Sunday, August 18, 2013

Write Me Real: Arty Type Reflections

I had one of those Ah-ha! moments in the night.  How all my past experiences, school lessons, family life and even the random moments of life have served me in the present for my purpose in life. To write. And I saw so clearly how I am fulfilling that purpose. There are other purposes that we serve at times that are unanticipated. But this purpose has been greatly anticipated. I've struggled against it. Fourght it. Denied it. Betrayed it. And deeply, passionately, joyfully loved it. 

The evil side of my thoughts managed by Doubt tried to sneak into my epiphany and trick me. But I felt the lie. It's not so hard to kick the Doubt to the side in this instance. 

I once met a clairvoyant on a plane who proceeded to tell me about myself (correctly). She knew that I was in love  (but of course she could have guessed). She could have just been a mentalist of course. She told me that she sensed I was a writer.  Actually her words were that I was  an "artist". I remember thinking "not so much, lady." Because I wasn't actually writing at the time. Not for myself at least. I was in grad school at the time (and hating it too.) 

At the time I wouldn't claim my writing as my real occupation and desire because I didn't feel "real". 

I fell in love.  And the words came spilling out like tears. They spilled out WITH the tears. This was a different love from the one I was living at the time I met the psychic, and he was a much better man in every way . But I had loved that other man so hard, so intensely and so consumingly that I nearly lost myself.  I did lose myself. The love that brought the writing out was a different kind of love. The kind of love that you know could last a lifetime. The kind of love that raises a family and grows old together. It was a love where we were two people properly yoked as the Bible tells that lovers should be. That's what brought the writing out of me. 

Love from the soul refuses to be denied. Love is a trickster at times. It comes in the guise of a lover of one stripe and then expresses itself in an entirely different form. When you stop fighting the expression and open to it freely then you become "real".  

My true love -- my writing -- came to me in the guise of a man (also a writer). He didn't stay. When he was gone I was broken hearted. 

And I had plenty of material. Because the writing wouldn't be denied. Honestly I didn't grieve as much over that  lost love as I have for other loves. I had no time. I was busy. With my writing. But God he was beautiful.  

 But it was impossible to put the words back inside the secret place.  One day I started to remember the psychic and I remembered her prediction that in my 30s I would blossom in my art. It doesn't matter whether she was "real" or not. Her prediction gives me nothing and it takes nothing away either. But I became real then in the midst of that love, in my early 30s as she had foretold. 

All of my closest friends were artists in college, but creativity never came to me as easily as it seemed to come from them. I was that person who surrounded herself with creative people yet produced nothing but excuses out of fear. Then I was 33 that I started to focus myself to sweat and bleed it out...that's how hard creativity was for me. Still is somedays. When I started talking about my work to my creative/arty friends they all said that it was similarly difficult for them. Though I still wonder if that's true when I see them successful and so prolific, producing such true and beautiful work. 

In the beginning I worked in secret. I didn't tell anyone what I was doing when I was locked away in my room or working on the computer for twelve hours a stretch. It was a form of denial. I eeked out the kernel and meat of my first novel in a few months once I began to own creativity. It has no structure and rambles aimless yet I love the characters and the historical backdrop of that first story. 

But in those early days I owned my art treacherously, with all the hypocrisy that you offer a lover with whom you secretly consort because your family disapproves. In refusing to honor that love I shamed it. My family used to rag on me "If you'd go write a damn book we wouldn't have to be so poor!"..."You can DO it you're just being lazy!"..."Why aren't you WRITING?" they'd say. They were teasing me but not.

 I sort of knew on the inside that I was not-writing out of cowardice and fear. And that's really the lamest reason to not create. There are thousands of unpleasant things we do as humans all the time so why deny yourself a thing that you love? 

I didn't really know then that I would fall in love with writing. But I coveted the talent, the work, the process - even the blood and sweat and tears.  I read and thought "I could do this!! I could do BETTER than this!!" So I continued not doing it because there is a perverse gratification in dreaming of something rather than risking oneself. Truth is that the risk is where the joy comes in.

It is exhausting NOT doing something that is actually  innate to one's instinct. It is stressful and even damaging to one's nature. It is a sort of self inflicted wounding to the soul. "Doctor it hurts when I do this."..."So stop doing this," says the doctor.

I want to write the way Adele sings and causes chill bumps when you listen to "Rolling in the Deep"

I want to write with the technical skill and purity of Whiney Houston's voice in "I Will Always Love You."

With the emotion  and soul and indescribable quality of Truth at its most powerful. The way that Masters paint. With the strength and raw power of a boxer's punch. T
he athletic agility and creativity of Muhammed Ali. No one made such brutal effort appear almost easy and still so utterly, strangely beautiful.  

But even if I never attain those heights I can still happily scribble and type. This is where my life is. This is what comes from my passion. This is my greatest joy.


Yet, truth be told  I still shame my gift every time I don't submit to publications out of fear that "it's not good enough". "It isn't ready" is my favorite excuse.And it's not a lie  which is the complicated part. But fear still rides me hard. 

That epiphany the other night, that I am doing precisely what I always wanted to do made me pause. I am a writer. I can claim it now. But I still have to bleed out the creativity at times. I don't know if that sense of insecurity and self consciousness lessens over time. But I am willing to discover the truth because this is what I do: I am a "real" writer, even if I am a cowardly at times. 

(Perhaps this is false though. Perhaps one can never be "real" until one gives over entirely? I harbor suspicions - or is that the doubt creeping in with its falsities? Ah the brain never stops with its chatter. Feel the truth. It's the only way. But what if....?) 

I am rather sure at this point that no Wizard can grant me courage. Certainly I can traverse my own Yellow Brick Road to gain courage only my road is travelled and re-crossed on white paper with black print. 

The only person who matters in this contest is my Self. "Are you for real?" I am asking myself as I write. Always.

"Ah! Well prove it," my Self replies.

Nothing makes me happier.

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