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  • Writer's pictureShana Ritter

It’s that time

I am at the point in working on my novel when I’ve generated enough words that I need to put one page after the other, chapter after chapter into a readable first draft. But I freeze. Part of me longs for paper and scissors, tape and glue. It may yet come to that. I am trying not to be overwhelmed.

I stop to read the book I return to at this time of year “This is Real and You Are Totally Unprepared” by Alan Lew. It is about getting ready for the high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; the notion of turning, of coming back again, of opening and closing and opening again. For me it’s more about reflection and change then repentance and atonement. Perhaps though it’s the same thing after all.  We recognize what we’ve done or haven’t done, we work to forgive ourselves, we promise we will do better. We begin again. We believe again in our own capacity to choose what is right, to be kind, to be creative, did I say to be kind.

Just as the nights extend and the garden bends itself toward Fall, just as the harvest is brought in, just as we face into our homes instead of outwards we look inside ourselves. At least at this moment we are aware of all the stories we hold, and of all those we’ve heard. We have suffered and we have caused suffering. We have loved and been loved. And all of us have won and all of us have experienced loss.  Word by word, one phrase after the other we share our stories until the wind is so full of us it carries the sound away.

A good part of writing is being able to still long enough so that the wind settles. All the words are here I just need to be quiet enough to hear them. Garner the patience to set them one after the other, the fortitude to continue page after page. But isn’t this what we do with, Mary Oliver calls it “our one wild and precious life” ? We do the best we can each day, we rest at night, we start again. We hope our dreams have taken us where we were able to hear the stories. We hope we remember.

L’Shanah Tova           May the coming year be sweet for you.

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