...why does it feel so inviting?
I love Autumn. I'm enjoying tidying up some extra sections for WHM while I learn all about query letters and research agents. And in the space, there... without an urgent project calling for me everyday, sure enough, all the loose ends of creative ideas started to scream and jump up and down for my attention:
- that Tucker novel
- those old micro-romance novels I started a few years back
- 4 or 5 other writing ideas from years back, left neglected, including a post-apocalyptic dystopia
"Me, me, me, me next!!"
Zip it, guys. I'm just not listening. I'm tired.
Those ideas all seem to fly right past me. And it dawned on me that I didn't have to jump right into bed with something new. That I could enjoy the pause and come back down to earth for a while and enjoy the lovely life that I have here... which is already quite full... without having the pressure of another big project looming.
I'd been working on this project, Wild Horses and Mistakes, in different ways, since December of 2016. A year of exploring and seeking, feeling and healing, forgiving and resting. Replenishing. Learning to take care of and sincerely love myself and what I'd gone through; and all that I chose to become and push toward, rather than crumbling into someone that I knew wouldn't really be me. Chasing down faith and meaning and hope with nets, left with only moments of perspective, bliss, awe, peace, or new-found wisdom. And I loved all of it, I am different on the other side. I can only feel grateful for all of it.
And then, there's been nearly a year now of the actual writing: crafting a narrative and diving into all the tedious editing and re-reading, again and again and again. And it still doesn't feel quite done, but I don't think it ever does. Because as artists and writers, well...we are constantly evolving and seeing the world in new and different ways. And I think, I just want to keep the work as current as possible, you know, as current to "me" as I can. But it's got to get out there, as it is, for what it is, and I'll start something new, when the time is right.
I think that's what artists do.
We're never quite done, are we? Always moving and growing and absorbing and wondering and boiling down these intricate and awe-inspiring versions of our respective realities... for the world's consumption. Hoping against all hope that someone, somewhere, will be moved. Touched. Affected. Will get it, will get us, appreciate us and all that we have to say. That our words and rambling nonsense and hopefully poetic and artful sentiments might make a positive impact on someone's experience of life.
That's why I do it, anyway.
So, with the cooler breeze that autumn brings, I find myself curling up and in. Slowing down and taking stock. Like the squirrels and chipmunks and birds outside my window, I'm going through my nest-space, tidying up, and making preparations for winter. Relishing in the downtime. In the rebuild, the reconstruction, the reinvention.
I can only say that it will be a very grounded and physical year: tending to the tangible. Home-life, schedules, school-year stuff, fitness and health, practicing instruments, including my voice. Since ditching cigarettes in the summer of 2016, my voice went through a metamorphic change. And I rather enjoy singing, now, much more than I used to. It hasn't felt this... clear... since adolescence.
2015 - 2016 brought a big life-change for me.
2016 - 2017 brought a focus on mental health and damaging habits.
2017 - 2018 brought a focus on spiritual understanding and deep healing.
2018 - 2019 brings a focus on the physical, tangible, on the ground, in my face stuff of life.
So, autumn is dedicated to... me. For the next few months, I'm letting go of the need to immediately produce something new. I'm taking back my extra time and energy for my more grounded and very physical goals, and giving my seeking, searching, contemplating mind a good, long rest. Turning inward and getting all cozy and warm with myself. Preparing for the other side of this book, in earnest. Fitness goals and publishing and loving on my music. Good and deep rest.
Yes, it's another year of focused self-love... but I'll be working on the outside of the house, now that I know the guts inside are good and stable. Now that I know how to walk... through just about anything. Now that I know, so much more, who I am and what I believe.
And of course, I still keep a journal. So. Maybe I'll write about it all... afterward. Here we go again.
Let's get physical. xoxo
Hello again, my friends.
My favorite astrology people keep telling me that the times are ripe for quiet contemplation, humility, new beginnings, and releasing the old. It is autumn, after all. Let leaves fall...
So... have you heard of sand mandalas? Tibetan Buddhist monks have these intense rituals for designing and completing their intricate and beautiful works of art...made with colored sand. One sacred piece takes them weeks to finish. And when it's complete, after all that work and all of their time, they take it apart. Intentionally and purposefully, they release all the sand back into nature, usually depositing it into a nearby river, to be carried away, downstream. There is great meaning in this: it signifies the idea that energy never dies and the impermanence of all physical things.
I'm talking about it, here, because that's what I've done with my old blog posts. It was a sacred thing, for me, the wide-open and vulnerable sharing that brought me to this point. Three years' worth. But it's time to let them go. I've saved them all, for me.
But I've turned another corner, as it goes, and have found that more and more, I'm pouring my untethered emotion and such into my new projects and creative interests. My voice is changing, the path is shifting, and I'm listening. And in my life, since I started blogging, this has happened many times. It feels like a shedding of skin and stepping into a new version of myself, gathering up everything that I'd learned, the mistakes I'd made, the wisdom I'd gained, and then reinventing myself... ever-forward. It's what I do, I resurrect. It's my namesake.
And so, with my old words and musings and ramblings brushed into the winds, I now find white space again. Neutral territory; a blank canvas. And this used to seem scary, but it's not anymore. It's invigorating. It's the start of a new journey, a new direction, a new focus. Raw essence. A brand new dance of divine alchemy.
As I finish editing through Wild Horses and Mistakes and begin narrowing down photos, I become more and more aware of the pending raw and creative potential; the wild chasm that approaches. I think of creative projects as babies, in a way. They go through a birth process, like any living thing: the idea is conceived and then steadily grown and nurtured within, until it's time to really work and push, to get the thing out of you. (I am currently in labor (with WHM), and it is taking a while to get it out.) But then, when I do... the other side of my brain will take over and work on logistics and publishing, formatting and querying, researching agents, more platform-building, marketing, and so on. The nitty-gritty stuff, the business side of things. The hustle.
And then, there will be a rising up of that... primordial cosmic creative essence... that raw energy that longs to create something new, swirling within, looking for a home. So, before I get there, I am being mindful and intentional about what I'd like to say next. What I want to experience and create, what I want it to feel like, and where it might take me, on the road of my life. What do I love?
See, I'd been meditating on death, lately. And in my mind's eye, death came to me, as it had before, in my life. And death asked me, directly... "if I were to come back for you in a few months' time... what would you like to have left behind, in this place, before moving on?"
And I blinked open my eyes and began journaling. At first, I brought up all the things that I wanted and had already brought into my life:
Have a child, check.
Write a book, check.
Go kayaking, check.
Travel more, check.
Go on a spiritual quest and write about it, check.
And there, in the pause, when I finally stopped naming things I'd done, I began to hear the things that I wanted next. The things that I wouldn't want to leave this world without trying. So, I am happy to say that I do know what's next and it's not necessarily another book. Not right away.
And once I decided...the journey started. Again. And so have the obstacles and in-my-face realizations and inner-demons and all the rest, already sticking their chins out, shaking me up. Asking me how much I want it. Another walk across the desert, another lap around the circle. Living life this way, in pursuit of a dream, of a passion, overcoming challenges, is the only way to live... for me.
Alive, lit up, inspired, and always learning.
With each new intentional endeavor to learn and grow and create something... we, the humans, the real cosmic clay of Life, evolve along with whatever we choose to make, if we pay attention. I believe... that declaring what you want in no uncertain terms will awaken the forces that surround us, at the ready, to guide us through, if we take the first step. Then another. And another. Intent, action. Intent, action. Always guided and inspired. I believe that this is just how creativity works, when we tune in. I don't think it drops in our laps, but I don't think we're alone in it, either. I think we have to work for it, reverently. Gratefully.
And if you're stuck in it, or struggling, or anxious...consider the freshness of starting again. Take on a new perspective, at least, to enliven what you're working on. And check out Joseph Campbell and the Hero's Journey. I've found it incredibly helpful in harnessing creativity in a project. Keep moving, keep making, keep creating.
And so it begins. Stay tuned. Watch this space. Starting fresh. Good things...