Writing Through the Fog

Picture Description: Stack of printed paper sits next to a coffee cup. The stack goes about half way, about an inch and a half, up the coffee cup. On the cup is a picture of a skeleton drinking coffee.

I am deep in the writing process working steadily towards a deadline at the end of January. Last week I printed out a lot of my work and am steadily combing through each chapter and editing, which pretty much involves me asking myself about 50 times a day, “What am I really trying to say?”

For me, the editing process is not easy. I, of course, want everything to sound beautiful but I’m realizing that I’m doing well if my writing is clear, helpful, and grounded in place, body, etc. Journaling about the editing process, I write:

I want to do anything but this work. Search for a Truth is so difficult – like tracking an elusive animal. You know this “Truth animal” when you see it, but the rest of the time is spent desperately seeking signs it’s still living here.

I find myself guessing, “Is this footprint Truth? What about these broken limbs, was it Truth that crashed through here?” Sometimes I feel like most of a Chapter I write just describes all the signs, the wake of Truth as it tramples through the world I live in.

I’m trying to keep going. To somehow push through what feels like dense fog that has covered this area I’m exploring. I can perceive very little with my senses. All I hear is the dense silence that comes when every creature is too cautious to move.

Carefully I’m moving through this fog now, only because I have to. Maybe I’ll move right off the edge of a cliff? Crap! I don’t know which way to go. How do I follow a Truth when I’m unable to chart its tracks?

I pause in my journaling feeling my heart starting to race and my mind spinning out into panic. I pause and go get another cup of coffee. I go outside, stand for a few minutes in the sun, and when feeling calmer I sit back down; pick up my pen and write,

“Truth exists in many forms. My inner sense of knowing leads me to recognize its shape, texture and smell. I carry that wisdom with me. I dare to search. I have carved out space in my life to listen.

Truth. Not THE truth but A truth lives here. Inside this dense forest, foliage and trees, there are so many places to hide, even without the aid of fog.

This dense fog fills my lungs and I have a hard time breathing, making me move even slower. But… fog is not smoke. Fog carries moisture to the surface of leaves and allows a slow drenching of nourishment for the plants. There is a purpose, even if I don’t think the purpose serves me. Moving slower now, my body has to be fully present to know where I am.

I cannot control the fog, the trees, the wind or the water droplets. I can just be here – me – in this fog moving achingly slow.

Slow and deliberate, but listening.

Slow and deliberately breathing.

Slow and deliberately watching.

Here in this place I am searching for something I already know.


  1. Corbette O’Toole’s fb post about your new book brought me here. Love your work connecting nature, your feelings & thoughts to your purpose, your writing. I’m teaching myself to write and you make me feel less alone.

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