About a year ago, I’d just gotten out of the shower, was wrapped in a towel and brushing my teeth, when everything fell still for a moment and a thought dropped into my skull that felt perfectly not-mine: “There are a thousand ways to be a writer.” It was the answer to a question I hadn’t realized I’d been asking, but when it came, it just made sense.
An acupuncturist I know has been trying to find her way into the resistance. When I read her post about studying acupuncture for trauma recovery, I understood; there are a thousand ways to be an activist.
One friend is a scientist and studies bees to advance their protection, another farms for organic seeds, another has turned her property into a bird sanctuary, another meditates on the holiness of the earth. There are a thousand ways to be an environmentalist.
There are a thousand ways to minister to the wounded. There are a thousand ways to be a good parent. There are a thousand ways to generate income. There are a thousand ways (times a thousand) to live a life.
There are a thousand ways to be what you are.
And, for me, there are a thousand ways to be a writer.
I have run my own communications company for 9 years and I’ve been a professional writer for 17. I’m also a creative director, designer, and marketer… and these things fold into my work as a communications professional, a writer. The English major in me sees the theme. It all makes sense. And, also, it has felt like there’s something I’m meant to do, as well.
I have felt, forever, that in addition to my small business Pink Elephant Communications, in addition to my successful corporate and non-profit career before pink elephant-ing, I’ve been meant to write a book. I can almost feel the thing in my throat, stuck. And that may come. It feels very real to me. But I have spent many years imagining it as The Way To Be a Writer. I wouldn’t say I was fixated, exactly, but I just assumed that that was what I was supposed to be figuring out in my free time, so I didn’t pay much mind to the other invitations that came my way. I had already learned how to write an effective website or Facebook ad. I had already learned how to run a successful small business. I had already learned how to manage a creative team. The next thing, I was pretty sure, was learning to write my book. And that it wasn’t coming was frustrating.
“There are a thousand ways to be a writer” was liberating. Because it let me gently wonder Maybe I wouldn’t ever write a book… Maybe I’m not wrong to think of myself as a writer but my wrongness has only been in how I saw that aspect of myself being expressed in work … and based on what? … a laziness of vision, really. (Also, how affirming to recognize the rightness of all I have already been doing.)
When, last year, I’d asked a wise, intuitive friend who was also a client what services she thought I should add, what more she wished I would offer, she surprised me by saying, “This isn’t what you asked, but I see you making flower essence blends.” On the surface, it came out of nowhere. To combine sayings, there are no accidents and when the student is ready, the teacher arrives. I wrote a note that very afternoon to a woman I’d recently befriended who makes her own flower essences and asked if she would be willing to teach me. It felt so right. And so began my studies. It didn’t answer my question, I thought, but it felt so inviting that I followed that trail anyway just for the pleasure of it.
My word of 2016 was Whole.
I chose it because I’d read that question “Would you rather be good or be whole?” and I was all in for wholeness. My intention was to practice not sacrificing myself for approval. You know that old chestnut so many people socialized as women have grown up with. It became something more, though. It became an investigation into who Whole Carrie might be. By following my curiosity about the energy medicine of flowers, I rediscovered this vast, beautiful aspect of myself that is my intuition. The off-the-charts, full-scoring N in my INFJ. The thing I use all the time as a marketer and creative director and copywriter and business coach but never really claim. Right. Like so many of us here, the sensitive ones, I’m an intuitive too. And it’s a gift I use in lots of areas but where I was able to see it anew was in my time with the energy of flowers. Because I don’t “do” flowers like flower essence consultants do.
The simplest way I can think to put it is to say I talk to the flowers and I put to words what they tell and show me. I “see” which flower essences to give to someone and I translate for that person a letter from Nature.
I am, among other things, turns out, an intuitive flower reader.
I don’t know if such a thing exists, even, but it’s what I am doing. I had been unclear, though, about the place of this work in my bio. My Pink Elephant clients already know, for instance, that I “Reiki” their work before I send it over. I have made no secret of my spiritual leanings. So it wasn’t about that. I just… well, the English major wanted to keep the theme of her work clean, and my brain wasn’t offering up that clarity. Until… “There are a thousand ways to be a writer.”
I am a writer for the flowers.
It isn’t all of what I do. I still really want to write client websites. (That’s also one of the thousand ways I’m an activist.) I still really want to design websites. (That’s one of the thousand ways to be an artist.) I still want to help others find the words to articulate their work, their purpose, and to help them generate fair income for all they offer to others. And, for some, some of the time, I will be doing intuitive flower readings (and writings) and preparing custom blends of flower essences. It, oddly, isn’t especially different from creating a website. Different media is all.
The name for this heart project, Merryrose, came to me, also post-shower, wrapped in a towel. I knew I wanted to do this thing for people that now had a name and I would need a website to try to describe it and to make a proper offering of it, so I started with photos. I hired Johnny C. Y. Lam in Prince Edward County and we spent an exquisite day together in the woods and in fields of flowers. It’s a gift of my life that he captured this day for me in pictures. I have shared this first one with you because from these tall wild phlox I heard, Remember who you are. That’s what I want to help do for others, too, in all the ways I’m a writer. In all the ways I Pink Elephant and Merryrose and Em Demaison too.
Carrie Klassen writes about (and sometimes photographs) things she finds beautiful. She ghost-writes for thoughtful people with something important to say at PinkElephantCreative.com, teaches writing for small business at PinkElephantAcademy.com, and she shares her own words at CarrieKlassen.com. Carrie is currently working on a series of personal essays.