A writer not writing
but don't call it writer's block
life: examined is an invitation to get curious—a collection of ideas and thoughts about living a creative, intentional life written—from my perch in Portugal to you.
—> Thank you for your support
It’s been a few weeks since my last post for this alleged weekly newsletter. I’m adjusting to significant changes, so I find it challenging to maintain my routines.
The unsettled weather is mirroring my variable mood. Autumn has transformed from sunny and crisp to grey and wet, turning the fallen leaves into a slippery mush.
Winter is on the way.
In addition to seasonal changes, my life is evolving to make room for another human. No, I’m NOT having a baby (as if & goddess forbid!), but for the first time in nearly a decade, I’m in a relationship that’s more than a friendship (yikes—did I just write that out loud?!).
This partnership is a delightful surprise, and I’m all in—who’d guess that I, an avowed singleton, would be here at this stage of life?
So please forgive me for my absence; I’m doing a crappy job of juggling all the things.
This week, my question to you is:
Do you think a writer is a writer when they’re not writing? And is this a Zen koan?
I’ve been trying to write for the past few weeks, but if I’m honest, that’s not true.
I have thought about writing, but other things jostle for my attention.
These days, my focus is limited; my mind is a charm of hummingbirds, my heart a kaleidoscope of fluttering borboletas.
My attention darts from one thing to the next—sometimes it’s a poem fragment or a podcast revisited, other times a daydream or people-watching session.
The people-watching here is SO good!
Life’s inner tussle is between ideas begging to be developed and random delights to explore, in this, my favorite time of year.
So, I’m pulled in opposing directions—to stay in and write or stroll around the cobbled streets, discovering the rich urban and natural bounty in this port town.
Distractions come in all forms—audio, written, and visual. The visual pleasures are especially numerous.
These are some of my favorites:
late fall sunlight glinting off the azulejos
a convocation of pigeons queued up for a bath in the Praça do Bocage fountain
tiny wild strawberries still hanging on to their patch of soil in the crux of a tree trunk
I know the sensory feast will be here in one form or another, but words and ideas can be slippery, often disappearing before I can shape them into something coherent.
I need to land somewhere and get the ideas out of my head and onto the page.
But more importantly, I need to greet this new time of my life with receptivity—with a softness that allows daily experiences to unfold rather than driving a pre-planned agenda.
Today, fat raindrops and striated charcoal-to-dove grey skies enchanted me, asking me to go slowly, to stop and marvel—so much that I was swept up in the abundance of it all. So what if I had intended to write today?
Until I’m ready to land at the writer’s desk, I’ll wander and wonder, walk and talk, and drink coffee with friends. All this is fodder-gathering for writing anyway, no?
—> What do you think?
Is a writer a writer when she’s not writing?
Or is it only when wrangling words into stories or poems (or grocery lists) that she becomes?
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JUST ONE GOOD LINK
Avoiding conflict makes us more rigid, limits our access to honest, intimate relationships, and causes many to choose the safety of ideology over the awkwardness of deeper human connections.
From Heather Havrilesky aka Ask Polly —> Ghosting Is Bad For You
Muito obrigada to Alex, Lisa, Harriet, and Lisa for supporting life: examined through Buy Me a Coffee. Your generosity, in part, affords me time to write this letter to you.
Whether a coffee, a comment, a like, or a share—I’m grateful to have you along for the ride.
From the life: examined archives
Experiment, take risks, fail, iterate
Don’t miss the cabbage at the convent photo.
Until next time —> be kind, hug animals, brew tea, and thank you for reading life: examined!
A writer is a writer is a writer! No matter when or how you end up putting pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard, a writer’s brain is always processing the construction of an opening sentence, the outline of a story, and the final punchline. I have spent a career writing business proposals, technical writing, and procedures. My move to Portugal has opened a door to a more personal creative writing style. I thought I would be more prolific, more frequent, more, more, more in my newsletter updates (The Next Chapter on Substack), but have only been able to squeak out one update a month. My gauge of success, however, is the number of positive and encouraging responses received from family, friends, and new acquaintances. Enjoy the new things in your life...that’s what living is all about! The writing will happen...when it happens!
Add me to the pile of readers who agree that there can be no writing without living. The writing is the product; the living is the magic. Pen to paper, fingers to keyboard? That's just content. An afternoon at a café enjoying dois galões? That's LIVING.
As always, I continue to look forward to your writing, but please know that I rejoice in your *living*...and your willingness to share it here.