Thursday, June 14, 2012

Listening. And Melancholia.

When I started my writing life almost 2 years ago, I charged forth, eager to create “WRITING” in all its artistic glory, in all capital letters each and every day. I said yes to every opportunity that came my way and ran like hell at every chance that presented itself. I was going to be the best, the biggest, the brightest. Basically, I attempted writing as a job. With every job I’ve had since I was fifteen, I charged forth and swore I would be the best and outshine everyone else. The first to get promoted, the first to get accolades. In development, as a teacher, office manager, even a bartender. I charged forth, got there early and eager and excited. I finished projects, or got the biggest tips, or earned gold stars before going on to the next challenge.

But writing isn’t about product, it’s about process. In most jobs you’re working towards a finished goal, it’s linear, you have an endpoint in mind, whether that’s making a drink, raising a certain amount of funding, or getting a student’s SOL scores up, that goal is always at the forefront of your brain. With writing, there is no endpoint. Sure you have projects, but writing is circular, amoeba-like. You write a little here, snatch some time for a journal entry or vignette there, come back to your main project here, post a blog there. It’s like raindrops of paint falling on a Pollack canvas, where my other jobs were linear, concrete shapes like Miro or Calder. Point A to B. Writing is point A to Z to G to H and every point in between.

In my eagerness to get to point Z, I forgot to get quiet and listen. But my muse, the lady with her hair up in a bun who wears overalls and paints pictures in the basement of my mind reminded me that to create you have to listen. And if you’re charging and achieving like some AP high school student with an Ivy League in mind, it’s hard to listen. It’s much easier when your neck is injured and you can’t move. When you can’t move, all you can do is listen. So that’s what happened.

My body broke. I hurt my neck and it felt as if somehow I’d been broken right down the middle, like a tree that’s been struck by lightning. My insides charred and died. The bolt tore through the middle of me, tearing away the old as it went. And from the smoldering ashes a new me has gradually begun to grow. My neck injury was just a physical manifestation of what I’m feeling emotionally and creatively.

The lightning struck and my body broke and it was all I could do to sit or sleep or lie or do much of anything EXCEPT listen. My body broke which felt physically terrible, but even more awful emotionally. I felt like a job failure. I canceled engagements, stopped writing, and was convinced that while I had been successful at every other job known to man, in this one I would fail. I just didn’t have the discipline.

Click Here to Read More..