In The Middle

As a creative person I feel compelled to be constantly making things. I like to do it, most times I love to do it, but sometimes it feels a little like those enchanted Irish shoes that make you dance, and you can't take them off. There aren't enough hours in the day to sew all the clothes, cook all the recipes, make all the prints, draw all the drawings, play all the songs, and write all the stories, and I wish there were! My fingers are itching to spray paint prints, my brain is writing stories and songs by itself, I'm ready to take on three different cookbooks, and I want to sew a collection of clothes that would make Project Runway proud. But sheesh! How does this actually get done?!

I'm in the middle-of-the-beginning-of-the-end of the publication of my first book. It is the beginning of the end because although we finally finished the major editing and copy editing of the book, it's far from finished - it is more like the middle of the whole project, because there is still so much to be done. There is still the proof reading, page design, final sign off, and then the printers, as well as publicity. And that is all really the beginning of the next stage.

The fact is, no matter what stage you are in - in life, in your projects, your work, your family - it is all the middle. Each day is the middle, each moment of the day. We are in the middle of the stream - swimming, never quite reaching the "other side", the final culmination, the ultimate realization - the BIG AHA. Life is so fluid, so flowing - that moment you are working for, striving for, hoping for - is now. Right now, in the middle of everything. Right now is your achievement, your work, your love - right now is your community.

When I make things, write things, draw things, cook things - I am trying to capture my vision of my world and share it. I'm trying to savor life, the beauty of it, the taste of it, the feeling of it...but it's rarely comfortable. Making prints is very hard on my back, cooking is also painful because standing is hard for me, I have to draw upside down these days since I can't sit at a table for very long - I draw laying down in bed, holding my tablet in the air. Ouch. And my sewing skills really bite right now because I haven't done it in so long, likewise my guitar playing and singing, totally rusty, but I'll get to them all soon. Rusty or not, there is some beautiful music that must be made - I just have to make piece with being in the middle of everything, not on a straightforward path with linear logic and reliable quality - but a bumbling, stumbling, sometimes sloppy, sometimes miraculously beautiful road forward, with pit stops to smell the roses.

Meanwhile I'm working hard to get the book done and ready for the world. And it too, is in the middle - I'm 50 years old, so it's being born in the middle of my life, and in the middle of my writing skills. I love my story, it is something that came from deep within me, that was created in my own childhood and steeped in all of the stories I read and re-read since then, but it is vulnerable. I am a new novelist, and learned so much along the way that I am certain I really know nothing at all. I have no idea how the book will be received, reviewed, or if it will even be enjoyed by children. It was written for me actually, the grown woman who still loves the genre. I know I'm not the only one, in fact that is a group that is growing by leaps and bounds, so I wonder if I have any readings will they be for children, or for adults? I suppose both. Right there, in the middle.

This is an amazing time for me. A new empty-nester, I am shocked and surprised every day by the new freedom I have, which is why the creativity urge is ramping up. Unfortunately all this also coincides with the serious onset of menopause and it is pretty devastating. My sleep is ruined. For over a month I haven't slept longer than two hours at a time, waking up soaked in sweat. Literally soaked, wringing wet, sheets, nightgown, everything. Then I get a chill, and shiver like crazy, have to change everything and try to sleep again. Then, two hours later...same thing. It's 12:39 am right now and I've been up since 11pm. I'll probably be awake until about 3, then fall asleep for two hours. Yesterday I fell asleep at noon and woke up at 2pm. Everything is upside down, but I am really trying to roll with it. I dont' have to drag myself into an office, and I don't have any more children at home, so I'm lucky. I am just going to use the strange hours I'm up to get creative.

In fact, I think I'll go do some proof reading of the book. Right now, in the middle of my life, in the middle of the night. xoxoxo