Just Do It

miss-frizzleA poster from Moonbot Studios’ new short film “Taking Flight” signed by one of its creators, Brandon Oldenburg. Ohhh.  For a $100 pledge. Hmm.

I know where I’d hang it. In the spare bedroom where I write when my brother’s not in town. “Taking Flight.” It’s perfect.

I hear of the opportunity this morning on our public radio station as I’m driving to the bookstore café to write. A poster. 100 dollars. For public radio. These phrases show up while writing in my notebook, but so do many other things.

Two nights ago in one of our timed topics at writing group I quoted Ms. Frizzle (from the Magic School Bus) “Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy.” Actually the only part I could remember was “get messy.” Later Google helped fill in the rest. So my intention for the week became to get messy. Which for me that also meant take chances and make mistakes.

When I get home from this morning’s café writing, my brother entertains me with his running comedic routine. It’s an acquired taste only a few truly appreciate. I’m working on it. He’s here for two weeks before he makes his big move to New York City (taking his own chances.) Next week his daughter and two-month old granddaughter will come to visit for the first time. Everyone seems to be spreading their wings. Is there a connection here?

Later, just before noon, I climb into the car to go to the grocery store. As I start the engine, the radio announcer tells me there are only two more minutes before the matching funds challenge is taken off the table. Whoa. My $100 could be worth $200. And I still want that poster.

Little Ms. Practical realizes this is now a “take a chance” moment. Could this also be a make a mistake moment, I wonder. I’ll be out 100 dollars, public radio will have a doubled pledge, and soon there’ll be a cool poster hanging in my writing room, I tell myself. Don’t see how this could go too wrong. Still in my driveway I dial the number. Four minutes later the volunteer has taken all my information. Did my pledge qualify for matching funds? I don’t know; I hope so. Ah, but I did it.

Would I have thought about it later this evening if I hadn’t heard the reminder again? Or perhaps thought about it at 2 o’clock tomorrow morning and lain awake for an hour with regrets?

Muse:  Why are you even worrying about that? It’s done. You DID it.

Me:  Ah, but I didn’t get messy.

Muse:  Geez. You did it.

Me:  But my intention was to get messy.

Muse:  I give up. You’d argue with a rock.

All this writing practice over the years. How does writing practice have anything to do with this scenario? Maybe because as I write this now I’m acutely aware of the ongoing dialogue in my head over seemingly trivial things that cause me to end up doing nothing. Maybe, even though it hasn’t cured me from the dialogue (even as I’m not sure it is something that needs a cure) I continue to recognize this. But today, here on these pages, I see this conundrum and its resolution. Just by giving myself permission to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy.  (Even if it was not that big a chance, no mistakes ended up being made, and it wasn’t even messy.)

So a timed writing for you…What is the ongoing dialogue in your head right now?

Upon reflecting:  So the “chance” I took was not the story of acting on the opportunity to purchase a Moonbot poster by making a public radio pledge. The chance I took, which is so much bigger to me, is posting that story when it still felt like a story. Before I could talk myself out of it. Which is what my inner dialogue is very good at.

I have several drafts of posts that I didn’t post in the heat of the moment. The fire subsides; the story grows cold. Ah, but this time I took a chance. Let’s just see what happens. A mistake? Doesn’t feel that bad. Messy? Nah, not really.

I write to learn. My lessons aren’t neatly tied up immediately. Time and distance works on them. Ah yes. I see what I’m learning here.




teacher/student, writer/reader, friend

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