They go slower now. If I remember correctly, July didn't have a single one. Trust me, I was working, if not on everything, at least on the running bit. I've made good progress there - way beyond my original expectations back in January when this all started - but it won't be till next month that I can cross off my next running goal.
What's that old coffee commercial cliche...? "The best things come to those who wait." Well, I'm in no rush, but 2012's autumn just began which means the year is beginning its wind-down. Typical me, already I've had thoughts of what might be on next year's list, but I want to focus on now. The third quarter is when many of us creative types bail on our projects, so I feel better when I see the check marks in the little boxes. I like to know I haven't given up. And I haven't - I feel great that this week I've checked another one off:
#23 - Post 12 blog entries on Love Them Apples
I started the Love Them Apples blog a few years ago with what I thought was a reasonable expectation for foodie posts. Twice a month seemed practical. Secretly I'd hoped to post once a week. I knew that if I really wanted the blog to take off I should post at least twice a week, but I didn't think I'd have that much time to work on recipes. Blogs like Oh She Glows astound me - she used to post three times A DAY. But even Smitten Kitchen only posts once, tops twice, a week, and I'm pretty sure she's not still navigating around a day job in a different industry.
However I couldn't keep up with my own goals. I was disappointed in myself, but I try to question my assumptions. Perhaps my expectations were unreasonable. I wanted to succeed, so how could I adjust my vision. When I started The List I decided to commit to LTA blog posts once a month - or, softening that a little, twelve times this year. I figured I could at least do that.
At first I did pretty well. In March I posted every week and thought maybe I'd short-sighted myself, but then April was nada. May and June, just one apiece. And then nothing in July and for most of August. I'd stagnated.
It was at that time, and independent of The List, that I decided to go on an epic journey to my childhood home in Jersey. I went into planning mode and all my writing stopped. The journaling. The stories. The new writing project. Love Them Apples.
It wasn't that I didn't try. I went for a run almost every day. Words formed into sentences as my feet hit the pavement. I brainstormed. I wanted a new writing project to emerge from my pre-epic journey's fits and starts, only when I sat down to write I didn't get anywhere.
Darby's been encouraging me to write a recipe/essay-type book about cooking - sort of Love-Them-Apples in book form - but I haven't had the focus. A love story/recipe memoir has been on my mind for years and in July I even came up with a title, but I couldn't locate the beginning of the story. I pulled out old journals and tried to find a thread, but zip. Meanwhile, during those weeks a woman I know invited me to collaborate on a vegan cake cookbook, so I figured even if I couldn't eek out a sentence, at the least I would learn something about the world of cookbook publishing.
You see, even before I left, the epic journey shook me up. By the time I got back, it'd rebooted me old-school style, like an etch-a-sketch being shaken out. I went back to the childhood turf that I'd left the summer before my senior year of high school. It was my first time back in twenty years, other than a quick and awkward afternoon about eighteen years ago with my green-haired college boyfriend. On this summer's trip I didn't so much as begin to release internalized stories of "who I am" and "what made me", as complete the liberation. I felt clean. I buffed the record with the skip that kept jumping back to replay that same old riff.
As the fresh picture of myself emerged, it came like static channel snow on our old black and white. I was as nebulous as a cloud of stardust. I couldn't find the words, and I lost my desire to search for them. I just wanted to wallow in the images I'd taken during those few days on my old stomping ground. I took plenty of photos while I was there, but those weren't the images I was looking at. They were the pictures in my mind that captured me. They were sensory rich - smells, sounds, the touch of the rock, the movement of deer who crossed my path, the chitchat of gossip from the old ladies in the Clubhouse office, the look of my old house, and the deep search for buried memories I haven't seen in twenty years.
July and August were the dream months of swirling memories. My subconscious needed to settle before I could understand enough to express in writing. There was no way to go back to the old routine of the first half of 2012, so in a rash desire to do something while I was waiting for clarity to step in, I started this List of 100 Things blog.
#98 - Embark on a New Writing Project
And it worked! Writing this blog cleared space for other writing. After a few posts here I was able to get back into the Love Them Apples blog, and finally this week posted my 12th entry there. Yippee doodle. Of course I think I may have cheated on the pancake post, since it was really a re-working of an older post, but it's only September. I'm ahead of schedule.
One of the beauties of this list is that I didn't know upon the writing how each item would exactly manifest itself. I mean, when I wrote
#33 - Run a race
I didn't know that I would sign up for half marathon, or that I would run the equivalent of that distance two-and-a-half to three times a week every week.
Likewise, when I wrote
#98 - Embark on a New Writing Project
I hadn't considered that the project I'd embark on might be an online extension class at UCLA. As it turns out, it is. And I am. Enrolled. Writing The Personal Essay. Class starts next week.
I'm going to leave off here. I stumbled upon some insights in the course of today's writing, but those will wait. I'm still not clear on why public journal-type blogs like this are compelling to write, or if/why anyone reads them, but there must be a reason why insights emerge for me here in times like now when I can't uncap my pen for my journal.
In any case, that is exactly why I created this blog. Come on, baby, let the insights roll.