My “check engine” light came on last Thursday, but it wasn’t like I was surprised. A few months ago I heard a report on NPR that the 3 months/3,000 miles mantra for changing your oil no longer applied to cars that had been made in the last 5 to 7 years. Apparently, cars are built now to need oil changes every 10,000 to 16,000 miles. Good news for most; bad news for me. That’s how long I usually waited to get my oil changed when I was following the 3,000-mile rule. With the new guidelines, I’ve created my own mathematical equivalent. Up until a few days ago, I thought I’d be able to make it to at least 30,000 miles before I would have to change my oil again.
Um….I was incorrect.
So, I’ll take care of this in the days ahead, probably even Monday or Wednesday. I know that, once I get a fresh few pints of oil running through my car’s veins, every little thing’s gonna be all right.
My own internal “check muse” light came on a few days ago, as it had been too long since I took the time to stop by the Bean Hollow in historic Ellicott City and share good coffee and even better words with a good friend. We’ve been meeting on a monthly basis, for the most part, and sharing our own work as well as what we’ve experienced in attending conferences and readings as well as entering competitions.
A month is a good span of time where each of us is fueled by the discussion, but for reasons mostly beyond our control, we’ve had to cancel several of our monthly meetings. In fact, I believe the last time we met was at the end of the school year last June. Far too long to deprive the muse of such nourishment.
We met for only 90 minutes or so yesterday. He talked of his recent successes with his playwriting, not to mention the completion of his first novel; I talked of my shift in focus from giving to taking, so that I may give a little differently in the months and years to come. After two glasses of iced tea, one mug of black Hollow Blend coffee, and a bagel with hummus (let’s not forget the yummy vegan chocolate espresso chip cookie, too), we both left filled in a different way, motivated to carry on another month with our writing, our vehicle that gets us creatively from one place to another, perhaps a little more safely than we realize.
Personally, it’s more than all that it ever seems to be on the surface when we are there and right after we leave. In the bigger picture, it’s the muse maintenance I need to keep going with the belief that there is a genuine, inherent importance in what I am doing. It’s not about fame, or success, or recognition or even acceptance; it’s about moving on to the next piece that needs to be born, shared, experienced, so that the next idea, the next work, can have its time, too.