Nirvana

I’m often asked what it’s like to be a writer — how I spend my days, how I experience the world. And so I will be sharing occasional essays from the front lines of my writing life. Enjoy!

Image of sun breaking through clouds, from Nirvana, by Beth Mende Conny

Source: Flikr, creative commons

Saw the doctor this week and it’s official: I’m sick. Some viral crap. But sick is for other people. I have too much to do.

I noted this to my husband and he got ticked. “There’s nothing you have to do today.” But really, I wasn’t talking about meeting a deadline, and I certainly wasn’t talking about doing laundry. (Laundry? Ha!). I was talking about reaching Nirvana — that place where my mind will do what my body will not: rest.

Every morning I’m out of bed by 6:30 am, I slip on baggy clothes, grab a pen and pad , and a book  from my nightstand and head to the door, only to turn and grab a second book, maybe a third, even a fourth, and then head downstairs, plop on the couch and freeze. What to do first? Write?

My mind is full; pen and pad are my spigot. I can feel the pressure build, the pent up flow. But I also want to read. But which book to choose? I want to absorb them all. And so we sit, my books and I, waiting for the other to decide.

By then, my husband lumbers down the stairs, fixes tea and cereal, gathers his knapsack and the lunch I prepared for him — sandwich, two fruits, something sweet and unhealthy. He comes over, kisses me goodbye. “Love, ya,” he says. “Love ya,” I say. And he’s off to work.

But today, there was a twist. “Drink plenty of fluids — clear fluids,” he said. And stay in bed. Your body needs rest.”

“I have too much to do.”

“There’s nothing you have to do today.”

Oh, but there was. Nirvana.

If I just keep moving, I’ll get reach its edge. I’ll part its clouds with a whisper and gaze over all that is above and below. How lovely its breeze. There, there is no spigot. The words flow into a sweet endless stream that makes the earth green. There, I will not have to choose between books because I will absorb each with a mere laying on of hands.

There, I will not have a fever or need to drink plenty of fluids. I will stretch out, accept the moment. Take a nap. And when I awake, as if from a dream, I will engage in the most basic of human activities: I will watch TV.

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