| JANUARY 2016 |

Hello Gentle Reader,

In early January Amy and I went to Jaén with Maggs and Sergio, our favorite roommate from last year in Cartagena.

During this trip I was mentally working through some insecurities with my writing. The following blog post was taken from notes I scribbled on napkins and museum brochures I intended to trash. But after I found them, weeks later, at the bottom of my purse, I thought they might need to be shared.

A part of my writing ritual is to spend at least thirty minutes a day in front of the computer. I can write anything in those thirty minutes—from stream of consciousness exercises like “mehhhhh erggggg blink blink blink” to an intellectual essay on the concept of dust. Those thirty minutes a day allow my brain to throw gobs of undigested thoughts and emotions onto the blank page, where then I take the words and stitch ideas back together.

Around Christmas the theme of fear had repeatedly crept into my thirty minutes a day, and I’d found myself feeling constrained. I was fearful of failing, fearful of disappointment, fearful of rejection. So I didn’t write very much—extremely bad news when you work as a writer.

I had many, many conversations with favorite people to help me change my thinking regarding fear.

Yes, it ties us down and makes us feel small. But, instead of telling you that we should reject fear and stomp its ugly face into the sidewalk, I think I’d rather explain that fear is really a misunderstood friend. It simply wants us to be safe, even though it goes a little overboard trying to protect us.

That being said, I believe we say, “yes, you’re right” too often to what fear tells us: that we’re not capable enough, or smart enough, and that we’d get hurt or rejected.

I think we allow fear to make too many choices for us. That stifles creativity. It stops us from doing great things, (or even small ones). And that’s too dangerous not to address.

Therefore, I’d like to share one of the products of one of my thirty-minute sessions in hopes that you’ll be able to do something scary today. If you’re not into quasi-poetry then, I beg you to skip straight to Amy’s beautiful photos of Jaen.

“Good morning. It’s you and Fear in bed together again.

He’s sitting next to you, breathing down your neck. Whispering doubts in your ears.

He wants to keep you close, to wrap you up. But his arms are too tight. He’s breaking your bones.

Soon you’ll be paralyzed.

Fear is the net of complacency. He’s the dream catcher, the cobweb weaver. He wants you all to himself.

At night he croons lullabies in your ear, tucks you in so you stay warm, lies beside you. He’s a spooner, you see.

He hangs with you when you’re alone, even when you’re not. I think he fears you’ll leave him.

You want to.

But you’d never reject him entirely. You need each other.

He’s the one who tells you you’re too close to the cliff’s edge. The one who reminds you to turn off the stove. He shouts, “turn back!” in a dark alley.

He only wants to keep you safe. But he’s too protective. And when you listen to him too much it’s crippling.

So, this morning, you turn to him, take his hand, and say thank you. “Thank you for trying to keep me safe. Thank you for caring so much. Thank you for being with me. But I need a little space.”

“Just a little,” you say when you see the hurt on his face. “Maybe you could sit over there for a while? I have some work to do. I’m not going to die, or be maimed. I just need to write these e-mails.”

As he scoots off the bed you take your dreams and ideas from his cobwebs and nets and catchers. They’ve been his for too long.

He closes his eyes and does what you ask.

Now you can get to work.”

I’m hoping by sharing this that someone, somewhere will get the gears turning on the topic of fear. It’s one to talk about.

Now, to the second part of this blog post: Amy’s photos of Jaén.

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| Day Two |

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Asking yourself, “what is fear keeping me from today?” is probably one of the most important questions we can ask.

So I encourage you to try something scary today. Doesn’t have to be a huge thing. Try a small one.

Thanks for traveling with us,

K & A

Word of the Day: Berenjena | Eggplant

Song of the Day: Fangoria | Desfachetez


2 thoughts on “Jaén

  1. Cat what an excellent post!!!! You inspire me so much. Don’t let fear get you down, you are an amazing, creative, smart, and beautiful person with wonderful dreams and ideas! Love you!!

  2. Excellent, excellent. You are never able to kick him out permanently but once you are on to him you can keep the upper hand in the relationship. Well done, you for catching on to his sneaky ways at such a young age. And LOVE the photos!

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