Small Stones #28-31 & Mindful Writing Challenge Wrap-Up

As part of the January Mindful Writing Challenge, I am writing one small stone each day and posting it on my Tumblr. Every Sunday, I will aggregate them here.

I feel like I ended the challenge with a whimper, not a bang. I limped across the finish line on January 31, my last two small stones posted. There were some good elements of the challenge for me and there were some bad, of course.

The good:

— I wrote 31 small stones in 31 days. I can’t recall in previous years if I made it consistently through, “completing” the challenge. But this year, I did. Which means…

— I consistently committed to my writing for a full month. Now, I wasn’t writing sonnets or anything, but I did write daily for a month. That’s nothing to sneeze at, by any means.

— I strengthened my observational skills. I noticed more, even if I had to hold on to that noticing until the end of the day. I don’t know if I can call it mindful awareness, because I wasn’t noticing and writingin the moment.

The bad:

— I quickly translated writing a small stone as I find them to remembering my small stone at the end of the day. This was expedient, but not in the spirit of the practice. Which means…

— I didn’t get what I wanted out of the practice. I wanted more stillness, more wholeness, more presence in my day. Instead, I got half stones that I had to polish nightly.

— The hardest part of the daily writing challenge, any daily writing challenge, is when you begin to resent the practice. There were many times that I grumbled about having to write my sassafras small stone when I really just wanted to sleep.

— I didn’t engage in the community as much as I would have hoped. I miss that community of writers feel to a challenge undertaken communally, but I just don’t have the time to play on Facebook or blos all day.

On to the stones:

January 28

Outside, freezing rain shatters against the windows. Inside, I listen to my daughter and my husband snore.

January 29

I bisect the orange through its equator, pull it apart to reveal two perfect suns. Over my shoulder, she sings its name to me, over and over.

January 30

Snow clings to the black branches, burdens the tree with its weight.

January 31

The pan is hot enough to make a satisfying sizzle. I push the edges inward, watch the yellow liquid congeal and bubble. Two minutes later, liquid transforms to solid, steaming on the plate.

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