If all you knew of me came from this site, surely you would have thought this project defunct. After all, my last post was two years ago. Life happened.
Death happened too. I said goodbye to more than seven people in 2016– including my father, aunt, dear childhood friend, and next door neighbor.
Many mornings found me unable to write at all. I feared my process and despaired in my results. But I persisted in my practice. To shake my perspective free, I traveled: Losing myself in the souks and sands of Morocco, paying my respects to my hometown of Kailua, Hawaii, and investigating patterns at Burning Man.
Whenever I felt tempted to wallow in self-pity, I picked up my copy of Captain John Riley‘s 1817 book, now retitled as Sufferings in Africa. An ancestor of mine, he was shipwrecked on the coast of Western Africa, enslaved, and ransomed to freedom in the Moroccan city now known as Essaouira. He held the complexity of his captivity, reminding me to never surrender my compassion. He reminded me to persevere.
I set aside a full week in Kailua to structure the final chapter of my book. I surrendered to dawn walks along the beach, followed by full-on sticky-noted insanity in my small rented studio. I had never afforded myself the luxury of a writer’s retreat before, and it felt . . . magnificent. I’ve since written the last chapter, and there’s a certain peace to my breathing, now that I know where I wind up.
And playing the role of fortune teller at Burning Man, reading the Tarot from a small circus nook on the Esplanade, I stepped further outside myself to regard the larger cycles of our years. The patterns in our behaviors. I stepped through my fears to recognize that I’ve been living a creative life for some time now, which was always the truest intent of the project.
And so I still rise every morning at 5:45, stretching while the French press steeps, the sit down with a cat to tackle my next editing assignment. I’m reviewing the story of each woman for continuity, preparing for an in-depth analysis of the back half. If the pace continues, I’ll begin looking for a publisher later this year.
So here’s to 2018. Where creative persistence pays off.