48 essays by Elizabeth Shé

Essay #24: halfway

In Love on August 15, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I am halfway through the 48 essays I promised to post.
It has not gotten any easier.
It is still hard to write the truth and share it with you.

Seems simple enough: write a bunch of words, edit them, then publish on the worldwide web. Many people do it every day.

Simple, yes, except for my thinking: it’s not perfect, no one cares, it’s too hard.

Listening to love is not as easy as it sounds.

Every week I get up in the middle of writing and say, “This is crap. Jesus.”
Ladies and gentlemen, we have entered the chaos part of the writing process, where finishing an essay feels impossible. If I stop here, I am doomed.

Instead, I go for a walk, or make a cup of tea, or do the dishes. Then I sit down again, and try once more to string words into a pleasing sequence.

Because I care, which is a good enough reason to do it. And it is hard, but also supremely satisfying. For 24 Mondays in a row I have kept my promise to myself no matter what: exhaustion, deadlines, tempting opportunities. Regardless of what else is going on in the world, the community, the family, I show up for myself.

Side-effect? Happiness. Pride of accomplishment. Each week, after publishing another essay, I celebrate by playing Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” Keeping a promise to myself is a big deal. A big hallelujah deal.

24 essays into this truth-telling experiment and a few things have changed:
I am healthier. I am happy more often. I am more resilient.

I am also performing more. Saturday night I dressed up as a pirate and, with my shipmates, entertained folks before an outdoor showing of Pirates of the Caribbean. Argh.

Next Sunday I’ll perform my poem, “Can You Surf?”, at a street fair, then write Instant Poetry for a few hours. (Tagline: You give me five words, five minutes, and five bucks; I give you an original poem. Kids love it. They try to stump me with words like baseball shark, decapitate, and ninja gorilla.)

I have also found, or it’s found me, writing work I enjoy. I get to interview motivating movers and musicians, and help people actively preserving our planet.

“We get to carry each other,” sings U2.

Not, we have to carry each other, but we get to. It’s a privilege. We care for and are cared for, in turn. No one should get stuck only carrying, or only being carried. It’s all about balance.

So climb aboard. We’re halfway there.

  1. These essays are beautiful. What you’re doing and who you are certainly is a “big hallelujah deal”. Thank you for living love.

  2. wow!! i Luvit!! thank you very much big sis 🙂

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