As I walked yesterday, thoughts about my prospectus swirled in my mind, as they have for months. Fifteen pages seems so small compared to papers and projects I have previously written. It also seems a tiny number in comparison to the stack of pages that will ultimately comprise my dissertation. I have been learning from these chaotic thoughts and fears the difference between simply writing to fulfill course expectations and writing that flows from a much deeper place: from what compels me, from what wakes me up at night and begs to be expressed–not for myself alone, or for a grade.
As I wrestle with writing, a phrase keeps coming to mind: commit to your life. There is no other life than the one I am living right now, so one option is to write. Now. Not when I no longer feel panic. Not when I have a cottage by a lake or peaceful mountain view. Not when I have memorized everything about my topic. Nothing will magically make expressing ideas from my visual brain into words any less difficult or writing from my passion (from the Latin passio, suffering) any less painful. Certainly, there is also joy, but not all the time. The ideal time, setting, mood or Susan will not suddenly appear.
If I wait, I will never write.
Or I could choose not to write. A perfectly fine choice.
But I can’t imagine that. Oh, I can vow I’m done with it all, but something keeps bringing me back to the page. Something keeps nudging me to commit to my life, “put it in writing,” risk making some ripples, and trust that something good and beautiful can come of it.