On Spring and Library Card Catalogues
I’m going on retreat this weekend with women from my church. It’s going to be seventy degrees and the theme is finding joy in all parts of life. I’m starting early by sitting on our back porch, writing this in a notebook at our tiny red table, the sun warming my face and bare feet.
I feel like shouting the C.S. Lewis quote, “We shall have spring again!” to our back alley of neighbors.
My feelings about spring sum up the shy part of myself – the part that looks at life and thinks about all the possible rejections and not good enough moments, the part that out logics miracles and goodness. Spring is fairly unbelievable to me every year because it’s easier to settle for winter sticking around forever. It makes sense in the fall when the Midwest starts to get cold and crispy, but for the opposite to occur? For warmth to come after frost and snow? That’s too good to be true.
And yet, daylight savings time happens long before the weather changes, and the extra light starts working on my soul. The ground starts to thaw and the smell of muddy soil mixed with fresh cut grass after a spring thunderstorm makes me remember I can let my guard down again. The seasons are changing. The cold isn’t hurrying us inside anymore.
Every retreat I’ve been on feels like coming home in some way, just like rest and good food and relationships without phones happen over holidays or hiking trips. This one comes at a significant time because The Dark Ferret Society is being read and passed along to people I don’t know. I don’t feel like blogging; I feel like writing fiction and diving back into Ruby Fink and buried coolers and secret societies. I feel like writing outside with a notebook and bare feet, the sun sinking in the sky.
A large part of the reason I started blogging was because Shauna Niequist stopped. Her weekly blogs meant so much to me and I felt responsible for that kind of content consistently going out to the world. Then she shared this – an excerpt from her next book, and I kept rereading it and remembering why connection to God and people are so fundamental to the solitary act of writing.
Reading Shauna helps me remember what love has to do with it, and that bottom lines and social reach happen after something beautiful is made.
I’m also participating in the 100 Day Project this year. It starts next week and has one rule: make something every day for 100 days. Be still, my creator heart. All I can think about is filling up notebook after notebook with messy handwriting while sitting on our back porch, watching spring turn into summer.
Today Elleluna, the creator of the project, asked us what tools we need.
“A blank notebook? Fresh brushes? Costumes? Spray Paint? A clean desk? Gather your tools!”
I could barely contain my excitement. The only thing I enjoy preparing for is a creative project (okay, also cooking). I immediately imagined a small room akin to a card catalogue room at a large library, only the tiny drawers were filled with pens and ideas written on small pieces of card stock. Hundreds of moleskines are stacked on the shelves for writing. Somehow the room has enough space for tall glass windows, a record player, and my desk.
After scaling those expectations back a bit, I realized with this season change comes a necessary shift in my writing. Quietly showing up to my creative work every day this year will mean a change in my writing style on the blog, sharing pictures on my Facebook Author Page about the 100 Day Project, and finding words in the air in lots of different writing spots. More updates to come, but I hope you’ll stick around for emilyhumpherys.com year two.
This retreat is another way to prepare for the next season of writing. It’s part of my backpack of necessary preparations. At the last retreat I went on, I remember putting my backpack down at the monastery, cracking open my notebook and writing, “Even the soles of my feet feel at rest.”
I’m hoping for a lot of the same for this weekend. May all of our creative projects begin from a place of love and rest.
What tools do you need to get started? I would LOVE for you to come along with me on the 100 Day Project! Let me know if you want to be buddies this next 100 days!