An Inside Job

I’m having a slow day. I’ve got the lurgy, not a fierce one, but enough for me to know I need to lie low. I’m staying warm by the stove. The broken glass in the door has been replaced and it’s a window into a world of blazing birch.  I’ve been reading Anne Lamott’s latest book, Almost Everything - Notes on Hope, a Christmas present for my daughter which I'm devouring before wrapping. Lamott's lines bite with wit and warmth and a sharp crackling intelligence. In the chapter titled Inside Job’ she writes: The idea that I had all the value I’d ever need was concealed from me my whole life. I want a refund. In this world of suffering and grace, of brokenness and sky, of bad skin and buckteeth and one another, I cannot add to the value of myself. It’s not out there.’ 

    ‘I cannot add to the value of myself.’ The words jolt home. I’ve had a website for a while now, designed by my generous and gifted friend Janine, which hasn’t yet made it public. What have I been waiting for? I know exactly what I’ve been waiting for. More value. To feel worthy of having my own website, of calling myself a writer. I’ve been waiting for an email from the agent who may, or may not, take my book. I’ve been waiting for a sign. But the longer I wait for that shunt of external validation, the more diminished I feel inside. 

    Anne Lamott says the value of oneself is not out there ‘for sale or to achieve’, but is ‘everywhere, within and without, around and above, in the most ordinary and trivial, in bread and roses, a glass of water, in dawn and midnight. All you have to want to do is see.’ Sitting here listening to the wind chunter down the chimney, and watching it play with fire through a flawless pane, I know that today I can let my website out into the ether.