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The thing about taking a break...
…is that you might find a bucketful of new subscribers when you return. Welcome, Sarah, Marc, Molly, Denise, Laura M., alsjd, George, jmaynard, Myusuf, rv, Terri, Linda, Laura, Darci, Ryan, Karin, pardueg, Tracy, Abuhuraira, Lauren, Margaret, Bob, Martha, Vijaya, John, lucy, Crystallized, Philip, Bailey, cath, nadie, Charlie C., Joan, willa, Joshua, Jenny, rena, Michael, cheryl, Terry, paris200, Charlie B., Aurelia, bj, openroad, Ashley, jacky, and mindechen!
Thanks for subscribing to Release and Gather, which jumped the tracks a couple of months ago when I found myself at a loss for words each time I sat at the keyboard. I can’t say I’m full steam ahead yet, but the train is at least back on the rails.
Thanks, also, to several of you OGs who reached out via email to check on me or tell me you missed my posts. Your messages helped me keep trying!
The thing about taking a break—planned or otherwise—is that it’s much harder to start again once you’ve stopped. For a time, I found myself sitting at the desk unable to type anything worth sharing, which then turned into not sitting in front of the keyboard at all. I felt guilty for not adhering to my weekly posting schedule, and I kept thinking, I really should jump on and just let my subscribers know I’m still breathing. But it was just too
difficult embarrassing to keep saying, I’m stuck.
What a vicious cycle!
I’m not the only person who falls into this pattern sometimes. I think of that guy in recovery who keeps relapsing. The woman who wants to leave an unhealthy relationship but keeps going back. The kid who can’t understand why he procrastinates knowing he only has two days left to complete the assignment. The person who can’t stop binging and purging but also can’t seek help.
Making good choice is hard. Discipline is hard. Choosing to sit at the keyboard and type until something good comes out is hard. But I can do hard things, so here I am, sending you words!
After a couple of really busy months at our event venue (including three weeks of having The Gloster Arts Project using our space for free filmmaking and music workshops for area kids!), I’ve been
finding making time to do the things that spark creativity—reading a novel, taking long drives through country roads, eating ice cream in the evenings while waiting for the fireflies and foxes to emerge, enjoying long conversations with those I love, and sitting on the back stoop with a kitten that adopted us.
Two years ago after saying goodbye to our 16-year-old Maltese, we swore there would be no more pets for a very long time. A couple of months ago we heard a desperate mewing that preceded the emergence of a scrawny, starving kitten from under our shed. We put out a can of tuna and some water with only the intention of nursing it to health and then quickly finding it a home.
A month later our local veterinarian declared her to be 2.7 pounds and 10 to 12 weeks old before administering vaccinations, a deworming pill, and flea meds. We had to name her before leaving that appointment. I had called her “kitty” and “cat” and then “Kit Kat,” but that didn’t seem proper enough. So meet Maxine, the little ball of fur who stole our hearts and made us hers (even Mike, who is allergic to cats and declared we weren’t spending any money on the stray, now dotes on her).
Who knew a kitten nuzzling your hand while sitting in your lap under the night sky could heal something in you that you didn’t even know was hurting? 35 years ago, during a 10-day hospital stay being diagnosed and treated for nephrotic syndrome, I was wheeled down to a room where a local nonprofit had brought in animals for patients to hold and pet. I remember someone saying it was because interacting with dogs and cats had been shown to help the infirm.
Having spent most of my life with some sort of pet around, I never gave it much thought. I liked our pets, but if I’m honest, my affection for most of them wasn’t deep. I don’t like dogs licking me or having pet hair on my clothes. I dislike accidents in the house and finding a pet sitter when I want to go out of town. Rowdy, rambunctious dogs stress me out, and then there are the needy ones—the ones that follow you into the bathroom because they can’t let you out of their sight.
I think it’s safe to say that I’ve not been a pet person since I was a child and didn’t care if I had dog slobber (or dirt or food or anything else for that matter) on my clothes. Maybe that’s because for most of my adult life, I was caring for humans and couldn’t sit still long enough to enjoy a pet. In any case, I’ve been transformed into this unrecognizable person who loves being greeted at the door each morning by Max as she whisks past me to her food dish. Having her nap in my lap while I work is tricky, but enjoyable, and she’s made me a person who takes the time to sit and do nothing except scratch under a kitten’s chin for an hour.
.I get it now.
If you’re feeling a little out of sorts, I highly recommend spending an hour or two with a puppy, kitten, or an adult version of the two. Borrow a friend’s or go visit a shelter. Total therapy!
Tell me how you feel about pets. Have you felt more attached to certain ones? If you’re a pet person, have you always enjoyed them?
Until next time, I’ll leave you with some photos of adorable Max, mostly napping.