Lesson from a Grapevine

On Contentment in the Present Place

Bonita Jewel, MFA
3 min readApr 30, 2023
Grapevine in backyard during winter
Grapevine in my backyard

How many books do you read at a time?

I mean, you can only read one book at a time, literally — in that singular moment you are currently in. And in this singular moment, you are reading this. (Thanks for taking the time. I appreciate it.)

But back to books … do you have several books that you are in the middle of?

If you look at my Goodreads profile, you’ll see that I have a couple dozen books on my “currently reading” shelf. I’m not actively reading all of them right now

But one genre I try to always be actively reading is a book on writing or creativity or art of some kind.

I’m currently reading Letters from the Mountain by Ben Palpant.

Rereading it, actually. (It’s a good book.)

In what I read this morning, Palpant was talking about the struggle for contentment in the life of artists and creatives. That constant tension of seeing where we want to be, and ambitiously pursuing those goals, while simultaneously being content in where we are now.

This truth doesn’t only apply to the creative life — playing piano or violin, painting or storytelling. It can hold true in parenting and other relationships. That tension can be felt in one’s…