I set resolutions, taking advantage
of the turning of the year, the earth’s
revolution lending energy to chart
new courses, shape a better version
of myself, hoping to make it habit.
in the new year I will floss
morning and night, will take time
to walk the treadmill, lift weights, will eat
more vegetables — the list is long
but moving through the day, tasks
easy enough to check off, except
for one. the children have gone
to bed long ago, and he is listening
to his audiobook, engaged in his
nightly battle with insomnia, but I
am looking at the list that has had
one box stubbornly unchecked
for hours now — write fiction.
No expectations for how much
or how long, just…write fiction.
finally, finally, sheer stubbornness
that I will not. be. defeated. by
a list, lets me release the held breath,
open the file, start once more
to read the words and within moments
I am typing, I am changing things,
tightening a line, adding ‘the bite
of green chili,’ which is what the scene
was missing, and it is easy, easy
to fall into this, my storytelling
heart, and what was I afraid of?
my daughter saw my list today,
made herself a chart, a dozen
boxes to check off: exercise,
pick outfit, brush teeth, make bed,
do chores, play with brother —
she wasn’t sure about that one,
but when she asked him, he said
please, with the saddest face;
she added it, along with homework.
a host of duties and any mother
would be proud, but I had to
tell her — please, add ‘make art’
to your list. Draw, crochet, it
doesn’t matter what, just give time
and space for the creativity that beats
and soars at the heart of you.
Otherwise, your most central self
might slip away, lost to grown-up
habits and unreasonable fears.