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Falling, then getting up. October, 2015

I fell hard with a cold ten days ago. A week before I usually get my flu shot. Nothing like the bad respiratory crud to make me realize I am not intrepid, infallible, and capable of all things, all the time.

Grounded, in flannel pajamas (I even walked to the grocery story in them, a new low), living on Advil Cold and Sinus, I had no choice but to take stock: Besides the fact I have way too many knitting projects waiting for my attention, mocking me from baskets and trays, there was no question I needed more structure to finish this second draft. Even more, I know myself — I thrive with the stimulation of other writers. I hammer out the tough issues with my writing tribe on Tuesday nights, but structurally, I am adrift. I missed a lot of the fall workshops arriving back here later than expected. I didn’t want to battle cross-town Seattle traffic one more night for any evening classes. I was going this solo and having trouble getting out of my own way.

In the midst of the every-pocket-full-of-kleenex stage and very aware I housed a stir-crazy Olive, I took a long dog walk with an amazing writing friend around the lake. And Voila. Thanks to her prod, I have jumped into perhaps the most stimulating, organized and challenging workshop yet.

Memoir As Quest at The Hugo House is taught by the stunning Nicole Hardy, author of Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin. She knows how to drive the hour. The first workshop — sucking down cup after cup of hot water, lemon and honey from my thermos and trying not to blow my nose right or left — things fell into place. At ten in the morning, no less.

A writer can go in circles, or in my case, keep writing down the rabbit hole. So easy in memoir to lose the directionals that complete the story. She kicked my brain a little north and south and sent me home straight to the notecards and laptop. Just the way I like it.

The cold is gone, I am properly dressed and Olive and I are back in the groove of alternating walks and quiet time. This morning we came across this garden on the way to our Cafe Vita fix (double-cappuccino and a side of dog biscuit) and I am thinking forward.

How can I not with everything, including this gigantic turnip, thriving all around me?

Thanks, Jennifer.

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