Writing in November

I wrote these words last November, just a little over a year ago, and then they sat in my list of drafts. 

My hands have been busy this November – a constant tension between writing and knitting.  The cold weather hits, and all I want is to curl up on the couch with a ball of yarn in my lap and click my needles together.  Except I also want to write a novel, and NaNoWriMo has called to me for a second year.  I try to balance a bit.  Some writing, some knitting.  I get into a flow with one and forget the other.  Then I switch.  It’s yin and yang –calming, exciting, calming, exciting.

This month I feel enormous gratitude for both of them, for the feel of yarn as it runs across my hand, a fresh scarf wrapped around my neck, for making words come out of the mouths of characters I create, for the luxury of precious minutes at my computer to live in my imaginary world. 

I didn't meet my NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words. I only made it to 20,000, and I can't even remember now what stood in the way. Certainly not knitting, unless I bundle the piles of yarn into the category of All Things Not Writing. 

Life, I suppose. The ups and downs, and all the events and feelings that pulled me away from the page. I did some writing - some on the novel, some on some short stories, a little journaling here and there. But for the most part, in the last year, I have found myself drawn more toward knitting and reading and watching television - things that calm me and pull me out of myself rather than the thing that turns my attention toward my own mind. 

Even with fiction, when I am writing about worlds that are not my own, there is still a turning inward, the way I rely on my own imagination and consciousness to create something interesting on the page. I must be alive, alert, engaged. 

I've heard people talk about the loss of their faith, the hole that it leaves and the panic about not being able to get it back again. Not wanting to write has felt a little like that to me. Obviously I'm not a prolific author who makes my living by the written word, but writing has been, for as long as I remember, a place of discovery. Sometimes it has been the only way I have found to truly express myself to others, but more often it is the key to expressing my own feelings to me.  

In the last year, sitting down to write, I felt empty.  The words on the page seemed detached from me, and it was scary. 

With snow on the ground and hibernation in the air, I don't know if I'm back or why, but there's a tingling - a desire for my pen and my keyboard - that I missed. I'm afraid to put too much pressure on it. I have this sense that if I chase it, I'll find that it has flown away. 

Instead, I'm trying to take nice slow breaths and approach it gently, with the hopes that when I look again, it will be there sitting quietly on my shoulder.