“The story is always better than your ability to write it.” — Robin McKinley
All stories are small, I tell my kids. If you find yourself unable to write – the so-called writer’s block – it’s probably because you’re trying to be too big. You’re trying to write something so universally true that there’s simply no way for it to exist, and you sit in front of a blank screen.
I know this about writing, and about life.
And yet sometimes everything changes – everything – and the idea of writing small seems overwhelming difficult because when everything changes how can that be tiny?
I dubbed 2011 The Year Everything Changes.
This is a tradition in my sobriety. Every December, I begin to formulate my Plan of Action for the upcoming year. I do this so that I can help focus my life along a continuum.
Within each year, there are sub-years (e.g. The Summer of Run, The Year of Friends, The Year of Dawkins) meant to explore different aspects of my life that I want to improve.
I do this because I know that change comes with purposeful action, and for too many years I lived without purpose.
To track my progress, I keep a tack board at my house with color-coded note cards.
The change in my life has come as a result of a series of note cards being removed from a tack board each year.
The Year Everything Changes is almost over, and I can say it’s been a success. The Summer of Run, getting the house in Austin on the market, and Transmedia Indiana have all profoundly impacted my life.
I am forever changed. The person who showed up in Muncie three years ago, broken and empty, is gone, replaced and renewed.
And yet those tasks – those very big tasks from these past few years – seem like precursors to what is transpiring in my life now, the shifting tide that is shaping the 2012 Year Of (which I’m not quite ready to share here).
Those currents in my life are large, and the changes looming are big. So big, in fact, that I have written and deleted this post several times in the last few hours. The story seems too big to tell.
Still, those currents were set off by a series of very tiny — very unexpected — tremors within the fabric of my universe.
It’s then that I’m reminded that stories are small and change comes from purposeful action. So I write one of the sub-years on note card tonight: 2012: The Year of the Heart.