This week a lot of my writing energy has been diverted into structuring my book. . . I think I have a structure down, be it nonconventional, so now I get to start shaping it into a unit . . . this stuff is exciting. . . I”ll keep you posted. (Apologies to Becca for not following her prompt this week – perhaps on Saturday I’ll get that response up).
Since I’ve finished Fruitflesh, I needed a new writing book for my morning practice. Never fear, I have a LOT of writing books (can anyone relate?) . . . so I chose, somewhat at random, Brenda Ueland’s If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence, and Spirit. . . it’s not really a book of prompts or even tips, but instead, Ueland is about the process of inspiration . . . and I find her writing compelling and very meaningful for me at this point in my life.
Here’s a section from the chapter I read today:
I have proved to you [in her first chapter] that you are all original and talented and need to let it out of yourselves; that is to say, you have the creative impulse. But the ardor for it is inhibited and dried up by many things; as I said by criticism, self-doubt, duty, nervous fear which expresses itself in merely external action like running up and downstairs and scratching items off lists and thinking you are being efficient; by anxiety about making a living, by fear of not excelling. . . .
I tell you all this because I hope to prove to you the importance of your working at writing, at some creative thing you care about. Because only if I can make you feel that, will you do it and persist in it. And not only for the next few weeks! I want you to do it for years to come, all your life!
We have come to think that duty should come first. I disagree. Duty should be a by-product. Writing, the creative effort, the use of the imagination, should come first, – at least for some part of every day of your life. It is a wonderful blessing if you will use it. You will become happier, more enlightened, alive, impassioned, light-hearted and generous to everybody else.
Amen to that, I say!! This is exactly what I know to be true. All of us were created by an imaginative Creator who has given us that same energy to create ourselves. So often I am tamped down by duty and obligation that I forget what true joy is . . . I wonder what we would be like if we all lived our joy, followed our bliss as Joseph Campbell used to say. Would we have less war? Less suffering? Is this our true fallen state – did we choose the forbidden fruit not out of curiosity but because we pursued something other than our true joy?
I see this dampened creativity in my students who feel like it’s so important to get things right, to prove themselves worthy. This semester, I’m spending a lot of time in my creative writing course trying to get the students (and myself) to slow down and just be. . . breath . . . find our creative cores . . . They seem to be enjoying it, and so am I . . .
So today, I challenge you – follow your bliss, spark your creativity, free yourself a little from the fetters of duty, and really live.