I was driving just now, listening to the music of a band I get to go see next week, admiring the bright blue of the sky and the shower of yellow leaves drifting over the road. I saw a sign, the kind they use for road work, and it said, "Put down the phone. Just drive."
It's a typical "don't text and drive" sentiment, but something about it I felt in my stomach. Was it the periods? It was like someone talking to you, or sending you a text message, instead of a mere public works announcement.
"Put down the phone. Just drive." Make it simpler. Focus on what you're doing right now. You're not missing anything. It can all wait until later. Right now is this moment, and it's here, and so are you.
I don't feel like I've been writing more lately, but I've definitely been thinking about it more, and thinking about the "why not" of it. The constant investigation of why I'm not writing more. When really I could just put down the phone and drive.
It's a habit to make, and it's mine to make. I can put aside the "I don't have time" and "I don't have anything to say" and "I don't have anything to write about." I can write about why it's so hard to write, or to make it a priority. I can create a practice of writing, ten minutes a day, less, just make it something I do more, more, more of.
"Put down the phone. Just drive." It also made me think about how it's so hard for me to just put things down, to leave things that aren't good for me behind. Just go. Just drive. Put it down already.
While I was driving I also passed a tattoo parlor. (There are a surprising number of them in the Jersey suburbs.) Again I had the thought that I want to get another one. It's probably not exactly the right time, as I don't know what it is I would get, and all of the rest, I knew exactly what I wanted and why. I wanted the permanency of them. I think that's what I like about tattoos, the very thing that scares a lot of people away: the permanency. I don't like giving things up, leaving them behind, letting them go. I want to keep it all with me.
Words are permanent. Or they can be. Writing things down delivers them into the world. Words make a mark. They can be powerful and dangerous and frightening. But, they are nothing to be afraid of.