Redemption Through Work

what is this ice that gathers ’round my heart
to stop the flood of warmth before it even starts
it could make me blind to what I thought would always be
the only constant in the world for me

–Glen Phillips

One of my favorite fairy tales in The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.  The story opens with the Devil creating a mirror, as a joke, that distorts all it reflects.  When his attendants try to fly it to Heaven in order to mock those who live there, the mirror shatters & the shards fall to earth to lodge in people’s hearts & eyes & freeze them into despair.

Lately, I’ve been feeling much like Kai, one of the unfortunate ones who is pierced by pieces of the broken mirror.  I’m miserable in my professional life & it’s easy to see it as a hopeless situation that I’ll never escape from.  Everything is inadequate or not what I would wish it to be.  I swallow my own vitriol instead of speaking up or arguing or even simply saying “No.”  It’s tiring to come home so emotionally compressed you can’t even feel your own heart beat.

So, after a few long talks with my loved ones, I’ve decided to make myself complete a writing project.  A few weeks ago, an editor of a new local magazine approached Kurt about doing a piece for them.  While he decided on a topic, he said to me, “You should do something.  Pick a topic & I’ll give you her contact info.”  When I balked, he sat me down & said, “Look, you can do this.  This project is going to make everything else seem not so important.”

Then, he said this: “You’re the better writer out of the two of us.  I make my little souffles & you’re dreaming up entirely new dishes.” (Which is adorably ironic if you know the two of us.)

So, I put together a pitch, got it accepted & today I found myself busting ass to get the research together.  I don’t want to say quite just yet what I’m working on in case it doesn’t pan out.  But, I drew up a list of places I need to go, people to contact & leads that need to be explored.  I irritated reference librarians & spoke to a visitors’ center employee whose cataract interested me more than what he was saying (which was “I don’t know”).  Instead of limiting my focus to escaping my own petty unhappiness, I found myself more curious about the people I was talking to than the actual results I found.

What I hope is that I’ll actually have a piece of writing to result from this search.  But right now, all I really need is the impetus to keep moving forward & the curiosity to relate to the people I meet along the way.


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