I’m Grinding in January. I’m also going to write a “small stone” every day. What is Grinding, what is a “small stone” and why do they work together so well?
Having written about both on this blog before, maybe you know. But here’s a refresher. The Grind is a monthly commitment to writing that poet Ross White organizes. You pick your genre and get put in a group of 10 or so other writers, get each other’s email addresses, and then are responsible to send a new piece of writing every day of the month by midnight of whatever time zone you’re in. You don’t provide feedback or even acknowledge what you get sent. That’s not the purpose of the Grind. The purpose is to write every day and having a group of strangers expecting your work in their inbox, even if they never read it, helps.
It more than helps. For me, it works. This is my seventh Grind in the last two years and it does make me write. Every day. A good thing always.
In January 2012 and then again in 2014 I joined the challenge of writing a small stone every day, reminded to do so both years by sister blogger A Woodland Rose. A small stone “is a short piece of writing that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment.” The bloggers at Writing Our Way Home believe that small stones “help you connect to the world, in all its richness & complexity & juiciness. When we translate something we’ve seen or experienced into words, it is necessary to pay more attention than we usually would. A few minutes of mindful attention (even once a day) helps us to engage with the world in all its beauty.”
The party I was planning to ring in the New Year isn’t happening. Instead I’m navigating another of those left turns that seem to come up in my life regularly. My mother’s in the hospital recovering from a fall due to a stomach flu and David and I are in Massachusetts helping to sort out next steps in getting her healthy and home.
So instead of cooking and decorating and welcoming a group of close friends to eat and drink and be merry together, I’ll be talking to doctors and eating hospital cafeteria food and driving my father back and forth to the hospital. And hopefully getting my mother set up to recover fully at home.
My New Year celebration will be writing every day — a small stone to share with this month’s Grinding pals, and most likely with all of you. Stay tuned.