Well, this is it for Keitharsis, as you and I know it.
The last post.
And, frankly, I’m excited.
I’m ready to engage with you in new ways, on a more dynamic platform.
I’m ready to spend less time blogging and more time writing creative nonfiction for national publications. Not to mention more poetry.
And I’m ready to begin the marathon of creating and collecting content for my first book. Yes, book.
But something more important is happening in my life right now.
Something that has begun to absorb my attention, my daydreams, my energy and my prayers.
In a couple of handful of weeks—we currently estimate in late June—my wife, three kids, mother-in-law and I will make the 20-something hour trek to Guangzhou, China to welcome a new daughter into our family.
Every sound, smell, taste, touch and sight will be foreign to her.
Her life will be placed in the hands of strangers (that would be us). And she will have no say in the matter.
We know, in time, she has a good chance of thriving in a stable home environment—in a family.
But it will take time.
She will need space to grieve.
And we will do everything in our power to give it to her.
She deserves it.
We currently have two biological sons and an adopted daughter. And they will need our attention, energy and care during this transitory time, as well.
Their lives, like their sister’s, will be permanently altered.
This is not a time to write on a weekly schedule—which blogging requires.
It’s not even a time to be outwardly focused.
It’s a time to cocoon. To nest. To be present.
I’ve been a professional writer for many years. And with the notable exception of fame and fortune, I’ve experienced about everything a writer can experience.
Hot times. Cold times.
Fruitful times. Barren times.
Connected times. Blocked times.
“We are pleased to accept…” “We regret to inform you…”
Mostly, “We regret to inform you…”
Lots of silence.
I’ve learned that I when I walk away from my creative life, my soul starts to die.
But I’ve also learned that my creative life is much larger than my writing life.
I can be just as connected and creative in my family and my work in healthcare as I can facing a blinking cursor.
That said, I need to write.
Words and ideas pour out of me no matter where I am or what I try to do.
I have 174 essays on the creative life already drafted, which haven’t been read by anyone but me. You interested?
I also have nearly one hundred poems that need honing for submission to literary journals.
And I have three book projects in the works.
But these can wait.
Many of these have been hanging around for a few years. So a few more months won’t matter.
Over the summer, as time allows, I will build a new website at keithjennings.com. Once live—which I’m aiming for August/September—it will offer a rich collection of essays, articles, eBooks and resources for you and other writers and artists.
I am also preparing lectures and workshops on the creative life. And plan to lead some exclusive artist retreats and writers’ groups in the coming years.
For now, though, my head and heart have moved to my family—my roots.
I want to look, really look, into each of their eyes when they speak.
I want them to be celebrated and hugged when I see them each morning. And when I walk in the door from a day at the office. And when I tuck them in at night.
I want to chase lightning bugs.
And wander the bamboo forest behind our house.
And get grass stains on my knees.
And spit watermelon seeds.
And fill the house with the smell of warm chocolate chip cookies.
Our everyday life provides the stories for our creative life. It grounds us in our humanity.
Our creative life provides the inspirational breath (spir) that makes our everyday life worth living. It’s the song, the poetry, the moment that transcends the transactional and offers us access to the spiritual.
Each time I’ve hunkered down to write these essays for Keitharsis, I’ve imagined you sitting beside me. I’ve tried to write as if it were just you and I, sipping wine, chatting, trying to make sense of this strange little space we inhabit as writers and artists.
“Why do we feel compelled to create?”
“Why do we feel blocked at times?”
“Where do ideas come from?”
“Why do we try to control our lives?”
“What is our role in the culture?”
“What happens if “success” never happens?”
“Can we ever find relief or release from all the tensions in our life pulling us in a million different directions?”
Those are the types of questions that brought us together.
And those are the types of questions that will keep us going.
Thank you for reading this blog.
Thank you for emailing and commenting and opening your hearts to me.
Thank you for the encouraging words in discouraging moments.
Thank you for receiving and sharing the strange ideas and frameworks I’ve offered.
I hope with each essay and reply I've given you, you've always sensed the respect I have for you, as fellow creatives in the world.
Let’s keep in touch!
And speaking of keeping in touch, I’ve created an email newsletter, I’m calling Root Notes, to serve as my link to you over this summer and beyond.
In it, I will share ongoing updates on what I’m working on and thinking about. Many of the emails will read a lot like the essays you’ve grown to love here—wanderings and wonderings along creative landscapes.
So, please sign up and stay in touch by clicking here or on the image below!
And I will see you on the other side…