Thursday, March 18, 2010

changing the pace

I read carnivorously.

I grasp a plot in my teeth, gnashing through it until I extract the juice and swallow whole fibrous lump. Insatiable, I search for more.

I've always read this way.

I reach the ends of books well fed and hungover.

I revel in each feast.

But though good reads singe important emotional reactions into my psyche, I've forgotten entire books this way, retaining only wisps of the plot.

In typical carnivore fashion, I just slopped through Barbara Kingsolver's new novel, The Lacuna. I inhaled her words, racing through the plot. I turned the last page in awe of a story well crafted, words beautifully arranged. A symphonic novel.

But in an atypical change of pace, I'm moved to reread this one. Now that I'm fat off the plot's hearty meat, I can chew more slowly this time to fully taste the poetry of words, to fully digest the weight of themes. And remember this one.


I practice yoga fluidly.

I move through a series of postures dynamically, saluting the sun, meeting vinyasas. I synchronize movement with breath, flowing though my practice with purpose and perceived grace.

I've only known yoga this way.

I reach the end of my practice with a meditative mind – calmed, clear, at peace.

I honor this practice.

But though my body retains an imprint of each posture, I know that I overlook the subterranean intimacy found through deeper exploration and extended holdings of single poses.

In the new class I'm attending, the instructor explores the nuances of only a few poses – thigh bone press together, shin bones press apart, pelvic rim lifts. Lift the heel, find breadth in the shoulders. The first time I encountered this style, I resisted: what's the point of this? Where's my meditative space? But through this instructor, I'm approaching yoga from a different angle – standing still in a river's current, netting brightly colored fish.


I write slowly, in gasps.

I dig deep, mining words from my soul one at a time. I sift through, collecting the sparkling bits and discarding dingy bits of dirt. I commit words to paper. I revise. Edit. Rearrange. Erase. Start over. It takes a lot of time and energy for me to write anything.

I've always written this way.

I compose short works, agonizing over construction, rhythm, meaning.

I take pride in the end result.

Though this style of writing is my way, I ache to breathe more evenly and find the endurance to dig even deeper.

So in my journal writing, I simply barf words onto the page. I don't think twice about nuances or poetry. I just write. My pen scratches carnivorously, continuously.

By changing the pace, I'm exercising new muscles, building endurance, eyeing a much bigger goal: I want to have a first draft of my novel written by the time I'm 30.

11 months left.