feeding from that mysterious source

If there's anything I've learned about myself and the creative process it's to have patience.  I've learned to accept that once in awhile life demands that you just live it and save the documenting of it for later.  No doubt there's something going on that requires some sitting with before there's any interpretation to be got out of it.  Still, each day I look at my blog space and each day I think of the people who stop by to read what I have to say and there is some inner chastising happening.  When I don't write I miss it – and I miss you.

This week, my job continues to hammer at my consciousness like a spoiled, loud child.  "In-between moments" have been spent with a notebook, mulling around some ideas, some new directions, creative and otherwise.  And I'm reading stories and preparing lessons – this semester's Creative Non-Fiction class full on and once again I'm discovering new writers and new people and the joy of fostering creativity. 

And I've visited and shared meals with both of my daughters who have ended the "sister roommates" era and are establishing homes of their own.  Several years ago, becoming an empty-nester whacked me over the head with an impact I hadn't anticipated.  Who'd have thought that suddenly ending the responsibility and the nurturing and the sharing and developing and encouraging would leave you standing there dazed and wondering where you'll ever find that kind of purpose again? 

Oh, but I love my grown up daughters.  The purpose and intent behind the raising of them has produced gifts far beyond that which I ever imagined.  And to be in their homes, feeling the love and the values I based my own home on as central to theirs – I feel nothing but gratitude.  And anticipation for all those experiences that will come next.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is to simply hold back and let the well be filled, even if that source remains a mystery.

Thanks for having patience with me my loyal friends.


Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering you own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.
~Saint Francis de Sales



  1. Reply
    Tricia November 4, 2010

    Girlfriend – you remain an inspiration.

  2. Reply
    reluctant blogger November 4, 2010

    Yes, I so agree with you about stepping back from writing about things for a while. Sometimes they need to settle out or bed down a bit.
    So glad you have such a fabulous relationship with your daughters.

  3. Reply
    Jennifer November 4, 2010

    Aw gee – and here I thought I was only explaining away some writerly inaction. Thank you pal.

  4. Reply
    Jennifer November 4, 2010

    You’re right RB – I like that idea of “settling out or bedding down.”
    I’m glad I have that relationship too – grateful is more like it.

  5. Reply
    willow November 4, 2010

    The vast empty nest hit me over the head a few years back, too. I wasn’t expecting the impact.

  6. Reply
    Joyce November 4, 2010

    My empty nest hit with the middle child. I still had 2 at home but couldn’t go with her father to drop her off at school, so I started tearing the house apart, took out a bookcase and tore up some carpet.

  7. Reply
    Marilyn November 4, 2010

    We were faced with an empty nest years ago. I really felt it when our daughter went off to university but we still had our son at home, only two years later off he went as well. The silence that followed took on a life of it’s own and I didn’t like it. With our children gone there were no phone calls, none of their friends dropping in, we lost so much so suddenly ….and we needed to learn to converse all over again where our children weren’t the sole reason for our words.
    I love visiting our children’s’ homes now – both so happy, both so settled.

  8. Reply
    Jeff Griffiths November 4, 2010

    I sometimes find myself drifting off to when my kids will venture out in their own directions, and it frightens me. Your writing today has settled that fear. My daughter is 10 and my son is 5, a while yet, or a blink. I have to remember that each day brings new changes in each of them and it always gets better.
    Thanks Jen …

  9. Reply
    Jennifer November 5, 2010

    You know what I think Willow? Of all the stages in life, the empty nest isn’t written about enough.

  10. Reply
    Jennifer November 5, 2010

    Gosh, I can just feel what that must have been like Joyce. That “Must. Do. Something.” compulsion…

  11. Reply
    Jennifer November 5, 2010

    Wow, that’s big Marilyn, “learning how to converse all over again.” I left our house on the same day my youngest daughter did – I have no idea what it would have been like to be standing in that house, watching her go.
    Glad to year yours are happily settled.

  12. Reply
    Jennifer November 5, 2010

    Yeah, pretty sure you’ve got nothing to be frightened of Jeff. And yes, sorry, it’s a blink, but it DOES always get better.
    (PS – my oldest, Carly, will always be 10 in my mind. Her awareness was opening up, she was embracing her original self. I love 10 year old girls!)

  13. Reply
    deb @ talk at the table November 5, 2010

    So well written. I am taking forever to adjust to having two home, three away now. It loomed as my step into “normal” . But it’s never been our normal, so it just feels like a limbo. I suppose when they start to leave for good it will click in.
    I do appreciate less laundry and stuff, but the dynamics are still out of kilter. It will come. ( I guess I also didn’t realize how the one who has just left for University was more like 2 🙂 )

  14. Reply
    Jennifer November 5, 2010

    Thanks Deb. So interesting you should use the word “limbo.” Limbo is the biggest way I would describe my empty nest state. I guess it’s that “purpose” one has had in parenting for 18+ years… when it goes, it feels like limbo. Limbo not good for me.

  15. Reply
    Boonie November 6, 2010

    I’d recommend living it over writing about it. You can always write about it later – or never – whichever is the more appropriate.
    Have a nice day, Boonie

  16. Reply
    Jennifer November 7, 2010

    haha I guess so! Touche Boonie!

  17. Reply
    Susannah November 7, 2010

    Never had a full nest so I never had to deal with an empty one. But I can imagine all the readjustment and re envisioning of yourself the change of role would need. I should imagine it is one of those rites of passage type things from one stage of life to another and though difficult would bring about a reinvention of yourself and wisdom in its wake.
    Not having kids has its own issues, as there are whole stages you never pass through and you can arrive at middle age still feeling like a ‘girl’.
    I understand the ‘want’ to write even if no words are forthcoming, I suppose that is when we have to trust that things are simmering beneath the surface and will break ground in their own good time.
    It is always good to drop in here and read your words.
    (By the way, I like your new header.)

  18. Reply
    Jennifer November 7, 2010

    You know Susannah, maybe it was a rite of passage that I thought I could just blow off. I was so up for a new life and a new city and freedom from all the shackles of my old life (not the girls – but the PLACE) that I didn’t even consider that rite. Didn’t even consider what it would feel like to end my life’s purpose for the previous 20 years.
    I think arriving at middle age and feeling like a girls is GREAT. Am glad you do.
    Thanks for liking the new header – the first one with my own photos.

  19. Reply
    Little hat November 8, 2010

    Jenn, hope you’re not listening too closely to that inner chastising. Mind you I understand your feelings. Perhaps it part of you looking to fill the gap, the absence of your children, by reaching out to blogland? I picture you as a pretty social person? If you’re anything like me I am inclined to look for any company rather than spend too much time alone.
    Of the empty nest experience – I’m sure it’s more acute for single parents. There isn’t any other noise to fill the space. In my case mine have gone and come back again. We’re enjoying having our son living with us again but also enjoyed that year when it was ‘just us’. I’ve come to undersatnd that I’m a parent until I die but that I can survive without them and my parenting role. Travel teaches me that. I don’t miss them at all. Althought their mother has a limit – about three weeks and Andrea starts to pine.

  20. Reply
    Jennifer November 8, 2010

    Well I try not to listen too closely – I’m much better at ignoring that voice than I used to be.
    And sure – all this has given me a purpose – together with the teaching courses. And I am pretty social, and blogging is just an extension of that.
    I suppose my biggest complaint is the long hours I spend going about my day job – long commute and long days, particularly lately. If my teenager self could see me now, she’d scoff. Creating and my art are how I define myself as a person; working in an office is how I pay the rent. My career just “kind of happened” and I didn’t have a lot of time to explore other ways to earn a living as I had two young girls to raise.
    Maybe all this inner strife is not about the empty nest thing (after all, it’s been six years now – with a period of one bird coming back, like you), but about that inner voice saying “now it’s time you can find a more fulfilling way to earn that living. Maybe it’s about time you stop letting stuff that is NOT fulfilling interfere with what you really want to do.

  21. Reply
    Selma November 15, 2010

    I’ve just had one of the biggest breaks I’ve ever had from blogging so I know what you mean. I did feel bad for just leaving everyone in limbo so to speak. You continue to inspire me with your observations, Jen. Thank you.

  22. Reply
    Jennifer November 17, 2010

    I guess we’re a mutual inspiration society pal. Thank YOU.

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