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Writing Between The Cracks
Last month Jennie Guinn spoke to our Nashville Catholic Writer’s group on how to create the mindset to write on a consistent basis. When asked “what holds us back from doing what we believe is our vocation as well as our passion,” many answered “life”, as in time and attention given to regular jobs, our aging parents, our children, and our spouses. Alana stated very simply, “It’s hard to write between the cracks.” She is so right.
All I’ve ever done is write before the sun rises, as well as the spouse and the children, before my 8-10 hour a day job which I completely cherish (who wouldn’t) at St. Mary’s Bookstore and before my mind is filled with the craziness of my life. I’ve managed, so far, pretty well but now that my last child is in college and my two oldest daughters work with us, I’m hungering for more. I’m trying to make space. I’m trying to rearrange, reassess, and reprioritize my days. Forty years of using the same schedule make me feel a little stuck in those cracks but I know that is a feeling that can be chiseled to a new reality. There’s fun to be had and challenges to meet and I’m all in with trying something new.
While thinking about writing between the cracks, I remembered that while traveling to gather information for my book Visiting Mary, my children and I often found writings crammed into the cracks of the grottoes. Prayers, letters, and notes asking Our Lady to take their intentions to her Son. People’s names are in bold letters. Stories that would fill books and pull at our hearts. Hard times, difficult requests left in the cracks that often only time could heal. Their writings somehow made them feel better, loved, and cared for by Our Blessed Mother. As if her mantle was wrapped around their needs in a warm embrace.
All these experiences make me stop and remember why we write, and how we use our daily lives to raise thoughts, to create ideas, to gather, and to continue our journeys. Our minds are constantly “on” and we often carry with us notecards and pens to catch any brilliant ideas for moving our work forward. Post-it notes are stuck in our consoles and our journals. Words wrapped in the pages, waiting for people to fall in love with our work. Writing between the cracks is hard. But if we want to be heard, we persevere, we persist, we sit and we write.