The quiet that leaves me room to speak.

How to begin? It's almost a month since I last wrote here (but who's counting, right?). That's not to say I haven't been writing, because I have. I established Paige Worthy LLC about two and a half weeks ago, and even before then, I'd started signing my creativity away by the hour to businesses. I'm not sure how truly successful writers do it: Finishing their work, living their lives, saving enough words and energy for themselves.

Juggling has never been my best carnival trick. (The freak show is more up my alley.)

I'm not sure what it's going to take, either. I won't claim that not blogging has left a crazy-making void somewhere deep within me, because really, I haven't missed it all that much, but I also have this growing list of things I know I want to write about just to get them out of my head. There's a list.

I make a lot of lists lately; crossing things off with a triumphantly scribbled ballpoint line, pressing ink through the page and on to the next, is one of life's great satisfactions.

On the list: Buffoons of the social media world (and why I'll never attempt to join their ranks despite my ridiculous appetite for attention and eventual fame). New York after a two-year absence. A five-course dinner at a 12-seat Italian restaurant. The nicest flight I've ever had. A food tour of Chicago's Chinatown.

Write about love.

I've fallen in love with a man who's actually everything I ever wanted and had given up on finding. I don't even know what else to say about him. I've fallen in love with a photograph of a cat on a website, who I want to bring home even though it's too soon to do so. I don't even know if we'd get along.


For now, I'm content to sit with my laptop on this little wooden bench, reveling in the quiet of Fish Creek, a perfectly quaint town I've been visiting with family — and, later, with friends and boyfriends — for years and years and years. Nothing has changed, not really: The same shops have moved from one white clapboard building to another; I now recognize deep-red geraniums and yellow lilies and coral begonias by name; I see bikes unlocked and haphazardly leaned against trees and marvel that their riders have just abandoned them for lunch or a spin through the stores.

I've changed, though.

I remember puppy-dogging after my mother through galleries and jewelry stores, painstakingly choosing the Door County–themed T-shirt I'd buy for that trip, lounging in a boat we'd rented and wincing away my sunburn for the rest of the trip. Now I'm alone, a little afraid to enter galleries and jewelry stores, thinking about what I have to do in the week ahead, waiting for my friend to finish a visit with her grandmother so we can sip Bloody Marys somewhere before heading back to Chicago.

We drove up for a bike ride and a beer festival. I set off at 7 a.m. for a 75-mile journey through the northern half of this gorgeous, hilly, eternally quiet peninsula I thought I knew so well; I rode roads I didn't know existed, past restaurants and hotels whose names I'd only heard, and got lost in a loop of Peninsula State Park that almost had me convinced I'd never make my way out.

Cycling takes up a lot of my time now; I spend half of every Saturday clipped in, riding up through the North Shore, in preparation for next month's double century, two back-to-back days of 100 miles each. Add that to the list: If all you know of me is through my blog, then you know nothing of the Ride for AIDS.

An American flag hanging from a building across the square ripples in the breeze, and children's Crocs-softened footsteps crunch across the chipped-wood pathways. It's so quiet: Fathers Day, and everyone is on best behavior. I've started thinking about myself lately in the context of a family where I'm not the child. If nothing really changes here, it's safe to say things are definitely changing here within me. I'm on my best behavior, desperate just to do it right for once.

Not desperate. Just hoping. For a story with a happy ending…or, better yet, no ending at all.

I wonder how successful writers do it — this balancing of living and writing and somehow maintaining sanity — then wonder if it's even that hard, really. Maybe all I need is one of these perfect days where I let myself enjoy the sunshine and the shade, the breeze and the quiet, disconnected just enough from life to remember how lovely it is to simply be in it.