This week I contemplated composition. The process where we are all, at all times, both composing our life and decomposing at the same time. Editing, if you will.
For anyone who writes for a living, I think the metaphor is apt: it takes great discipline to edit — rip out those parts which feel essential, beautiful, necessary and set them aside (or “kill” them) knowing, even through the pain, that you are doing the right thing, that the false surface glitter of the word or passage’s beauty is fleeting and not serving your composition at this time. Maybe later. Likely never. New, better words will come.
Composing a life is like this but — due to the complexity of life, and its organic quality — much more challenging and painful.
Ripping out a part of your life composition can feel like you are ripping off an appendage. Like you are dying.
How dramatic —
I am *not* making this up — this actual opening has been rewritten 4 times so far :)
I am noticing that there are two apparent kinds of composition that take place, and they are quite different:
This summer, our 3 young adults plus their intensely amazing girlfriends came home and now they are slowly leaving over the month of August for appropriate young adult adventures. There is a gorgeous mix of happiness and a bit of grief because they will be missed.
This type of composing and decomposing and recomposing takes time to process.
And then there is the composition we do as we grow and mature and notice those bits that no longer serve us, those parts of our lives that are not needed anymore. A habit, perhaps. A way of thinking. A rumination that started out as a helpful thought and has remained too long so that it has really become that drunk 1950s uncle with the lampshade on his head, blathering on. It’s time for him to go, but how to do it gracefully?