In The Writing Life, Annie Dillard wrote,
I have been looking into schedules. Even when we read physics, we inquire of each least particle, What then shall I do this morning? How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.
On the first of each month, a guest writer shares how he or she spends the day.
February 1, 2014: Lindsey Mead
Lindsey Mead writes about her struggle to be as present as she can in her life where she is a writer and a headhunter, a mother and a wife, a friend and a sister. She writes to find “a coherent sense of self in all of these splintered identities.” And this desire to make sense of the different selves that we are is a big part of the reason I love reading Lindsey’s words. An equally big part is that Lindsey is struggling to tell the truth. She is right there on the page. Her words are real. Her blog posts matter.
Sometimes physical space seems so mute, so indifferent; it surprises me that somehow the important moments that have transpired in a place don’t remain there, echoing, animate, alive somehow. Maybe they do. Occasionally, in returning to a place that hosted an important moment in my life, I can feel that moment, hovering, bumping into me, invisible to the eye but not to the spirit.
In honor of Lindsey’s honesty, I would like to say here now that I struggle with getting older in the sense that it seems impossible that so many years have passed. For that reason, I love this post: This is Thirty-Eight.
Thirty eight is thirteen years of marriage. It is knowing all the ways that marriage is both less and more than I thought it was, when I walked into a church wearing white and hearing thunder. Less score-keeping, less candlelight, less drama. More small acts of kindness, more forgiveness, more abiding. Fewer flowers, but more cups of coffee made exactly how I like them, without being asked, brought to me in bed in the morning.
Perhaps, starting on my birthday this year, I will follow Lindsey’s lead and write my own “this is” post as a way to work toward coming to terms with the number of years already behind me.
Lindsey and I share a love of the writing of Ellen Gilchrist and Dani Shapiro. Lots of overlap in our reading. A love of poetry. A love of our years at summer camp. I feel the same unease she feels, although mine comes from a different place.
She describes her blog, A Design So Vast, where she’s been writing since 2006, as “one woman’s journey to right now.” The name of the blog comes from Louise Erdrich (The Bingo Palace):
There is no such thing as a complete lack of order, only a design so vast it appears unrepetitive up close.
Many of her blog posts are republished at The Huffington Post, like this book review of Dani Shapiro’s Still Writing or this essay 10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know Before She Turns 10.
Lindsey graduated from Princeton with a degree in English. She has her MBA from Harvard. In addition to The Huffington Post, her writing has been published in four anthologies, as well as in Brain, Child, Mamapedia, and Literary Mama, She once described this series on how writers spend their days as a “wonderful look at someone doing their heart’s work.” Come back in just a few precious days to take a look at how Lindsey Mead does her heart’s work.
Come back on FEBRUARY 1st to read how LINDSEY MEAD spends her days.