a flour sack quilt, and what january was for

January was for putting systems into place. I organized and tossed, in my pantry and fridge. I bought fresh and organic. I scoured vegetarian and vegan cookbooks. I tried so many new recipes I got cross-eyed, but found some keepers. Still want to write a book with lots of food in it. Made notes.
Routine has been my friend in January. Oh, how I have missed it. I decided very quickly that I still hate schedules, but I could embrace a routine. Just establishing these routines has taken most of my energy, it seems. But now I've got it down.
 I rise every weekday and head for the page while I'm fresh. I break at some point to begin(or join in making) the midday meal. I cook slowly and mindfully. We eat together. I go back to work. We walk the park. Evenings are for reading and knitting and being with friends and family. Who knew how soothing this could be?
I did. I've always known it. Lived it for a long time, then didn't for a long time, and now I have that chance again.

I've been thinking about how to measure success, or what that even means, when we look at our days and our work. How do YOU measure success? I would like to know.
I didn't make much headway on book two, if you measure success by numbers of new words or chapters or breakthroughs. If I measure by the yardstick of creating a safe, comfortable place to write, researching, going down blind alleys with a new chapter, and sticking with it no matter what... well, that's a big success. I think. My undermind is at work. I can't push the river. I can show up. Something like that.

Nevertheless, I feel vaguely like a failure. Maybe that's why I bought this old flour sack quilt from Kudzu this week. It has been my only indulgence this year, although the year is young. How lucky is it that Kudzu is practically next door to Your DeKalb Farmer's Market?
I found this quilt at the back of a booth at Kudzu, and I spent some time extracting it from its half-hidden corner. As soon as I touched it, I knew I had to have it. Its softness, suppleness, colors and patterns (do you see the cowboy fabric?), its hand-stitching. It was waiting there for me. So I took it home.

And now, on mornings when I rise before Jim, when the house is still cold and I have just turned on the heat, I crawl beneath this quilt with my tea or coffee and my story, which also waits for me so patiently.
I don't know just how to coax it along these days. Or maybe it's me that I need to cajole. Maybe I need to convince myself that I have all the systems I need in place right now, that I can let go of the need to organize everything else and turn my attentions to the task at hand: finishing book two.

I hope February is a month of pushing forward... whatever that means.