Sleep When You’re Dead {live to tell the stories}

I am too wired to sleep. Maybe it’s the chai tea or the six cups of coffee, or the fact that I’m a little hyperbolic at times.

But I’m rather convinced the real reason I can’t sleep is that I’m a writer. I’m a storyteller. I’m an artist. I’m officially a part of this sacred group of elitists, these people who will always be needed no matter which direction society turns.

And I’m a part of this group because I say so.

Have you ever read Anne Lamotte’s Bird by Bird? Well I have and you should, writer or not.  When I finished reading it, I found myself too inspired to do anything but create great lines and plots and scenes in my head, words batting back in forth in my mind like a bright yellow ball in a heated tennis match.

I love to write, not for the hope of one day becoming famous or rich or even published because truthfully that scares the—er— it’s terrifying.

I love to write because of the feeling it produces within me. I’ve taken note and put something on paper. There’s a part of me that will go on existing and a story that has been told.

It’s not enough to tell your story; amplify it, tell it beautifully and proudly.

But it can’t stop there, either. Don’t just allow your story to be loud and amplified, you have to let it reverberate, resound. Let God’s voice echo in the sound waves of your story because he’s the original author. I’m the facilitator of the story he’s writing with my life.

It’s my job to observe, to take it all in, deep breathes and long sighs, and to let it echo throughout history, even if only on the pages of my journal or blog.

Ernest Hemingway and I have a similar work routine:

“I write one page of masterpiece to 91 pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”

Writing isn’t  about getting your story perfect, it’s about getting your story outside of you and into the world.

I’m learning a lot about writing (thanks to this guy) and the most important lesson is this: writing is a gift.

And  not the kind of gift like the way Michael Jordan is a gifted athlete. But writing, this practice of sitting down everyday and getting the true, honest and innocent and bold thoughts out into the world with the hope of leaving it a little brighter, a little better— that’s the gift.

So I’ll give. I write.

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moving day

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”                                          -On the Road, Jack Kerouac

I hate moving.

My life has been marked by transition. change. motion.

In April of this year, I moved into a new apartment.

In March, I packed up my car, drove fifteen hours across five states and moved into a new house and a new desk at a new job.

In 2011, I moved to a different country every month for eleven months.

In 2010, I moved out of my college house and into a cabin in the San Juans.

In 2009, I packed my maletas and spent a semester taking siestas, drinking sangria, and enjoying the Mediterranean coast, oh and studying too.

In the years leading up to these, I moved from the home of my parents, to a dorm, to a townhouse, to a house, with a many a camp cabin in the summers.

If you haven’t gotten it yet, I move around a lot. And I’m not even a military brat.

Some moves are better than others. Some easier, some harder.

The thing about moving is there’s always change.

Sometimes I welcome change with open arms; like the hot summer sun warming your skin when you step out of a chilly movie theater. I love that feeling. Sure, it may be 95 degrees out, but for those few moments you don’t even care because you just spent the past two hours freezing your ba donk off, stuffing your face with popcorn and pulling your knees into your chest.

Other times I dread it. Not so much because of where I’m headed, but what I am leaving behind. People, places, memories.

But I love and hate altogether the way moving opens your eyes to things, new opportunities, old ideas, and it invites the new eyes of others to look upon you, seeing you differently than before.

For some, this is exactly what you need. You were the nerd in high school. The loner, the loser. Or maybe just went unnoticed. College is a new stage and life’s giving you the chance to write your own script from scratch. You can be anyone you want to be. Sorority girl. Student gov. Coffee shop barista  hippie.

For others, a life change is much harder to grasp. You were the team leader, organizational president, known for this or that and respected for it- people knew your name even when you didn’t know theirs. You step into a new community and you’re back at square one.

Typically, we’ve found ourselves at one of these places in some ways.

The beauty in transition is the newness, the chance to start over in even the littlest things improving our lives, our character, our faith. New obstacles arise and challenge us in new ways, while others are laid to rest if even for a season.

I’m learning a lot about change, mostly by firsthand experience. I accept it, learn from it. Seek out feedback from those around me.

Over the past couple months, Change has continued to strike…but I’m not talking about that—yet. Until then, chew on this:

  • What has changed in your life this month? This year? The last five years?
  • How did you handle that change?
  • What would you do differently next time?