I’m sitting down to write without really knowing what’s going to come out. I’m doing this because I tend to obsess over what I should write about, and whether I can carry through the thought to the end, and whether anyone will get what I’m trying to say, and whether what I write will sound like just so much metaphysical/spiritual drivel. Who wants to read this stuff, anyway? And, of course, all this fretting keeps me from writing. (I’m sure plenty of you out there are nodding your heads, being well acquainted with this state.)
On the other hand, I’ve always done well with assignments and deadlines. When I was the dance writer for a weekly publication here in NC, I was invited to participate in the American Dance Festival’s Dance Critics Conference. The format for the conference was that we would attend performances by modern dance companies from all over the world, then immediately return to a room full of computers and write our reviews in the space of an hour and a half or so.
When I learned this, I panicked. After all, I’d only been doing this for a year and a half, and I’d pretty much lucked into the job, and I was used to writing for a weekly. I was used to having a LOT of time to edit and rework what I wrote. What the hell would my reviews be like with only an hour and a half to complete them? Continue reading
I can’t seem to get my thoughts together enough these days to write anything coherent about what I’ve been going through lately, so there are a number of unfinished drafts in my posts folder. Perhaps time and distance will provide clarity and insight and the ability to communicate the jumble of events and emotions that have marked the past year, especially the past three or four months, but it’s not going to happen any time soon. I’ve only recently accepted this as being what is and stopped beating myself up for it.
In fact, acceptance of what is seems to be the task in front of me right now. It’s not that I’ve stopped envisioning what I want. I’ve been doing that for some time now, and still do. However, a big part of my struggles of late has been my disappointment that what I’ve envisioned isn’t exactly what’s materialized.
But that’s a subject for another post.
As has always been the case with me, I often look to others to find the words that will express what I want to express or the words that will inspire some shift in my head and my heart. Searching out and sharing the words of others has been a huge part of this blog from the beginning, and in spite of the short circuit in my own head that’s keeping me from writing about my stuff, I’ve managed to continue to post quotes du jour and other articles and readings by writers whose work I admire.
This has been my way of heeding the words of Bhagavan Das, “Be here now” (which inspired the book by Ram Dass). If I can’t write, at least I can continue to share the writing of others. It is what it is. Be here now. Continue reading
I had a great idea for a new book, although come to think of it, maybe it is just a Facebook post. But it would be called Pre First Draft, and address the way we suit up and show up to be writers, artists, and general tribal-two-stomp creative types.
I think it would begin with an admonition: if you used to love writing, painting, dancing, singing, whatever, but you stopped doing it when you had kids or began a strenuous career, then you have to ask yourself if you are okay about not doing it anymore.
If you always dreamed of writing a novel or a memoir, and you used to love to write, and were pretty good at it, will it break your heart if it turns out you never got around to it? If you wake up one day at eighty, will you feel nonchalant that something always took precedence over a daily commitment to discovering your creative spirit?
If not—if this very thought fills you with regret—then what are you waiting for?
Back in the days when I had writing students, they used to spend half their time explaining to me why it was too hard to get around to writing every day, but how once this or that happens—they retired, or their last kid moved out—they could get to work.
I use to say very nicely, “That’s very nice; but it’s a total crock. Continue reading
Writing and reading 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 truths, 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.
~Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
I still find myself in a place of pushing words away. I’ve done no writing to speak of, and I keep setting books aside unless they speak of the things for which words are hard to find. I’ve done a lot of walking lately, and I’ve found myself turning to music instead of books, especially the kind of music that grabs you by the heart and reaches into your soul, into the places that have no words. I’m feeling for feelings, for magic and wonder, for parts of me that have been covered up for a long time and for reasons no longer important. I’m often solitary these days, yet somehow feel more connected than ever to the world and the people around me. I feel joy and contentment and peace and love a lot of the time, which is a new—and lovely—way of being for me. Most importantly, I’m glad to be here, exactly where I am, eager for what’s around the corner, even though I have no idea what’s ahead on my path.
Thank you, dear readers and friends, for traveling with me as I find my way. I wish you joy and peace and contentment and love, too. Namaste.
I have no idea what I’m going to write here, but I’m determined to write something and actually post it, so I figured I’d just start and see what happened.
I’ve started lots of posts the last few months, but none of them have really gone anywhere, and frankly, I haven’t really had a great desire to write. Lately, I’ve been thinking about that, and what I’ve come up with is that I’m currently in a phase of taking in information, absorbing new ideas and new ways of seeing, and going through a difficult-to-articulate internal shift.
You know how when you’re learning something new, and you’re getting it, it’s sinking in, but you’re not at a place where you can put that information back out yet? Or when you come up with the seeds of a brilliant idea, and you know it will work, but you have no idea how, so you still have to figure that out, and until you do, you really can’t talk about it because you know people would look at you like you’re crazy? That’s kind of where I am right now. It’s an interesting place to be—fun and exciting, but a little strange, too, because I have no idea how it’s all going to turn out.
And yet…I’m okay with the uncertainty. I’m okay with not knowing. And I’m confident that it’s all going to work out. I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but I know it’s going to be okay.
And now I’m going to hit Publish.
Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson
It never even crossed my mind when I started a blog that awards might be a part of it, so I was completely unprepared the first time one of my fellow bloggers kindly nominated me for one. The idea still makes me a little uncomfortable. Surprising, perhaps, in light of my theatre and dance background…I shouldn’t mind a little attention, right? But the fact is that I’ve never been good at blowing my own horn. I’ve always danced or sung or designed or written mostly because I love it, and the doing of those things is a reward in itself. I love creating beauty and bringing joy and making magic and shining a little light in the world, and if others like what I do, that’s great. Just knowing that makes me happy enough.
Although I do talk about myself and about things that happen to me in some of my blog posts, I don’t really see pathwriter as being about me. Continue reading
When we are at zero, we have to start somewhere, and perhaps the sanest, best, and surest place to start is with the eye of the beholder. We are in a certain place at a certain time and we feel a certain way about it. Let’s start here. That means put the pen to the page and write about the exact moment and place where you find yourself. Take an inventory of what surrounds you and what you feel about that. This is a starting-off place.
…We do not arrive willy-nilly at point zero. We arrive there a choice at a time, a degree at a time, as we make little or less than we should of a growing discomfort. We get along without what we love the way camels get along without water—not forever, but for a very long time. And then, one day, we are thirsty and what we crave is water, real water, a pure infusion of something that matches what our body and soul are authentically craving. Continue reading
There are times when you need to step back and just settle, allowing yourself to absorb and sort all of the events out there and the thoughts in here that have been swirling around and demanding your attention and keeping you from seeing and hearing the really important stuff. To paraphrase a quote I posted a while back, it’s important to balance all the doing with some time for just being. Continue reading
Such simple words! But words are mighty things;
They cast us down, or lift us up to rest;
They charm and strengthen, till our angel sings
The last of all the life-songs, and the best.
~Sarah Doudney, Some Words
Words have always held great power for me. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been transported by words magically strung together into stories and poems and plays and songs. The right words, stumbled across at the right time, have comforted me in difficult times and galvanized me in better times, but mostly they’ve simply touched my heart or made me think.
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably figured out that I’m a fan of quotations. Continue reading