Friday, May 13, 2011

The Interrupted Service

I love a good power outage every once in a while. Unless it goes on for too long, making the house cold or causing worry for the contents of the refrigerator or freezer, having that quiet stillness overtake the usual routine brings a welcome pause. In my neighborhood, outages are more common than they ever were when I lived elsewhere. I do not remember having too many in my hometown for example nor do I remember them being a frequent occurrence at college or in my apartments.

When we lose power during the day the televisions go silent and the internet connection halts. Prepping a meal means no use of the oven and entertaining ourselves is redirected. The kids and I grab a few candles if dusk is quickly approaching. If we lose power after dark, we use our electronic devices as flashlights until we can get the candles lit. But the outage always brings us together.

Thursday night we did not lose power but after I went to bed I realized that the blog site where I post daily was in “read only” mode. I would not be able to post my writing for the day. This would not be a big deal to most folks but it was of particular interest to me. For 135 days I had posted to my blog and now, despite having one ready to go, I could not follow through with it. A few months back I had driven a couple of miles to post on my blog when our internet was down at my house. This time it would not have mattered where I was in the world--the site wasn’t operating and no travel anywhere was going to change that. After blogging for over 19 weeks in a row, I realized I would be ending my streak and strangely enough, I was okay with it.

It felt like a power outage. It was out of my control and despite the strange stillness that came over me, I felt relief. I already had a post written for the day so it was not that I was given a furlough day from my self-imposed challenge to write, but instead a wrench was thrown into my overall plan to post on the blog site each day until I "cried uncle" myself. I liked being reminded that I only have so much control over my goals, posting, writing, or otherwise. It's not always up to me. Well of course it's not! That's cool. Very cool.

The site was restored Friday afternoon and once again, I was able to post. I added the writing I’d done the day before and I smiled as I saw the one “missing day” in an otherwise perfect line of posts. I questioned whether that now meant I should take a day off from writing or whether I wanted to post a second time on the same day. Hmmm. I shrugged and decided not to decide until later. I took a fabulous nap, watched a movie with my family, and headed to bed at a decent hour. And then I found myself reaching for my laptop. I wanted to write.

Taking the moment when things were out of my control to stop and regroup, to find a candle or two to light so as not to stumble later, has brought a welcomed stillness over me. Posting to the blog is fun but it's not what this is about for me. The interruption in the blogging site's service wasn't an inconvenience; it was a good reminder that this creative outlet is not a contest. It is not a test for me at all. I love writing. That's all.

1 comment:

  1. One of my Fickr friends has fallen behind on her 365-day project. She doesn't know if she should just pick up and keep going or throw her hands up in the air and cry, "I've failed."

    It has taken me nearly 43 years, but I finally understand how liberating and enlightening failing can be (and how debilitating perfectionism actually is). Goals are important, but they can easily become the all-important end, instead of a helpful means of growing, improving or succeeding at something.

    Now, when I feel like I've failed in any way (and I'm no longer afraid of that word, by the way; it does not have the inherent power most people think it does), I analyze the situation, apologize if appropriate, and consciously find a lesson, so I don't repeat history.

    I guess that's a long way of saying, "Good for you, Anne." Congratulations on your 137 consecutive days of writing.