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The Best Laid Plans by Helen Chappell

If my writer’s block were an object, it would be a giant block of marble sitting right in the middle of my creative path. Day after day, week after week, the hulking thing just sits there, right in the middle of the path that leads me to my next book. Someone who is wiser than I could ever hope to be suggested I try fifteen minutes of meditation every day. You know, just sit there, empty your mind out and become one with the universe. And chip-by-chip, maybe the writer’s block of marble will be destroyed, so I can work on that book. Easier said than done, of course. My mind runs like a gerbil in a wheel, and getting it to slow way down isn’t that easy. But I try, Lord knows, I try. Today is a lovely spring day, and I am sitting under the ancient crepe myrtles in my backyard, breathing in deeply, breathing out deeply, eyes closed, focusing on emptying my mind of thought so it’s like a big blank blackboard. Breathe in, breathe out. Empty, empty, empty. And in a tiny corner of my brain, tiny thoughts begin to in-

trude. Like dust bunnies, they dance almost unnoticed across my mind. “If I’d known I was going to live this long,” the gentleman on the machine next to mine at the Y huffed, “I’d have taken better care of myself.” It’s comforting to know that I fit into the Talbot County demographic, at least in some ways. I’m not rich or relocated, but I am sort of retired. And I’m at the age where I can feel every ache and pain of a life lived intensely, if not always intently. As a middle-aged woman with white hair, I’m pretty much invisible, which suits me just fine. If they don’t see me, they can’t make me do anything I don’t want to do, like speak at their ladies’ club or their fundraiser. There’s a lot to be said for being retired from public life. Old people always seem to get some kind of religion. Either that or they buy a red sports car and find a young cutie pie arm candy, which I couldn’t afford. Suddenly, I snap to and remember to focus. For about five seconds. You would think meditation 9

Tidewater Times May 2011  

May 2011 Tidewater Times

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