With March Madness still in play, I’ve got b-ball on the mind. And with b-ball on the mind, I’ve got a memory forming to stay.

Moments of really good basketball practices flooded me today; practices where everything clicked. Warm-ups were focused, plays ran with rhythm and shots landed so-on-point they barely shook the net. Shoes squeaked with passion and preparedness during the last scrimmage of the night and insane strength showed up in final sprints. It was hard, but it was fun. It was challenging, yet inspiring. Practices like these made our team believe we might have something special in us when game time turned true.

This needn’t be a story of basketball only. It could be any sport, performance or event requiring rehearsal. Heck, throw life on that list.

Over the past 31 days, I have experienced a few really good practices. While words didn’t necessarily come out like game-time performances, a cadence to writing line after line and allowing one idea to flow into another showed up and stepped up. There were moments when all the motions felt natural and intuitive and it felt like being 17-years old again, hopping in my Geo Prism post-practice and knowing that I had shown improvement, dedication, sweat and heart — believing that more might be possible.

So what do I do next?

As I gain back moments set aside for writing each evening, I intend to hold that space for further exploration and practice. However, I plan to hit a steady pause on production and get back to reading, watching and listening to content other than my own; I need to circle up in dialogue and feedback from other creators because the biggest thing I noted about my work is that, while it is good-effort-decent, it is historically stuck in my well-developed habits, perspectives and routines.

I need to do what I did when I took on basketball. I read playbooks, watched better players, listened to games on the radio and lifted every ounce of feedback from my coaches and co-players that I could possibly take: that was when my practice held meaning and when I sincerely, and really, got better.

The final play-by-play take-away is this:

31 days went by pretty quick, even when it was tough. It went by as quickly as it did when I was 17. So there is likely no time to waste before the next game.

This one feels like the moment a monologue would break the fourth wall: configure the set, center the stage, wait for the spotlight to crank and allow the audience in…

time does not exist.

While people often laugh when I share this perceptual mantra, my desire to hold this as a true belief comes from a most important space.

There was a day, one handful of years ago, when I was sitting across from a friend. The clock spoke a workday’s end and I was reaching for my backpack for a pack-up. My physical reach was interrupted by my friend’s emotional reach to continue our conversation. This friend, for a reason I don’t even remember in detail now, needed me to hold time and space for his thoughts. The right and wish for a connection in his eyes was so palatable; it was as if he had grabbed my hand and said do you have a second. I turned back towards him, eased back into my seat and said hey, how’s it going. As I did, I remember thinking, there is absolutely no way I am going to make it to my incredibly important appointment that is scheduled 45 minutes from now.

Knowing that ‘she always listened’ was the legacy I was always hoping-and-speaking to leave, I let time drift off to be anything (absolutely anything) but important in that moment. I saw it go gently off into my peripheral and witnessed the conversation arrive as its replacement. This could-have-waited chit-chat was rich and lovely and joyful; we were so far in that it felt like an hour, maybe two, had passed – yet, I miraculously still made it to my appointment.

To this day, I have no idea how this was able to happen. Even once I arrived at my expected destination, I couldn’t reconcile how I was gifted everything within that unexpected conversation. I experienced it as karma in the best-of-best ways between us and knew, right then and there, what it meant to live a legacy.

minutes turned into moments and time became infinite; the moon and sun serving only as placeholders for a life well-lived

That was when I decided that time was not meant to exist. I made a commitment to show up for others in the fullest of ways. If someone was sharing, I would be listening and nothing else would matter. Everything that could be important in a day’s hours still would be, and should be, if I could and would just release the panic of what’s when and what’s next, of what’s planned and what needs to be done.

and I mastered this to the point it was effortless

When a feeling of time limits started to creep in, I would manipulate minutes to create banks of moments to have in my pocket for later. When the coffee line was shorter than normal, I would recognize those extra seconds and metaphorically save them for later in the day. When I hit every green light, I would demand myself to figure out how I would use those extra twinklings for love. Sometimes I banked that time for someone else; sometimes it was banked for me and a longer walk.

this was peace

I’ve lost my legacy just a little bit lately. My self-knowing, crazy superpower feels a tad more tame, lame and timid. This is not a good or bad thing or something to beat myself up about – it just is. I have grown indulgent: more busy and increasingly distracted. If you have sat across from me, next to me or near me lately, especially with a longing to be heard, you certainly still have been. However, you likely have also heard a tick-tock over the intentional silence you deserve: a slight release of my eyes, a shake of my being or something else foreign to what you previously knew of me. Know that I know it, too.

But I want my madness back, and the fourth wall has been broken.”

I am participating in the 2021 Slice of Life Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers and have been challenged to write and post 31 days in a row. With 28 days of rawly produced content written and posted, there is an opportunity to glance at myself as a writer in a manner I have never done before.

My favorite lines from each of the first 28 days are listed below. When I have the chance to observe them collectively, I learn several things about my writing self. For starters, I have zero capacity for sentence complexity, I make up words when I don’t have real ones and I seem to adore convention-breaking or convention non-caring. These are not necessarily good or bad things – they are simply the style I am adhering to and continuing to develop. However, seeing 28 lines in a row, and watching the limitations I have potentially put upon myself and my pen, has me wondering what I might be capable of next. I wonder when I will break the fourth wall of my thoughts and ideas.

Day 1: I am a repeat offender of the redo A redo is a unique kind of encore

Day 2: mindbeats held steady

Day 3: You did lonely and pain so gracefully, you forgot who needed you.

Day 4: FYI…I made up the word punctuationary this morning to make writing more fun. 

Day 5: Find the un-suck.

Day 6: The flight of vodkas matched the story-swapping and tipsy-turns of the dance floor.

Day 7: Things I have thrown: my hands into the air, a party, a softball, an aerobee (quite terrbily), an idea, a smile, a fit, 3 cell phones and a Haberman bottle.

Day 8: As fate would have it, 10 years later, I still respond with a hard no.

Day 9: He owned “the quotes“, I held the (thought bubbles).

Day 10: I am terrified that I won’t have learned anything, other than how to post more photos of myself.

Day 11: she is metta, lifted at the high of her heart, and spitting out the shit of the world.

Day 12: If 18 is high score, I think we could all be record breakers.

Day 13: Never miss the moon.

Day 14: in a tear drop necklace and cherry-tinted earrings,

Day 15: Boomerang giggles are my way of describing undying re-laughter. 

Day 16: During that week in November 2018, the sky was continually tense.

Day 17: Surrounded by 12 other hotties this morning, I melted into the reflection of my darted eyes and sweaty-necked body.

Day 18: It wouldn’t matter if we had been key-throwing or dropdown red-wine-wise,

Day 19: He was, quite literally, born silent.

Day 20: Overthinking is a chess move, and it works well in games-of-the-like — checkers, cribbage and dice. 

Day 21: Next, divide by 4. 

Day 22: so far, what’s good?.

Day 23: Pair that with an indie film-rock album duo and you’ve got every semi-strange, hopeless romantic in the room completely melted by love and great writing.

Day 24: This is an inquiry on emotion.

Day 25: Life’s Truce (emotional inquiry x 2)

Day 26: Whether he does laundry or not is like whether it is Friday or Monday.

Day 27: She was the smartest, darndest, holy-helledness thing that a 22-year old girl with two older brothers could ever have hoped for, and she was teaching me how to demand what I deserve.

Day 28: #7: Sunday, Joy Oladokun – double duh, this one is Sunday

I’ve got nothing left to write, but I do have amazing stuff to drop on your 7-day, every-morning Apple Music or Spotify Playlist. Wipe the channel clear and take a peek at these lyrics & notes. My only ask is that you shoot me back with a 7-day playlist of your own that I will enjoy in upcoming weeks…

  1. Every Morning, Keb Mo – Monday
  2. Favors, Wilderado – Tuesday
  3. Strangers, Mt. Joy – Wednesday
  4. Mockingbird, Ruston Kelley – Thursday
  5. Honeybee, The Head & the Heart – Friday
  6. Alaska, Maggie Rogers – Saturday
  7. Sunday, Joy Oladokun – double duh, this one is Sunday

She is not my death to remember so I am terrified to even write these words.

She was my second sister-in-law: married to my oldest brother after my first sister-in-law was well-into-marrying my younger brother.

She taught me how to order a legit margarita and how to walk home by myself. She taught me how to wear eyeliner and how to eloquently wear shorts with long legs (even though hers were half as long). She taught me how to leave Iowa for a summer in DC and how to show-up-weird. She taught me how to eat dinner in the morning, kayak in the evening, and stay up late-night with my thoughts.

She was the smartest, darndest, holy-helledness thing that a 22-year old girl with two older brothers could ever have hoped for, and she was teaching me how to demand what I deserve.

When she naturally left this earth, she left un-jealous. She left happy for all I was left to learn.

The hubby doesn’t help with the laundry, but he is willing to wear cat socks.

When all the dirty clothes have piled up and I am too tired to care, I see the man-I-married.

He finds the final pair of clean socks in the drawer (a gag gift from a great group of friends), puts them on with zero complaints and has me laughing all the way out the door.

Whether he does laundry or not is like whether it is Friday or Monday. They are both just days, with all the good and bad mixed in between.

Can you miss something you never had?

After doubtful and thorough contemplation, I answer yes.

This is not an answer about being complacent, and it’s not about giving up, remaining idle or apathy.

I have come close enough to enough things that I can almost tastefully imagine what they might be like. And, sometimes, I miss them.

After a hard inquiry on this emotion, I name this feeling as acceptance.

This feeling is lit by small sighs and wonders, but ultimately, it is life’s truce.

Can you miss something you never had?

This is not a question about being ungrateful, and it’s not about wishing or wanting or envy.

This is an inquiry on emotion.

If the answer is yes, what’s a word for that feeling?

If the answer is no, case closed.

Every hopeless romantic loves rain; cinema’s first, last and in-between kisses, under a drizzle turned downpour, are scenes destined for couched-cuddled makeouts. Pair that with an indie film-rock album duo and you’ve got every semi-strange, hopeless romantic in the room completely melted by love and great writing.

Garden State (2004) still holds one of the best deluged scenes and shares one of the best soundtracks ever made, I think —- once Zach Braff & Natalie Portman mixed themselves with romanticized melancholy humor, I died and lived in love, over and over and over again.

The scene is as famously fantastic as its paired song by Simon & Garfunkel. The soundtrack is as intricately deep as the scene’s first kiss, and I will always go head-over-heels.

How long can so far, so good, in its idiomatic form, really hold on?

Life, relationships, work and other things that we are luckily-passionate about are destined to deliver challenge, setback and heartbreak, and likely on a frequent basis. Does a desire to experience a constant steadiness or uptick of ease, joy or success within any given situation, project, relationship or day actually spin us towards a revolving door of disappointment? Is the conscious moment when we no longer say so far, so good actually the unconscious moment when we give up a little (or a lot)?

I wondered about this today and decided to move from the peculiarity of an idiom to standard fact. I rerouted to a new phrase for the day: so far, what’s good?. I had lots to share.

Instead of complacently demanding perfection from a day, a person, a situation or anything-of-the-like, intentionally finding the good could be the turning point. It might move us from fingers-crossed to open-arms.