In the pause: Rise as the whole damn fire—advice on writing, politics, and life

“It’s okay if you fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn fire.” ~Colette Werden

Our country is in turmoil now no matter where you sit on political spectrum. We go to bed thinking, “I can’t believe that happened today. Thank god we got through that.” And then we wake up to something even wilder than we experienced yesterday. And it’s happening every day. I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

Writers go through this roller coaster, too, and often. We’re humming along and then we get lost or confused or frustrated. We read something or think of a new idea that makes us believe we have to backtrack and go through the entire story again because this time, this time, we’ll get it right.

Here’s what happening in our country and in our writing: the act of creating is a maddening process. The act of governing, too, is maddening because democracy at its core is a creative act. While creating, we’re going to lose our way. It’s an inevitable part of the journey because while we know where we’ve been we really aren’t sure what comes next. The imagination is that dynamic.

What we can’t do is despair. Even though we may feel lost, our imaginations still work. Our democracy still works., and we often beat ourselves up as the cause.