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24 February 2006

37 days challenge

37"I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear." - Joan Didion

This blog began with a sense of urgency that centered around what I would do if I only had 37 days to live.

The answer was that I would write frenetically, putting into syllables and symbols and sounds as much as I could out of my very heart and brain, to leave behind a record of who I really was for my daughters. It was a sense of urgency that drove me to it, the knowledge that when that countdown really does start, my friend, it will be too late. There may be no time for reflection then, but perhaps only time for regret at not reflecting earlier.

These essays have emerged, one a week, for the past year. I'd like to regain the sense of urgency with which they began, the daily breathless investigation that led me here. To do that, for at least the next 37days, I'm going to write an essay each day, shorter, different, exploratory, fodder for longer essays, rough works in progress, notes on a palette of sorts, thoughts that might end up here in some form.

I'm remarking on this process not because I think it is infinitely interesting to anyone but me, but because when subscribers to 37days enlisted, they were told they would only get updates once a week and I don't want to break that promise. So those works in progress will be posted here. Perhaps you'd like to join me in this 37 days challenge by writing a personal story or essay each day for the next 37 days? We make meaning of our lives through narrative, don't we?

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» New Challenge from 100Bloggers
Patti Digh has tossed out a real good challenge. If you follow her writing, she carefully crafts a post per week. I visualized her posting process like this. For the next 37 days, however, she is going to just wing it. Do shorter posts, less complete... [Read More]

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I am inspired to try it. Thanks.

I'm going to try it. It's so funny because I just wrote my first short story (and it took me 37 years! 7 double-spaced pages took me 37 years. And now I am going to try to write an essay every day, for 37 days. Big leap. Thanks for the inspiration.

Katkat and Amy - I'm glad you were inspired to give it a try - let me know how your 37days go! Maybe it will help if you consider the page a palette, not a final canvas.

Oh god, Patti, you would have to put something like this up right now...just when I'm feeling like I hardly remember how to write. :) I'd love to give it a try. But define personal story/essay (for the purpose of this challenge)...do you have certain parameters that you've set for yourself?

Marilyn -

glad I could help! no pressure!
;-)

And good question - here are my thoughts on how I'm approaching the challenge for myself; perhaps they will help you: 1) done with a feeling of urgency - must get this said before the 37days are up; 2) draft, not polish; 3) 400-600 words, no longer; 4) palette, not canvas; 5) kernel of something bigger, perhaps. Enjoy!

Oh, a meaty challenge! Well then, I'll see no, I'll try, no I will do something about this! Thanks for the inspiration...

steve - your note really made me laugh... thanks!

Wow. What an amazing and delicious invitation.

I do believe that Joan Didion quote - and what you say about how we make meaning of our lives.

Looking forward to this. Yum.


wow, that's a pretty intensive challenge to set for yourself. I may do it without intending but I can't promise them all to be as wise and guiding as yours.

You have a very unique and wonderful voice. Keep talking!

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