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Monday, December 2nd, 2013

“How’s your writing going?” he asked.

It’s the question I’m coming to dread more than any other (except for maybe “Been on any good dates lately?” – bless your heart), because whether songs or prose, the answer is “It’s not, really.” The thing I love to do more than anything in the world is bringing nothing but disgruntled resentment these days. Inspiration is nowhere to be found. The well hath run dry.

Of course, I’ve been through this kind of thing enough times to know that the drought isn’t permanent – at least, I hope it’s not permanent. One never quite knows for sure. Surely, at some point, writing is going to bring me joy again? My thoughts are going to arrange themselves in some sort of semi-organized fashion? Or maybe it’s going to take me grabbing them by the horns and wrestling them to the ground like a cowgirl, the kind I used to watch at the Montrose County Fair when I was a kid.

Life is fairly daily these days. The rhythm has become predictable – which, how is it that I can both appreciate and despise routine? Foxy the Wonder Pup is growing, we go on a lot of walks, I ride my bike to work, I grocery shop. There is coffee in the morning and a crock pot of food at night. I haven’t been on a plane in a month – an abnormally long stretch for me. I see friends, I clean the house, I rearrange the money in my bank accounts. And I think ahead to 2014, wondering what it might bring, praying for the things that I hope for.

Hope is hard – because I’m a person of action. If there’s something I want, typically I make it happen. Time waits for no man, and especially not a woman. But some things aren’t up to me, and no amount of posturing or positioning will make a difference in the ultimate outcome. This reduces me to – okay, tears of frustration – but also a reliance, a faith, a giving over of myself, a trust that something, whatever it is, will be.

“I have to write these things now,” I told her, frantic. “If I don’t, they’ll pass by – I’ll lose them – they’ll spoil.”

She smiled at me. “They won’t spoil. Maybe they just need to marinate for a while.”

This is an “in between” time – in between the exciting moments, in between the sowing and the reaping, in between the preparation and the meal. And in the quiet, slow rhythm of it all, I remember one of my favorite quotes by Frederick Buechner:

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”

All moments are key moments. Life itself is grace. The humdrum is valuable, if only I can find the patience to sit with it for a while. And in the midst of the mundane, I want to engage with life with the same enthusiasm as this one – because she is bringing me a lot of joy.



Ghost town

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

I feel like I’ve given up blogging for Lent.

I HAVEN’T.  I promise.

Still, though – it’s like a ghost town around these parts.

What happened to those months in 2008 when I was posting every single day?  I was an ever-flowing fountain of entertainment!  Bra shopping?  Check.  Sprite sprayed you-know-where?  You got it.  Annie Queen of Doom?  Duh.

These days, life is just sort of daily.  Here, let me write a little poem about it:

Thinking, thinking, all day long,
Wish my thoughts could be a song.
But instead they’re dull and flat,
No one wants to sing to that.

Boring errands, vapid chores,
Sweeping up my hardwood floors,
Dining in and working out,
Health within and health without.

Honda running like a champ,
Got a new shade for my lamp,
Finally the couch arrived,
In my home I now can thrive!

Hair is growing, but the same
Please don’t say about my frame:
Running 30 mile weeks,
Hope my knees don’t start to creak.

Had to switch my bank account,
Wish I had more cash to count,
But each month have just enough,
Being frugal makes you tough.

Finally got some license plates
So I won’t get arrested.

It may be a ghost town, but at least it’s a happy little ghost town.


Monday, June 8th, 2009

Music is never going to pay my bills – and I have no expectation that it should.  So why is it important that I dedicate any time, energy, or effort to it?

Because I believe that we simply must do what we love.

But in the last 6 months, I’ve really stopped pursuing musical endeavors.  I am not writing.  I rarely go to shows.  I feel depleted, and uninspired, and checked out.  I work long days, and have my evenings booked up with various commitments and responsibilities.  So many other things have taken the place of writing.  Silence is a rarity, imagination seemingly an impossibility.

How do we keep the thing that we love a priority?  In the midst of work and relationships and laundry and grocery shopping and getting a zit INSIDE ONE’S NOSTRIL, how do we stay focused on what we were created to love?

I am grateful for my very full life.  But these days, all I want to do is drive away.

I don’t know where to go, though.

And so I stay.

I can blame my lack of creativity on this exhaustion and depletion, thinking that I just need to change something about my day-to-day reality.  It’s so easy to live a guilt-based existence, assuming that if only I did this or that differently, I could dig myself out of this hole.

But to think that “success” or “failure” – in any area of my life – is up to ME?  That is giving myself far too much credit.

I have to remember that the only true source of life and inspiration is in Christ.

I don’t know where else to go.

And so I stay.

Sending out an SOS

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Confession: I haven’t written a song since November.

GAH.  I don’t want anyone to know that!  I am such a fraud.

I feel like a snail – one that has been left out in the brutal sunshine, shriveled up inside its flimsy shell.  I feel no inspiration.  I have no ideas.

Oh, sure.  One might argue that I’ve had a few other things going on in recent months, taking a lot of my time and energy.  But still.  When I’m not writing – not outputting in some way – something important inside of me feels dead.

All I feel is tired.  Craving time alone, or maybe just an old dog, or a little toddler to snuggle.  I don’t want to have to explain myself to anyone.  I don’t want to have to find words to voice anything – because how can I possibly express what I’m feeling?

Huh.  This is an inconvenient stance for a so-called songwriter to take.

But I’ve been here before.  Remember?  And so I’m taking the same approach as last time, and giving myself the grace of filling up my mind with other stories, other songs, other ideas.  It worked last time – I wound up writing some new songs that I’m quite fond of, a few of which you HAVEN’T EVEN HEARD YET.

(Annie Parsons’ EP, coming soon someday to a website near you.)

So I need your help again.  What should I fill my mind with?  It can be a song, a book, an essay, a website, an article, a movie… what do you feel inspired by, or just plain enjoy?

I just finished season 1 of “Heroes,” and in spite of a ridiculous plotline and an often painful script, that was some good entertainment.  Destiny!  Purpose!  Exploding humans!  I’ve been listening to some great songs – Julie Miller’s “Give Me an Ocean,” and Kasey Chambers’ “Nothing At All,” and Vienna Teng’s “City Hall.”  And it is difficult to make me much happier than to turn on “This American Life” or “The Moth.”

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve been reading “The Catcher in the Rye” for TWO WHOLE MONTHS, and have recently decided not to finish it – because it is depressing as hell and let’s be honest: if I haven’t finished it by now, then I really don’t care at all about Holden Caulfield (case in point – I had to Google the book just now to remember his name).

Let’s all kick-start our hearts, shall we?  What do you love?

Avoiding lists

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

I write every day.  For me, it’s like drinking water, or breathing air – I have to do it, or I feel like I’m going to fade away.  Sometimes the things that I write get posted here, sometimes they turn into songs – or scraps of songs, sometimes they exist for my eyes only.  And for the past 10 days, I have the beginnings of Word documents that I cannot take past the first 3 lines.

I’m pretty sure that this is writer’s block.

Why did I say “pretty sure”?  I am POSITIVE that this is writer’s block.

And I’m not even TRYING to write anything!  I mean, this is just me, sitting down, ready to express something – anything – not working on a book, not working on an article, not having a deadline… just wanting to have something to say.

I could write a list of what I did this weekend.

I could write a list of what I would have tweeted HAD I been a Twitterer (which I am not, and will not ever be).

I could write a list of my motivations to keep running (except at this point, totally discouraged and tired and OVER IT, there is only one: calories burned).

I could write a list of the various havocs wrought on my body from running (sore muscles, difficulty bending knees, callouses, both pinky toenails working their way off, and as of yesterday, sports bra chafing on the rib cage)

I could write a list of why I want a miniature pig.

But instead, I’m going to take my post-running-10-miles, broken-down body outside on a slow walk.  I’m going to see what I see, and pray, and trust that inspiration is going to hit me again one day.  In the meantime, just read this.  Because ladies, we’ve all been there, right?