Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sisterly Advice

My favorite contemporary women authors promote “practice writing,” sometimes called “free writing.” You just put pen to paper and go. The idea is to summon up your first thoughts, not get drug down by second thoughts. To free write is to lube the joints - just like a runner . . . well, runs. It doesn’t have to be perfect or even good. Just write.

Callie was thinking along the same lines when she wrote Anna about facing the big decisions ahead of her. Callie lives in New York City, a dancer by passion if not (yet) by trade. She is also a fine writer; I wish I had her creativity with words. Anna is a senior in high school and wrangling with which college to attend, what to study, what to do next. Callie faces similar confounding questions every day and insightfully wrote, “you have a blank canvas staring you in the face, and you realize you are the one and only painter. Each stroke could mean judgement – failure – success – a bad decision – a good decision. I guess the fact is . . . to just paint.”

What grand advice! I think about that as I go about my days. For, of course, you never get over needing to make big decisions about your life, even at 51. It’s not a bad fall-back philosophy. Just paint. Just write. Just do. For in the doing, you live fully.

Anna hurried home from school on Thursday to help us walk the cows home from the cornstalks. It was great to have her. She always lends a bit of sunshine to the dreariest of days, so much so that we call her our “bright spot.” And as she ventures out into the world, may she paint with abandon, with broad strokes and vibrant colors.

Anna on "Anna" (so named because they share a birthday)


  1. Beautiful! You, too, have a special way with words. Keep at it!

  2. "because in the doing you live fully" - spot on - "broad strokes vibrant colors.. - awesome.

    - but how could I not enjoy this post?! :)

    It's a good sum up mom, straight from the heart strings seemingly without much effort.

  3. What a great picture of your daughter. Cute hat!

  4. Wondeful post Wendy! This story says so much about how we get in our own way. Wouldn't it be a different world if everyone could paint with abandon! You go girls (Wendy, Callie, Anna)