And this realization hurts. Can hurt anyone. The bulkiest ogre, or the ittiest little red riding hood. The fact that I’m replaceable, but he’s not. That I wasn’t in it for me, I was in it for us. Sometimes, a person can be too sure of someone, too sure of that eventual future. This is the jinx I mean when I laugh at people who get their lady’s name tattooed on some outlandish place, and then they break up. This feeling is what happens when you name imaginary children, when you “try” to remain friends after it’s over. It’s equivalent to a few rejection letters a week in my case, and something’s gotta give.
Anne Lamott said in one of my favorite books Bird by Bird:
After thirty years or more of floundering around and screwing up, you will finally know, and when you get serious you will be dealing with the one thing you’ve been avoiding all along—your wounds. This is very painful. It stops a lot of people early on who didn’t get into this for the pain. They got into it for the money and the fame. So they either quit, or they resort to a type of writing that is sort of like candy making.
Writing is painful. Putting yourself on display, especially as a nonfiction writer, is painful. You run many risks, and taking those risks don’t generally keep you going. At least not for me. Today I’m busy, I have another new client, and I’m still writing Product Descriptions for the previous one (hold tight Ed!) I’m preparing for my second to last residency (yaeeh!), and my son’s birthday is today. Happy Birthday Tye! He makes twelve. I’m trying to remind myself why I wanted to write so badly when Bukowski already warned me not to do it if it “doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything.”
The problem is though, it does: When I’m on all fours breathing bleach scrubbing the jets in the inside of my jacuzzi tub the stories come to me, when I’m organizing my styling drawer by color and type of hair pin, when I fall asleep and am awakened by my tween exclaiming “Nope, cause it’s my birfday, nope, can’t do anything cause it’s my birfday,” when I wake from a nightmare that just won’t quit and I can feel the fear of failure—yes, the stories come out of me. And I have to submit. I have to let my neuroses take over. I simply sit down, close my eyes, and remember his breathing.
You simply keep putting down one damn word after the other, as you hear them, as they come to you. You can either set brick as a laborer or as an artist. You can make the work a chore, or you can have a good time. You can do it the way you used to clear the dinner dishes when you were thirteen, or you can do it as a Japanese person would perform a tea ceremony, with a level of concentration and care in which you can lose yourself, and so in which you can find yourself. —Lamott
My mentor recently informed me that I’d overwritten the ending of my memoir. Happy enough as that was, it made me feel like damn, even after all of my work, I still couldn’t get it right. This, she said was a positive thing, overwriting. It meant revision, and voila! It means that I have pieces I can pull from that are well written, and can begin to see the light of editors. I should have been happy.
I’m excessive, if asked to do one thing, I’ll do ten. If asked to do my best, I’ll do better than best would have been. If chanced to fall in love, I suppose, I’ll fall… and I don’t know if I’ll come out. When I’m asked on interviews what my weaknesses are, saying “obsession with what I’m working on”—just doesn’t do any of my attempts justice. Beyond being fixed or compulsive, by this time I’m already sure of the outcome. I give all.
I have made many mistakes, and lost much sleep over this.
To participate requires self-discipline and trust and courage, because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, how alive am I willing to be? —Lamott
I write because it makes me feel that “aliveness,” but it is lonely, and what I crave is experience and contact, to draw from. I am now alight upon a new journey. I think it will inform my writing in a terrific and mighty and even riveting way. It’s big news but I’m not ready to share it with the world yet. But I will tell you, it’s that BIG, and it makes me want to sing:
“So why does our writing matter, again?” they ask. Because of the spirit, I say. Because of the heart. Writing and reading can decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truth, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.—Lamott
Even though I’m sure it’s too late, and life has gone on—in every sense of the word gone… even as backwards and misconstrued as “text-tone, is” and the language of tears, and as many uneducated dog-faced hookers I’m sure he’s moved on to, I’m going to write it out of me because I still miss him, I still miss him, and I’ll still miss him, just a lil’ bit.
I’m in love with Daniel Pink, except he’s married. But still, it was the best 55 minutes in bed, of my life.
Laying across my duvet, laptop open… watching this video:
“A picture might be worth a thousand words, but a metaphor is often worth a thousand pictures.” -Daniel Pink
Because he started his career in law (like I was supposed to- having a 4.0 GPA most of high school and undergraduate school) and then went on to write books and become a motivational speaker, I sat back to watch him tell about his experiences with the working world. What I got from it? MFA’s and right-brained thinkers will be more valuable and less expendable to the automated world than will all of the professions that can be computerized. Aha. Creativity and outside of the box thinking is harder to cultivate, and it could be because we have been taught to think that the safest professions are the ones to shoot for. Putting food on the table is what is most important? Well, yes, and no.
I explain: For me, the most important factor in life isn’t necessarily providing for my family. Wait, for it. This is why most of the six figure incomes I know, are racking it up in psychotherapy bills for unhappiness, habits that turned into addictions, or in the middle or end of their divorces. Maybe there’s no correlation, but happiness has to have coincidence since karma is too hard to prove. Maybe it’s just my own experiences, but I find it self-soothing to go after the things you love to do— and then spend that time trying to figure out how it can make you a living. I can’t provide for my family (I now know) if I’m so depressed that I can’t get out of bed. If I am so stuck in myself with not enough free time to do what means most to me, and for me that’s writing. Again, for me, that’s spending time with myself. Then I can attempt to waveboard with my young lad. Me first, him second. Without being ok, I cannot take care of another. This applies to relationships as well.
Pink touches on the way “high-pressure environments” affect production, and how when given more freedom (such as at jobs like Google where 24 hours is given to employees to create whatever they want and present to the company the next day) more progression and discovery is made.
It is true for me and I’m sure for many that when you do things for the love of doing it, you just do it better. Everything else falls in line or doesn’t. I would have hated to have gotten that law degree when my heart is filled with words. I suppose my luck, love, and faith in if that was the right decision or not can be summed up in my borderline agnosticistic/wanderlustish behaviors and in Anne Lamott’s quote from Traveling Mercies that I am reading:
“Looking back on the God my friend believed in, he seems a little erratic, not entirely unlike her father— God as borderline personality. It was like believing in the guy who ran the dime store, someone with a kind face but who was always running behind and had already heard every one of your lame excuses a dozen times before— why you didn’t have a receipt, why you hadn’t noticed the product’s flaw before you bought it. This God could be loving and reassuring one minute, sure that you had potential, and then fiercely disappointed the next, noticing every little mistake and just in general what a fraud you really were. He was a God whom his children could talk to, confide in, and trust, unless his mood shifted suddenly and he decided to blow up Sodom and Gomorrah.”
So much actually depends on the belief you have in yourself and the way you apply yourself to what you believe in.
So thank you for following my latest obsessions that include Daniel Pink, which happens to be a name that combines one of my favorite first names and one of my favorite colors. Yes, his videos and blogcasts are witty, inspiring, and so easy to listen to. That’s all for today.