I have taken to 

Writing haikus with coffee

Morning ritual

I wrote that one a couple months ago when I decided it was time to give that little fire inside me room to grow.

Here it is: I’m thinking about doing something scary. 

But first let’s talk about the seven-year-old fishing enthusiast and now bonafide self-help guru I share a home with–

It was a normal night. I made a vegetable chicken soup because the chill in the air seemed to demand it. My son turned his nose up at it– made the gagging face when he took a tiny bite. This is dinner, I said. Do I have to eat all of it? Yes. 

It took him so long to eat that tiny cup of soup that I finished my generous bowl, washed the dishes, did some laundry, and took a shower all before he got up from the table. I walked out to find him still at the table, finishing off the last bite.

You know, mom, he began. When I finally changed my attitude, it was actually pretty good!

That’s when the metaphoric fireworks exploded. Doves were released and soared above bright blue skies. Flowers bloomed in my desperately-needing-a-win little mom heart. My child? Did my child just say that? Did my child just say that after eating vegetables? Am I possibly the greatest parent alive? 

It’s days later, and I’m feeling less hyperbolic, but I still hear that sweet little voice telling me that changing his attitude changed his reality. 

When I changed my attitude

I’ve been thinking about how I could apply this lesson to my own life. What are the vegetables I think I don’t like? The ones that, if I gave them a chance, would nourish me?

When I was in college I majored in both English and art because writing and drawing were my two (equal) loves. Somehow along the way, the writing got too scary, and I dove whole-heartedly into a wide, safe net of critical analysis and academic writing that took me straight through graduate school and ended with a stamp of approval in the form of a Master’s Degree in English (not creative writing).

Here I am, fourteen years later, painting more than ever but writing less and less. And yet there’s still a need for it that hasn’t stopped chattering about inside for decades. 

Into the Unknown, palette knife painting

palette knife painting detail

I’m slowly working on my attitude about it. Changing “that’s frightening” to “that’s exciting.” Replacing “one day I’ll probably try” to a new morning ritual of writing a haiku with my coffee. Nothing earth shattering. But those haikus have led to some fully fleshed poems. They’ve led to this blog post. They’ve reminded me that just like paintings happen one stroke at a time, so do poems and stories and the only way to get to the end is to start at a beginning. Write a word or a line or sentence– sketch. 

This January, I’ll be starting my new year as I always do: 31 paintings in 31 days. But this time I’m going to incorporate more of my writing into it. I don’t know what that will look like yet– maybe a poem each day to accompany the painting. Maybe something else. If you’ve never followed along during a January 31, I want you to know that it’s an open invitation. I’ve created a small facebook group where people who want to take on a daily task for the month (anything from writing to yoga, going for a walk, painting, ANYTHING) can share their accomplishments and get a whole lot of virtual high fives.

Let me know in the comments if you want to be included in the group. And if it sounds scary or laborious or downright broccoli-level horrifying, just remember, you’ve got just under a month to change your attitude about it and see what happens.

Let me know in the comments if you want to join us. I promise you wont’ regret it. 


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