I am a creative person. I have to make things. I am old enough to understand myself that when I am not creative, I am not thriving.
In 2015, I embarked on my first 100 Day Project – a lofty mission to create something every day for 100 days. In the beginning I chose to write “100 scribbles” and blog about it every day. It then transformed into my Book of Hours that I began on July 1st, 2015 and continued it daily well past the 100 day mark and finally ended on Dec 31, 2015.
This year I committed to doing it again but I had no idea what form it would take until a trip to San Jose. I figured I would write every day or re-do the Book of Hours. But like most of my creative projects, this one took me by surprise. About a week before the start date of June 1st, I stumbled upon a book in the grocery store titled Mujeres del Alma Mía by Isabel Allende. For my level of Spanish, it was difficult to read because of the vocabulary and grammar that was more complex than the conversational nature I was accustomed to and so I bought it as a challenge for myself.
I read the first few pages that night in the hotel. As she talked about her mom and her family, I immediately began to think of my own mom and the women that raised me. My mind started making a list of all the women – those I have known and those long gone before I found their works – that made an imprint on my own soul. I took my computer out and typed out their names. There were at least 100 of them.
The wheels turned. I could write every day about one woman. I could read a page of the book and then create my own entry. I need to keep it to 20 minutes in order to be able to commit to this no matter where I am. If I try to write in Spanish, then I will definitely keep it short and simple while pushing my comfort zone. I could use a dictionary only to check on meanings and translation tools only after I gave the verb conjugations my very best try.
So it was set, one written passage a day about a woman that made an impact on who I am.
Day 1: My mom. There was so many things I could have written but the first thing that came to my mind weren’t words. It was an image. Her hands. My hands. The image came powerfully and I knew what to write.
This has been my process each and every time. I sit and see an image – a symbol from a story; a snapshot of a memory; a visual reminder of that woman. I draw quickly before it leaves me and then I write. All of it is done with a mechanical pencil. It is the only way that my perfectionist self can take risks in another language and with the fuzziness of time. With the permission to erase as my friends or my students correct me, I can stretch my writing. My sketches also don’t have to be refined. I draw quickly and with the practice mindset.
Each entry is a moment for me to remember. I have divided the entries into my childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and midlife. My daughters wonder when they will be an entry. I am on Day 33. Soon, I say. I am still a little girl in this first third of the project.
100 days. The last project changed my life and I rewrote my story. It led me to my life in Costa Rica. I tell people about the power of creating for 100 days, of committing for 100 days. Only through the persistence and consistent “showing up” does the magic unfold. It is another form of my Book of Hours project – an appreciation of the wisdom of women and female figures who have shown up at the right time in my life. It is an absolute privilege to have this opportunity to name them.
**For accountability purposes, I posted the first month on a private account. Now I am also posting on my @book_of_hours instagram account. You can follow me there. (I may share here once in awhile in English.)