April is National Poetry Month. In honour of that, I’m digging through my archives and posting a series of poems I’ve written over the years.

Sundappled Sunday on left and right coasts,
Beautiful from
Griffith Park to
The Staten Island Ferry;
Sunset strip
To
SoHo
I rode a painted pony in the sand.

Saddle slapping tender in-thighs,
I endured your stings.
Silent father shouting
At distant mother
Loving
Present daughter;
Riding roughshod on a tender mare.

Slow stumble upon whip-worn trails,
Round and round
We go again.
Carousel horses,
Sundappled Sunday ponies,
Perfectly painted; ready to ride.

(April, 2009)

(This is the second in a short series of posts).

You’re not family orientated, Paul tells me, You don’t like babies; you don’t like kids.

I begin to question everything I think I know about myself.

Things move at a snail’s pace, and also, quickly.

Pete stabilises somewhat; is moved from White Plains to Mt. Sinai in the city. December drags on. I see a lot of Lady H; JRA. Christmas rolls around and I meet JRA at the hospital to drive back with her to Scarsdale for Christmas eve, only to have a car pick me up and take me to JFK from their house.

Christmas Eve and the first night of Hanukkah are the same, so we eat fish that Papa cooks, and we light the menorah and we listen to Jewish acapella groups on YouTube singing catchy songs about the Macabees. Grandma and Lady H ask me what my favourite Hanukkah song is and I confess that I know zero Hanukkah songs.

You didn’t even learn any in school? they ask, incredulous.

No. I grew up in California, I say, as if that explains it. I know one song, about a dreidel, but I can’t remember any of the lyrics and of all the holiday songs I know, it is probably the one I like the least. Merry Christmas, Darling, is decidedly not an Hanukkah song.

I have so much to learn.

But then my car arrives, and I have to cut my Christmas Eve dinner with them short and head to the airport. I am not going to Ireland. I am going to Argentina; Brazil.

The Christmas Eve airport is surprisingly painless, and I board my flight quickly. As soon as we are airborne, I take a Benadryl and put in earplugs, and tune out the world until I land in Buenos Aires on Christmas Morning.

After nearly a decade of avoiding family Christmases, the last few years have been chilly family holidays in Dublin. Paul and I would fight, and the holiday always ended with me in bed, watching The Sound of Music on my iPad, after having pretended to have eaten dinner. He would be furious at me about needing to eat on a regular schedule; I would be jetlagged and cold – desperate for my days of spending untethered holiday seasons in sunnier climes.

I reach passport control in Argentina and I feel nothing but relief – no anger; no sadness – that my invitation to family Christmas has been revoked. I continue onward – across Buenos Aires to the domestic airport – and on to a flight to Iguazu Falls. I’ve hired a driver to meet me at the airport, and take me across the border to the Brazilian side.

I am happiest when I am free, I think. I am happiest when I am on an adventure. When Paul and I first started dating, I’d said: Let’s go to Japan! And we did, early in our relationship, on a whim. I thought that he was as free-spirited as I was – ready to tackle new countries and challenges – but it turned out that he loved adventure only to a point, which became clear when we got lost in Rappongi and couldn’t find the restaurant we were looking for, and no one spoke English, and everything was broken, and it was boiling hot outside even at 10pm, and we stood in the middle of a busy street screaming at each other. 

I realised a long time ago that he is so successful in his life because he sets goals; sticks to them; never deviates. Even his adventures have all been carefully orchestrated – by assistants, and travel agents, and tour companies – and he sticks steadfastly to his itineraries. Rappongi was an aberration, and Paul wasn’t Andrew – who could be counted on to quickly remake every plan on the fly, even when his remakes were as terrible as the situations themselves.

With Paul, I had had to become the logistics person. Which I did willingly until I began to resent it.

I realised, more specifically and to my dismay, that when we got married we were on a different kind of adventure – one that ended with me quitting my job, and becoming a mother, and with the world eventually becoming smaller and smaller – first London, then Dublin, and then a small subsection of North Dublin called Dublin 4, where his entire family lived within actual sight of each other. Success could only be measured by achieving Those Things, and failure was not an option.

I never wanted any of that – and I had always been transparent about it. My world was very big, and the thing I loved most about myself was my crazy ability to pick up and pop up somewhere weird; to cherish my family from a distance; to look stupid with someone. I wasn’t afraid of failure anymore.

I reach the hotel in Brazil and it is situated on the edge of Iguazu Falls. The mist makes a rainbow into the sunset, and it is stunning and I am happy.

I call my family and wish them a Merry Christmas. I tell them I love them; they ask about Paul. I lie. I have no idea what he is doing, so I make something up. I do not tell them that three days before Christmas he served me with a Notice of Separation Event under the terms of our prenuptial agreement. I don’t tell them that no one will ever love me because I’ve had two husbands, or that if I just felt less guilty about the monsters in my genes, maybe I could make this all go away.

I say nothing. I listen to them; I listen to the falls outside my window as the sun sets.

Water flowing underground. Same as it ever was.

Sarah, Kat, Kim & I are continuing to host Reverb through 2016 as a way to share writing prompts and providing a space for writers via our Facebook group. Here’s (a very late entry for) July’s prompt. 

July’s prompt // Freedom: What is freedom to you?  How do you celebrate freedom in your daily life?

We are in a Copenhagen bar talking about our brothers.

We have run two half marathons in two countries in two days and I am shocked that I have finished. I say that running is mostly mental for me – when I run, I think about music; my dog; kissing and being kissed; the sun setting into the Pacific Ocean; running with my brother. I think about happy, positive things, because to become tangled up in the voice of self-doubt during a race is Game Over.

But it is a lie to say that I have just run 26.2 miles in two countries in two days by the power of positive thinking. I have just had both of my hips and a knee reconstructed and been diagnosed with a serious collagen disorder – whether I admit it or not – running is intensely physical.

We are here because in December, I had messaged a group of running friends suggesting we sign up for the Copenhagen Half Marathon – Smplefy; eee; Nat, and their respective partners, Laly, E, and Fox, who would come along to Sherpa. I’m not entirely sure why I did this, but it Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time. Everyone quickly signed on to this suggestion and added another half marathon in Oslo – even the partners were keen to go (except Paul, who begged off).

So we have each finished triumphantly, albeit for different reasons, and now we are in a bar, wearing matching shirts and our race medals, and we are talking about our brothers.

Nat’s brother died almost a year ago; Laly’s brother died about ten years ago. My brother is alive. I say this in my head, and I chew it and turn it over like a wad of gum in my mouth: My brother is alive.

It is not to diminish Matthew’s hard work to say that it is luck that he is not dead, but there is an element of happy statistics at play too. I listen to these women talk about their dead brothers, and it is real to me how close we came; how lucky we are. Sometimes, I think my parents cover up their raw memories of dread with Republican bootstraps and it was never that bad and stop being so dramatic, you weren’t here! But maybe when you’re in it, or when you’re a parent, you have to do that in order to survive what you’ve seen and how it all played out.

I listen to Nat’s grief – the depth and complexity of it; the nuances of the joy for the things that she experienced with her brother. All we can do is listen. Laly, too, knows that grief in a more intimate way than I do; I merely stood on the precipice and backed away.

It’s different when it’s your sibling, Laly says, It’s the only other person who knows the experience of growing up in your family. Also, it’s out of order.

It is out of order.

I remember my revulsion at the thought of losing the only other person who knew my family experience. He would disappear for a few days and we wouldn’t know whether he was in jail or dead – my mother would obsessively search the county jail inmate register – and I would try on the grief from thousands of miles away; seeing how that heavy suit of loss hung on my little frame.

I realise, now, that when I run, I prepare for every race with the thought of my brother’s first race – of watching him tie on the bandanna from his best friend’s funeral; of hearing his footsteps like a heartbeat beside me. I still dread phone calls after 8pm because I always used to think it was someone calling to say that my brother had died. I wonder why nobody ever dies during the day.

I look at Laly and Nat and wonder how they have borne the loss I narrowly escaped.

When Paul and I were out at the beach with my family this summer, a friend texted that he was in Atlanta with a colleague of his – a sorority sister of mine. I had been her advisor – she’d been in college when I’d taken the call that my brother was in jail and the world was about to end. I laughed and expressed my surprise – he sent me a photo of the two of them together. It was a worlds-colliding moment – strange and wonderful – a reminder of the way we are all connected; how past pain doesn’t necessarily taint future or current happiness/success. The photo came as I was driving back up the coast to see a project my brother was working on; managing in his new life as a builder. Sober eight years, he was working with a friend and he’d asked me and Paul to come see what he did for a living and switch his car back with my mother’s, which he’d borrowed earlier that day.

Paul stayed back in Oxnard, and I drove up to La Conchita to make the switch and see Matthew on the job. To travel that weird bend in the 101 where the sun sets over the coast and blinds you if you time it wrong; to see how far he’d come; we’d come.

As I am sitting in this bar in Copenhagen, thousands of miles from the depths of my brother’s addiction and from that day on the California coast, I think of that moment of seeing my brother at work; of that photo of my two friends; of the bend in the 101 where the sun sets; of the fear in the eyes of everyone around me the day I got the call that my brother was in jail. I think about how lucky I am. I hear Nat ask How do you explain this grief; this loss; to your partner? And I think you can’t explain it; I think your partner won’t ever believe it; I think about how addiction ends and loss is just a snapshot in time, but grief gets you, like a noose, and it works its way around your throat and never really lets you go, even once you are free.

 

This is the third in a brief series of posts. Here are the first and second.

It is April.

It is at this point that I see my rheumatologist, and fill him in on the medical adventure I have been on. I have known my rheumatologist for 11 years, and we are neighbours. I used to work with his college roommate. We are close. So together we brainstorm some possibilities for what caused my odd injuries.

Are you very flexible? He asks suddenly.

Yes. I can do the splits all the way down. I can bend my thumbs all the way back, too. Do you want to see? I stand up, prepared to drop into a full split on his lineoleum floor in my paper gown.

 Yes, the thumbs. That’s part of the diagnostic criteria for something. Anything else?

I can bend my legs behind my head and turn myself into a fruit basket.

The last one I say in earnest – it does not occur to me how bizarre it sounds. He ignores the Fruit Basket Comment and suggests You may have a genetic connective tissue disorder – this could be why you keep getting injured so easily. Let’s refer you to a geneticist.

I go home to Google the diagnostic code on the invoice. I have spent my life with a variety of strange, seemingly unrelated ailments that would instead seem perfectly correlated with the diagnosis he has preliminarily given me.

I call the geneticist in the morning. He is booked for 18 months. I search NYC hospitals for another one. She has retired. Another  is booked for two years. I call the foundation dedicated to this disorder, and they tell me that their genetics centre has a waiting list of five years, but would I like to donate cash? At each of these hospitals, I am told that if I were pregnant, they would see me immediately, but since the testing is for me and not a foetus, no interventions can take place.

I do not know what interventions are, but this process seems Kafkaesque.

As a last resort, I consult Dr. Google again, who refers me to a genetics centre only loosely affiliated with a hospital in Boston. After some negotiation, they offer me an appointment two weeks later if I can send them my files ASAP.

The weather has turned sharply cold after a mild winter, and I am due in Boston on a rainy Thursday. On my way to Boston, I stop by Kat’s house to see her and the new baby. I wonder if I will ever have children; if I even want to have children. As I ponder this, Baby A spits out her paci and waves her tiny fists menacingly at me.

Kat wishes me Good luck as I leave. I wonder if I will need it.

There are still dirty piles of snow on the New England ground and the rain falls in sheets as my reliable Volkswagen cuts through the midmorning traffic. I arrive in Boston in good time, and the Doctor Will See Me Now. He is an older man; South African, with one of those lilting Afrikaaner accents that at once sounds Dutch, English, and vaguely Australian. He asks me a list of questions and throughout our chat, he rolls his eyes in a way where I cannot tell if he is impatient with me, or annoyed I have come.

He asks me at length about my family history and I am as prepared as I can be. I have checked birth and death records; I have grilled family members. I have pulled as many of my own files as possible.

Do you or does anyone in your family struggle to heal from surgery? the doctor asks me as the interview portion winds down.

My mother had a sister who died at six weeks old because the surgery to correct her oesophageal atresia failed completely. 

He looks up at me, sharply. Margaret’s condition itself was incredibly rare, and the genes involved might be associated with the syndrome my doctor thinks I have. The fact that her surgery did not “take” is one more important data point towards confirming my diagnosis, and by association, hers.

Finally, after over an hour, he slams his fist down on his cluttered desk.

How did your doctors miss this? This is a textbook case of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. 

He is irritated not with me, but with other people’s failures, it seems. I have taken on the yoke of those failures; been dismissed as a hypochondriac or presumed to be a pill-seeker. As it turns out, I am Textbook.

We proceed to a physical exam where he asks me to touch my thumb to my wrist and my hands to the floor while standing. I again blurt out the fruit basket thing, and he seems unfazed by it. Instead, he asks me what I do for a living.

 I’m a lawyer, I simplify.

I love lawyers, he tells me. He gestures to the photos on his walls, These are all lawyers. Famous lawyers. Do you recognise any of them?

I squint at the walls, which are covered with pictures of the doctor and friends, some of them with a distinctive 70s vibe.

That one is me and Justice Blackmun. Very important man. Great friend, especially to a geneticist.

He finishes his exam, takes my blood for genetic testing. He is certain I have EDS, but the genetic test is important to identify which of the subtypes I have. He tells me he will also test me for being a CF carrier and SMA in the event that I want children. He explains to me the risks of childbearing with my condition. He tells me that depending on which version of the bad collagen gene I have, I shouldn’t be dissuaded from having children, but that I should be selective.

It is not until I leave the office and I get into the car to drive home that it dawns on me that Justice Blackmun authored the opinion in Roe v. Wade. I finally realise what the doctor means by selective; intervention.

More importantly, I begin to realise that none of this is my fault. This isn’t happening because I am a shitty runner or because I ran too many races trying to work out some deep childhood pain. None of it is my mother’s fault, and none of it was her mother’s fault, either.

All of this angst; all of this complex grief; all of this damage was done by a simple quirk of DNA. I do not know whether to be angry or relieved. All those years of therapy suddenly seem like a huge, expensive waste.

This is the first in a brief series of posts.

It is May, 2013, and I am standing in a hipster bar in the middle of Amsterdam in the middle of a long afternoon-into-evening.

I have just come to The Netherlands to receive terrible news. To soften the blow of having to tell me how bad this particular situation is, a group of lawyers is taking me out for drinks. But I am jetlagged and angry about How We Got Here in the First Place, so I have become rather tipsy, rather quickly. But instead of paying attention to the Dutch happy hour and the attorneys who have graciously arranged it, I am frantically texting with a man I have loved for a long time, trying to focus his attention on me. In my head, I feel I am the embodiment of a Joni Mitchell song – winsome, wistful, lonely, pining for a man who is not ever going to be mine alone.

By now dangerously tipsy, I message the man a loaded question – a question that is meant for winesoaked lovers’ lips next to each other in bed, or the shadows of a bar, and not from halfway ’round the world via electronic pings. I ask him: Don’t you love me and want me to be happy?

He replies: I want you to be happy.

It is clear that I have made A Terrible Mistake. I gather up my things and leave the bar. I meet my colleague for dinner like Nothing Ever Happened. By the door of the restaurant there is a large, ostentatiously displayed wheel of stilton. My colleague fusses over it like it is a puppy or a baby. We English love stilton, he explains, as if that excuses his behaviour over a wheel of cheese. We finish an unmemorable meal by ordering a cheese plate – the stilton is standout. They cut it freshly from the giant wheel.

It is after Midnight when I arrive back at the hotel and I put myself to bed.

The next morning, I am up early to catch a plane to Edinburgh to run the 2013 Edinburgh Half Marathon. On the flight, I sit and observe the bracelet I am wearing, which I inherited from my grandmother – my mother’s mother.  I am flying on what would have been her 100th birthday, and the bracelet is stamped with scenes from Don Quixote.

photobracelet

My grandmother was a tiny, peculiar woman, and had been the mother of four children – two boys and two girls. She had lost one of her daughters at the age of six weeks. Years earlier, when my grandparents had still been living in their house in Florida, and I was a tweenager, my grandmother and I had gone through her jewellery and she had taken tiny enamelled pins out from a case.

Those were Margaret’s, she said. Before that moment, I’d never even known such a person had existed, or that my mother had had a sister. Margaret had been born with an oesophageal condition and the surgery to correct it had failed. The absence of Margaret had left a hole in my grandmother’s heart that my mother could never fill. Perhaps any parent who has lost a child will confess to this; perhaps any after-born child will bemoan it. It did not occur to me until much, much later that maybe the Complex Grief was why my own mother and I were not particularly close: Those sorts of gaps; wounds couldn’t close so easily in just one generation.

The irony does not strike me at the time – that I have been chasing a non-existent love and fighting off imaginary giants. That my own Complex Grief has had a hand in tanking my first marriage and subsequent relationships. I just think that I am honouring the dead.

My friend Smplefy meets me in the Edinburgh Airport with a sign that says International Woman of Mystery, and I laugh for the first time in days. We go to pick up our race numbers and talk about running, and Scotland, and Things That Are Easy to Discuss.

I am grateful.

That night, we part ways early so we can each prepare for the next day’s race. I message my mother before bed, hinting at my romantic failures. You just need to put yourself out there, she advisesNobody is going to come into your office and sweep you off your feet. I roll my eyes from 6,000 miles away.

For once, I draw the blackout shades in a hotel room, because it is 10.30pm and the Scottish night is still purple and blue. It is beautiful – I could drink it in forever. But I have to go to sleep because I have to run the next day. I am filled with missing, and longing, but I am limbo because he wants me to be happy. I should be happy. Alone.

The next day, Smplefy and I meet at the Start, making it by the skin of our teeth, and running the course in the unusually pleasant Edinburgh morning. We run past the landmarks, through the city, along the North Sea. It is Perfect. My heart is breaking, but it is a Perfect Day.

I run a slow race, which is confusing. My body feels like it cannot work. I am in good physical shape, and at the finish, my hip seizes for the first time. I blame a twitchy IT band, and jetlag, but I am baffled.

That afternoon I shower at the hotel and cancel my reservation for the night; opting to head back to London then onward to New York. I have failed; I am failing. I am inordinately sore. My then-assistant manages to get me on the last flight out of Edinburgh that afternoon and by evening, I am safely back in London, my grandmother’s bracelet clanging on my wrist as I exit the Tube and make my way to dinner with my friend PG.

It is the end of May, 2013.

I do not know then that within days, someone will walk into my office and sweep me off my feet – and will later become my husband. I do not know that the pain in my hip is not my IT band – it is a serious cartilage injury that will sideline me for a more than a year. I do not know that the bracelet on my wrist and the story behind how I came to possess it will later hold the key to unlocking a serious family medical mystery; that I will be fighting a different kind of giant.

As the year ends, and we look back at the joys, achievements and disappointments of the past twelve months, it’s worth taking some time to recognise what our efforts have demanded of us and where our resources have been depleted. Whether you have spent 2015 bringing some long-cherished project to fruition or simply trying to keep your head above water, it’s likely that this has come at some cost to you. How can you replenish your (physical, mental, spiritual and/or emotional) resources? What do you need most of all at this moment?

I have written before about how intense the last few years have been, and how I love the bit in the Sermon on the Mount about how one should understand the importance of taking the plank out of one’s own eye before trying to get the speck of sawdust out of one’s brother’s. How, if we do not take care of ourselves, we cannot survive this crazy life. I love that bit so much that, even as a seasoned traveller, I still listen when they tell you on the plane that you should put your oxygen mask on first because obviously, it’s the Word of Our Lord. 

It was not until about mid-November that the plank-sawdust-oxygen mask thing really became a non-anecdotal, real-life thing for me, though. You see, I can summarise my life into neat little Life Lessons on the Internet. But I am not as good at understanding those lessons when I am actually hitting a wall and need to replenish my energy in Real Life.

The best analogy/simile I have for this is that of my 1999 Honda Civic. (Yes, I am going to frontload all of my literary devices, why do you ask?) I used to drive a Honda with a floating fuel gauge that would tell me I had a third or a fourth of a tank of gas left when I really had only fumes. So I would believe I had ample time to find a service station, and instead, my car would sputter to a halt on an interstate exit ramp. So while in my head, I am a state-of-the-art jetliner with sophisticated gauges and sensors and I carry enough fuel to circumnavigate the globe and beyond; in reality, I am much more like a 1999 Honda Civic with absolutely no clue when I am about to run out of gas.

With all of this in mind, in mid-November, I found myself on one of those exhausting multi-city business trips. By the time I finally arrived in Dublin at the end of it, I was completely, utterly worn out. Worse, I was so knackered, I had no clue how dangerously wrecked I really was.

I spent an ordinary-but-exhausting weekend in Ireland, and headed back to NY (via London) that Sunday. In Dublin Airport, however, things got weird. An airline employee mistook me for another passenger and grabbed my bag out of my hand, ripping it completely open. My stuff went everywhere. I stood for a moment – frozen – and then began to yell at her; she began to yell back. In the midst of this, my flight began to board.

So I scooped up my stuff, and moved with the throbbing masses towards the boarding zone with a large Eastern European woman trailing me, screaming. When I arrived at the gate and proffered my passport and boarding card, the woman’s colleague informed me that I would have to check my bag – not because her colleague had ripped it open – but because the bag was “too big.”

It was at that point that I lost my mind.

Have you ever lost your mind in public? I don’t recommend doing it in an airport, especially since, after a few minutes of back-and-forth, the gate agent appeared to radio for the police.

Ultimately, I gave up and got on the plane. I looked forlornly up at my bag on the platform as I trudged down the the jetway, hissing to myself about the injustice of it all as the gardai arrived to speak with the gate agent. As I sank into my airline seat I knew two things for certain: 1) I was very, very lucky that my tantrum hadn’t gotten me arrested, and 2) there was absolutely no way in hell my bag was going to arrive in New York that night.

Predictably, I arrived at JFK without bags. The next morning, no bag came to my house, either. I finally had to call someone at the airline’s customer service hotline, at which point, I lost my jetlagged mind again, and threatened to go to some guy’s house if he didn’t give me the number to reach a live person at the baggage counter at JFK.

Madam, you cannot talk to me that way. Madam, I am in India you cannot come to my house.

When I finally reached a live person at JFK, I rushed out an apology as I explained the circumstances (leaving out the part where I had threatened to go to Bangalore to beat up a guy) and begged for my luggage. Don’t worry, the woman said, It sounds like you’ve been through a lot. I have your bag in hand and I will send it out tonight.

Within an hour of that call, my bag had arrived.

The point is: Admitting to yourself that you are more like a 1999 Honda Civic and not Boeing 787 Dreamliner in terms of your energy resources and long-range capacity is only the first step in learning to care for yourself. The second step is taking the plank out of your own eye; putting your oxygen mask on first; not letting yourself become so depleted in the first place…lest you become a raving lunatic nearly taken into police custody in the middle of Dublin Airport.

I don’t write very much anymore.  Some of this is due to the wacky nature of the last 12 months. Some of this is due simply to the fact that I have Less Time.  I’ve tried to make up for the lack of writing in pictures.

Taking photos has been easier for me in some ways than writing. Photo-taking is not my primary form of expression; I am a somewhat-shitty photographer. I cannot fool myself or anyone else and claim that because I own a DSLR or a high-resolution smartphone, it means that I magically have a Good Eye. But my writing process is labour-intensive. I often write things out long-form; by hand; before things make it to the Internet. I do quite a bit of editing. I suppose I am a bad blogger because blogging evolved into Having a Brand, but my writing process stayed stuck in the Stone Age.

So sometimes photos really ARE worth the 800-1,000 words I can’t discipline myself to write.

Back in March, I flew to Paris for a conference. It was a weird weekend – it was my birthday and I had arrived in Paris to find that a dear friend had passed away overnight. Lisa had had metastic breast cancer, and she disliked all the verbs customarily associated with having had cancer (fight, battle, etc.) so I am at a loss for how to describe the situation, other than to say that Lisa had been sick for a long time, and I admired her, and the wholly straightforward, realistic, and optimistic way she handled her illness/treatment. While it was not unexpected to learn of her death, it still left a huge hole in my heart to discover that she was actually gone.

Despite the circumstances, I embraced the Paris weekend: Saw old friends; ran the Paris Half Marathon; joined a group of colleagues for a dinner following the race. Over dinner that night, my friend John began explaining a social media project he had been working on – a photo-a-day project he had been posting under the hashtag #john365 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. It wasn’t about showing off, or simply taking selfies, or merely posting pictures of (yet another) delicious meal, he explained, but it was more about reflecting and connecting through meaningful images of each day.

(It was not, as I had wrongly assumed, a religious thing. In fact, a surreptitious Google search of “John 3:65” led me only to someone named John’s commentary on Lamentations 3:63: Look at them! Sitting or standing, they mock me in their songs, and I was pretty sure, at that point, John was not that John, and he was not that paranoid.)

The project instantly resonated with me. My friend Lisa had been known to say: Find a bit of beauty in the world. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days, this may be hard to do. Persevere. As a result, people from around the world would share photos of their found beauty with her – snapshots of their gardens; observations of things in the world they might never have stopped to notice.

I resolved that night to join John’s project, and posted my first photo.

John provides his own explanation of the project on his blog, and it’s worth a read.

If you are in a writing rut, or you need inspiration, or you find a bit of beauty in the world and you want to share it, or you have any number of reasons for taking a photo each day and putting it out into the universe, maybe you should consider #365-ing. I have found it to be fun, and cathartic, and terrifying, and a way to connect, and a way to confuse and all the wonderful things that an art project should be.