Thursday, June 11, 2009

My wireless, analog laptop

Most people simply call it a journal.

This is the first page. As you can see, it is blank sheet of paper. I am wondering what it will say.

I know we all write our own stories. We make decisions. We go places. We fall in love. But, I have to admit that I often feel that the stories write themselves and I am merely an actor in them. Thoughts and outlines bounce around in my mind throughout the day. Even when I have my entire post written in my head, the ending occasionally surprises me.

I see it differently on paper.
In a few moments, we depart for the Great American West – Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Canyonlands, Rocky Mountains. For 24 days, we will live in our 26-foot box, with the largest backyard in America.

We have a basic itinerary. We have some reservations, and a list of must-sees and must-dos, and festival dates. My husband and I have seen many of these places before. The kids will see it fresh. They will remember a little bit. They will read about it later.

Of course, it will look different on paper.

I am desperately pleased to have the opportunity to spend 24 days with my family. Everyone seems to struggle finding the time to slow down, and our family is no different. We wonder how to slow down: how to savor life just a little bit more, how to say what we want to say and not forget to say the little things, or spend so much time on the little things that the big things go undone.

When I need to remember, I write it down on paper.

And so, we leave behind the big things and the little things and hope to see the forest for the trees. I look forward to seeing Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Canyonlands, and the Rocky Mountains. I do. They are beautiful places – the air cleans my body and the endless stars refresh my mind. I also hope to look back and see Cleveland from a distance. I’ll see my house without noticing the cracked windowsill. I will see a few pieces of precious childhood artwork and remember that the rest of the pile is trash. I will see the beautiful connections I have made with friends and forgive my intended-but-forgotten playdates.

I will start fresh, with a clean sheet of paper.

The thought of leaving my blog (and my friend’s blogs) saddened me two weeks ago. For another few days, I wondered how I make something useful from my disappointment. I know the world will not stop turning if I am not here. (Tom will tell you that the magnetic fields won’t change either.) If I ever believe that my writing is more interesting than listening to my friends, the loss will certainly be all mine.

A friend offered to guest blog. The blog should be fun, never a source of sadness or stress. I hesitated to take her offer, only because I wouldn't be around for weeks - surely traffic would be low.

And then I listened to her a little closer (and maybe even heard what she was trying to say). After all, isn’t ‘talk less and listen more’ part of slowing down and savoring life?

I will talk less and listen more.

I have invited ten incredible people to blog for me over the next 24 days. They all fit into my life like a crazy-quilt, beautiful fully-stitched, in a way you may never have expected. They range in age from 12 to 70. They live from coast to coast. They are professional writers and childhood friends. I want to listen to what they have to say. I hope you enjoy them too.

And while you enjoy listening, I will be living something new – starting with that first blank sheet of paper.


Indy said...

I thought about you tonight at dinner hitting the open road. I am sure you will have a trip you will never forget. And just think of all of the blogging material you will collect. Enjoy! We'll miss you around here.

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Flea said...

Oh what fun! You're all going to have the time of your lives! I amd just SO jealous. :)

Badass Geek said...

I am looking forward to hearing from the guest poster's, as well as hearing all about your vacation. Have a blast!