I'm kinda liking hibernation. I've got my feet up on my desk, keyboard in lap, soup simmering on the stove and a fresh cup of coffee at hand.
It's day four of being confined to the house because of an ice storm in Texas. The rest of the country has been covered in feet of snow, but so far we have escaped the wrath of winter with only a slick covering of ice and now a fresh falling of powdery white to cover and keep the streets frozen. Still, Texas is pretty much closed for business. My son in Boston doesn't want to hear about not being able to drive on the ice. He keeps shoveling the white stuff onto piles that are taller than he is, and standing on corners waiting for buses while the wind chills him to several degrees below zero.
But here I am, in the comfort of my home. All meetings and appointments have been canceled, my pipes haven't burst, there's food in the 'fridge and the heat is on.
And, I have the luxury of chewing on a quote. I offer a paraphrase: the process of writing is like giving birth to yourself, to that person we were born to be, to the one whose destiny is encoded in our soul, our diamon, our genius. (Steven Pressfield, via Clayton Lutz, on Glimmer Train Bulletin www.glimmertrain.com .)
When someone writes about destiny, encoded on our souls, discovering the person you were meant to be, they've got me. Maybe it's because I read so many fairy tales and heroic journeys in my life, maybe because I've studied and taught scripture, maybe it's just the person I was born to be, but I am a sucker for soul talk.
Spending time with the soul quote, the words 'gather and sift' kept bobbing in my brain. All of life experiences count. They all matter. But it is in the sifting of these experiences that reveal who we are, our strengths and weakness, our love and character.
Gather and sift. We live in the wet and sticky, dry and crackly, freezes and heats of life. We live in thee meadows and sunshine and the babbling brooks of life. We gather and sift. We discover who we are when we are stripped down to our essentials. Gold in the fire, burn away the dross. Comforts removed, independence gone, dignity redefined, we are who our life has shown us to be, we are the choices and habits and prayers that have built us, the generations preceding and the generations following.
These cave days have let me make some real progress with my novel. No meetings, no driving and no place to be has let me drop down a few levels into the story that I am trying to give birth to.