Tuesday, May 05, 2009

What Now?

Tonight I read WHAT NOW by Ann Patchett. It's an extension of the commencement address she gave at Sarah Lawrence College. It's was pretty synchronistic finding it today given that in my art class we were to ask a question and that was basically mine.

You can read the book in one sitting. What it reminds me is to embrace the times when we don't know what will happen.

Since getting my MFA, I've been a place that has felt a lot like an airport terminal and a delayed flight, a lot of waiting around. I'll be honest here, I've let myself down more than once since grad school. I've become not focused on the now, but the then. Not focused on conversation, but in who else was in the room.

Here's a favorite part from Ann P's book, WHAT NOW that resonated with me tonight:

"The secret is finding the balance between going out to get what you want and being open to the thing that actually winds up coming your way. What now is not just a panic-stricken question tossed out into a dark unknown. What now can also be our joy. It is a declaration of possibility, of promise of chance. It acknowledges that our future is open, that we may well do more than anyone expects of us, that at every point in our development we are still striving to grow. There's a time in our lives when we all crave the answers. It seems terrifying not to know what's coming next. But there is another time, a better time, when we see our lives as a series of choices, and What now represents our excitement and our future, the very vitality of life. It's up to you to choose a life that will keep expanding. It takes discipline to remain curious; it takes work to be open to the world--but oh my friends, what noble and glorious work it is. Maybe this is the moment you shift from seeing What now as one more thing to check off your list and start to see it as two words worth living by."


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It's hard work for me to live in the moment, in the What now and not in the future world. It's hard work for me to crave the answers, but I will work on this, in living in this strange unknown moment where the past is set, the future is open and what I can do is continue writing, enjoy the people who are here with me right now, and try my very best to trust it will all work out.


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