafted this celebratory blog post.
- Last evening, as I sat at my desk and readied myself to write, I responded to messages from my lifelines: a voicemail for Lynn’s voicemail, a text for Tom’s text, emails for Byron and Toni and Lynn’s emails. Lynn said in her email “Let love win.” I wrote it in big letters and put it next to my computer. I witnessed the depression saying “This is not going to work” and wrapped myself in the writer’s cloak of the love and support of my friends – and I wrote.