UPDATE: It was brought to my attention that when you reply to this newsletter, your emails bounce. I think I've corrected it. I apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to corresponding with y'all more.
Last night, I spent several hours sitting on an old floral couch on the patio of a bar I quite like with two friends whom I enjoy deeply. This joy felt earned because yesterday, unlike many of the days that preceded it, was a good writing day.
A good writing day probably varies by writer, but for me it's when an essay finally begins to fall together like when you're working dough and it goes from hairy and scraggly to smooth and pliable.
It's a day that begins with a good walk, so I have some sense of peace about me by the time I arrive at my desk. It's day where I feel like I've pegged a respectable amount of words to the page and that it isn't all irredeemable babble that'll be deleted the next time I plop down in front of my desk.
Many of my days are not good writing days and with an impending manuscript deadline, the stress of that keeps me up at night. Even when I know stressing does not generate more or better writing. To soothe myself, I try to remember that this is the life I've been striving for. A life where I read, I write, I talk about what I've read, and what I've written, and if I'm lucky, some place pays me for some combination of these things.
So, why the stress? Why the worry? Because it all feels so precarious. I've arrived, but I've not settled in. I'm a renter, not a home owner in my Dream House. When I quit my job, I did so knowing I might soon need to find another job, but I told everyone, "At least, I'll get to say I lived the dream, even if it was only for a year."
I think it's probably foolish to seek out certainty in our current world – DID YOU KNOW THE OCEAN WAS ON ACTUAL FIRE A FEW WEEKS AGO?! And I know from personal experience, that certainty tends to breed restlessness in me. Besides there are never any givens in life. We lose loved ones, relationships end, our bodies betray us, and even when we think we know, we have no idea.
So, all I can do is live the life I want to live in whatever ways, small and large, my current life allows for. I can't let my pursuit of a static, everlasting joy undermine the only joy were allowed – the joy that emanates from the present moment.
So, this week, I'd love to hear what you have to say about your "momentary joys." What do they look like? How do you procure them? How do you protect them? What do you have to shelter them from?