Posts Tagged ‘reverb11’

The June prompt for #Reverb11 asked, “What can you let yourself off the hook for?” Which sounds an awful lot like gentleness, a favorite word lately, and comfort, my word for the year. So this prompt sounds awfully good to me.

I’m letting myself off the hook for…

1. Venting once in a while (because even if I chose something, I don’t always have to like it).
2. Having a style uniform instead of always dressing creatively.
3. Indulging in the occasional chai latte or other little lifesaver.
4. Not always washing the dishes right after dinner.
5. Having a little clutter in the guest room, and sometimes elsewhere.
6. Reading young adult books. A lot of them.
7. Losing my cooking/knitting/crafting/cleaning mojo once in a while. It always comes back.
8. Saying the wrong thing sometimes.
9. Not saying anything sometimes.
10. Getting distracted (sometimes).
11. Making progress slowly instead of quickly.
12. Being imperfect. (Which really sums up all the others.)
13. Ending the prompt sentence with a preposition.

What can you let yourself off the hook for?


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Recently, an email appeared in my inbox from the Reverb10 crew – the women who brought us 31 days of thoughtful prompts in December. I didn’t write about all the prompts, but I found inspiration in several of them. This month’s prompt (they’ll have monthly ones throughout 2011) is: What questions are you living?

I immediately thought of this quote from Rainer Maria Rilke:

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were rooms yet to enter or books written in a foreign language. Don’t dig for answers that cannot be given you yet: you cannot live them now. The point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live your way into the answer.

And this one from Zora Neale Hurston:

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.

So far, it seems, 2011 is doing a lot of both asking and answering. When I received the email, I was still asking: where and when will I find a job? How will we pay the bills this month without dipping deeply into savings? Can we make it financially here in Boston? Will it ever stop snowing?

Now, I’m asking a slightly different set of questions: what will my new job be like? Will I like it? How will I balance my own writing with full-time work? (And I’m now asking, Will it ever be warm again?)

Of course, these are the everyday questions – along with the more mundane ones of what to wear, what to cook, which flowers to buy, what to order at a restaurant. But there are deeper questions I’m living, too, the most salient of which I’ve been asking for six months now: How will we make a life here in Boston?

I don’t think that last question has one answer; indeed, I think it has many answers. I am still discovering many of them. But for now, I think, the most important answer is: we are making a life here. Slowly, slowly, with each day and week, each workday and each evening at home, each hour spent with friends new and old, we are carving out a life for ourselves here. We are living an adventure we only dreamed of back in Abilene (though we still miss it, and our dear ones there). We are living the answer to a huge question: What would happen if we moved across the country to pursue our dreams?

At times, the answer can feel difficult or lonely. But I’m glad we decided to ask the question, and so far I’m enjoying living out the answer.

What questions are you living lately?

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