Since closing up my apartment last week, I've been trying to point my nose at doing more writing work, whether or not I know what I'm doing or would like to do yet. I find more and more that I want to get to work, and I'm trying my best to listen to that impulse and follow it.
Which still doesn't mean I know what to work on. But I've chosen a place to start.
I study taiji at a great school for Chinese martial arts in Harrisburg, PA, and wrote a number of essays about it on my old blog. Last year my teacher suggested I could assemble them into a booklet for publication. A lot of my fellow students seemed to respond positively to what I wrote, he said, and perhaps other people would find them valuable too.
Hrm. Me, publish a thing? Hmmm.
I made a start. If Coach Jose thought it was a good idea, I was willing to consider it might be. I did a good bit of rewriting and pondering and dithering over how to make it all work.
I was working on those essays on the day panic attacks arrived. The next four months were absorbed in major anxiety and depression; the taiji essays were dropped and forgotten.
But not thoroughly forgotten. I certainly remembered I had written them; there was some decent writing in the original blog versions, some good ideas, if also some really rough patches. I thought about them once in a while, but briefly and without much interest. I wasn't going back to those. Not after what happened the last time I worked on them.
I'm past the serious anxiety nonsense now. If not forever, then for now. And it feels like time to revisit the taiji essays, to see what's there and if it's really worth pushing them forward. To work on something all by my own volition, to see what I can make of it. To put it out into the world and find out what happens.
It's still hard work. When I reopened the files and re-read what I had already done, I more or less squinted at them with one eye, not entirely sure they wouldn't bite me if I got too close. I read and skimmed, and started to make connections I had not seen before, had some new ideas about what I could say differently and better. I made some notes. I hmmm'ed some more.
It's still a pretty daunting challenge. Still really easy to pick up my iPad and play silly games instead of getting to work.
But, more and more of me wants to get to work. And this project is what I have right now to do -- work already in progress, work that someone besides myself once thought would be good and useful, work that feels like the right size of challenge to take on. It's a place to start. I'm taking it.