These last three months have been a comedy of error in which everything imaginable in my life has broken. When it started raining into my bedroom, I discovered my roof needed to be replaced. My front and back doors fell apart, my blog got repeatedly hacked and corrupted, multiple faucets started leaking–you get the picture.
I have lived long enough to appreciate the opportunities that breakdowns bring. My dear friend Drew wrote a song in our 20’s that I’ve been singing ever since with a line that said, “Some things must be broken just to get them open / and now something new is slipping in through the cracks.” Another of my favorite philosophers, Leonard Cohen, sings, “There is a crack / a crack in everything / that’s how the light gets in.” All of that to say, when the structures that hold us break, we have new opportunities for illumination. When things fall apart, we have a fresh chance to consciously and creatively put it all back together again.
This is why I write: to make mosaics of the shards. To craft a thing of beauty out of the last life that didn’t hold. To soak in that surprise breakthrough of light that can be reached only through our most tender places.
The truth is, whatever is not working right now in your writing life could very likely be the crucible through which you find your next foothold. Every wrong choice gets us closer to knowing what’s right. Every broken part holds deep wisdom about how to open. I am wishing all of us the courage to stand by what is crumbling, allowing and honoring the rightful departures. Then listening as those empty spaces send up the words that show us, in time, where we’re headed next.