Friday, August 3, 2012


I remember once hearing an interview with Catholic author Ron Hansen.  He told EWTN host Raymond Arroyo of the discipline necessary to write on a daily basis.  He talked about the need for regularly scheduled sleep and exercise, the essential mental habit of taking oneself seriously enough to say, "I'm a writer" and to make tangible that declaration by ... writing.  Even Flannery O'Connor, who suffered from a severe form of lupus which killed her at the age of thirty-six, sat down every morning to write for a minimum of two to three hours.

I'm in the process of coming to terms with the idea of discipline.  I've spent the last thirty five years of my life raising children and I've now become a wraith in my own home.  My fifteen-year-old Welsh corgi, May, died three weeks ago and I am just realizing she was the only living creature in the house who really saw me.  I'm not invisible, but I'm definitely fading. People in their fifties without discipline do tend to fade.

I spend a good deal of time engaged in activities which are unnecessary.  I do volunteer work, I watch crime shows on television, I cook a meal every now and then, I do some graphic design, I occasionally look for a job. I spend the hours of daylight doing just about anything except writing.  I am dissipated.

Night falls and I sit down at the computer.  My intention is always to write, but then I get on Facebook.  There's a kind of deadening effect from the combination of political postings, cute baby animal pictures, cartoons and inspirational "posters," which are all staples of my Facebook newsfeed. More dissipation, only now there is zero optimism because optimism is NOT a night visitor.The combination of the illusion of connectedness and staying up too late contributes to my wraith status.

No, optimism visits in the morning, and even when writing something that may be on the dark side, I need that optimism to commit to the act of writing.  Writing is fundamentally creative, and as author and graphic novelist (he likes to say comic book writer) Neil Gaiman says, "The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before."

So I'm headed off to bed.  It's already very late, and I have big plans for the morning.  I'll start with my prayers.  I'll take a walk and have a "think" for myself.  I'll lift some weights.  And then I'll write.


  1. I love your bloggonym! (Not to mention the WORD bloggonym... ;) And I'm glad to find you in the blogosphere.
    Your points about discipline are so true. I find it much easier to write now, with three little ones and piles of their laundry demanding my attention, than I did before I had any. I like that when I have a free moment, I recognize it as such as snatch it while I can. For me, that means getting up around 5:30 every day. (Thank goodness the baby likes to take a nice long nap with me in the afternoon!)

    1. Oh, you are such a dear to comment on my new blog! I enjoyed Fairy Tale Love and was delighted to read your musings on To Kill a Mockingbird. We had a giant tag sale fundraiser last week (horrible, and I've complained about it way too much ...) but there was a copy of that classic in the book stall. NONE of the homeschooled teens there had read it, so it gave me a chance to give it my "good homeschooling seal of approval" which actually felt like an impertinence. It's tantamount to being asked, "Is it all right to read Pride and Prejudice?" At any rate, you are an inspiration to me, and we will get the "horse tutorial" managed ... does two weeks from today work for you all? Talk to you soon!

    2. Apparently it is *not* all right to read Pride and Prejudice. So says the greatest American storyteller of all time ever. You know who I am talking about...

    3. You mean the one who wanted to dig her up and bash her skull in with her own thighbone? That one?