“Honesty is the best policy.”
As a kid, I heard that from parents, teachers and, for a while, even President Richard Nixon. But I found myself at a crossroads at 4 a.m. this morning as I pondered today’s Mindful Midweek: do I share the truth with loyal readers or do I pull a Tricky Dick?
You want the truth? I’m feeling pretty stuck with today’s message. I have a slew of drafts sitting in front of me. But as I read each one, I conclude they all stink in one way or another. The clock is ticking.
As long as I’m being honest, I may as well tell you what my writing process has been like this week. It’s as if my creative juices have gone the way of my toothpaste and shampoo.
Right now, sitting in my bathroom is a withered and wasted toothpaste tube. After weeks of stress-free squeezing, I’m now to the point where I have to curl up the tube from back to front and use my forefingers and thumbs to try and force out the last blue-striped, white gob of spearmint. I’ll finally strong-arm a dab to the crusty surface, only to have it retreat back down before I can capture it on my brush. It’s both frustrating and disappointing to know I’ve run out of the good stuff.
I get more creative with my shampoo bottles. The bottle is obviously finished, but I’m not. I dip it in a bit of water, put the cap back on and shake vigorously. I apply the sudsy water to the top of my head and massage it in to my receding hairline before the watery substance can escape down my shoulders. Normal people might do this once with an empty bottle. I do it multiple times.
And I’ve tried to do the same things to my writing this week, forcing out the last bits of inspiration. I even turned back to the “rules” of Mindful Midweek, in hopes they would spark something. These are rules that Scott, my friend and editor, and I set up over four years ago in respect to Mindful Midweek. They remind me that:
Mindful Midweek must have a behavior-change message, even when it is awkwardly hidden under some personal narrative.
Mindful Midweek must be brief, and hopefully entertaining.
Mindful Midweek must never place me as an expert on any topic, other than the lessons learned from my own experiences (as loyal readers know, I have screwed up in many creative and disastrous ways).
And finally, Mindful Midweek must be honest.
As I stare at this last rule, the words of my parents and teachers come back to mind. It may have felt like I was squeezing the last bit of crusty creativity onto the page, but at least I can say this week’s entry was honest.
One unexpected side benefit of Mindful Midweek is that I have found thousands of new friends, who typically write better than I do and who have led lives as crazy as mine. Thank you for making me feel pretty normal.
Next week, I will not be a Tricky Dick, but I will attempt to brush my teeth and shampoo my hair another time. I beg you, wish me luck.