May 27, 2012 § 3 Comments
“Writers tend to work early in the morning, or late at night, when brains are naturally able to focus deeply on one thought. In the middle of the day, distractions are unavoidable. I wonder if anything worthwhile has ever been written in the afternoon.”
Definitely true for me! Mornings are, in my humble opinion, some of the best times for writing. Mornings can be the best times for anything, but there’s something about the feel of a morning that makes it perfectly suited for a writer’s work. Mornings feel solitary. They feel like our space, space where we are free to create without the rest of the world butting in. The same is true for the night-less separates us from the page when the world is asleep. Insecurity is a little less alive during these times, and creativity reigns.
My afternoons are reserved for reading. As Scott Adams said, my brain is simply too bogged down to write anything that isn’t, well, crap in the afternoon. I do, however, find that a good book and a cup of tea are totally acceptable. What do you think? Can you write any time of day? What’s your writing schedule?
May 24, 2012 § Leave a comment
In my life, I’ve experienced sadness so all-consuming, so deep, that I believed myself to be Sadness. We were One. And every morning was a fresh bruise.
I have also experienced hope. Standing by the ocean, the tide low and the sun sinking towards the earth. I knew it would rise again tomorrow. I knew I would rise again tomorrow, no matter how many times I fell.
There has been joy. The silly moments. A wild dance party, lights dim, an uproar of music and laughter. Someone grabs my hands in the dark and we twirl, and all I can see is a blur of happy.
There has been anger. Lying on the leather couch, cold and unwelcoming, and staring out at a summer day. Resting my body as it wrestled with well-known pain. Pain to which doctors shrug their shoulders. My mind a blur of Why? My temples throbbing, my pulse quickening, the tears a cry of It’s Not Fair.
When I feel, it is these blurs. In my panic, reality dissolves, replaced by that larger-than-life Terror, that overwhelming Fear. In happiness, my world slips away and all I see is Right Here, Right Now, the Wonderful. In anger, all that exists is the colors blinding my eyes and the roaring in my ears.
Feeling is a blur. Living is a blur.
But I find the worst ache is the not living, the not feeling. The confusion. The “stuck.” The tension.
Outside the blur.
Some days I walk through life and I can feel this tension in my soul. Feel it physically, as if I got mixed up in a game of tug-o-war gone wrong. I walk down the street and my throat feels constricted and my heart beats boom. boom. boom. Steady. I watch my arms swing by my sides and my feet move step after step. And I can hardly stand it. Being in reality, but being neither here nor there. Or even there. Anywhere. Feeling…nothing.
Some people describe it as “lost.” Not knowing where to go. Dreams clouded by fog, belief in self in critical condition. Staring at s sign that points down two roads.
For me, it is Tension. It is getting up and brushing my teeth and eating my breakfast and a few hours later crawling into bed. It’s a million days repeated. It is, to be quite frank, Who Am I and What The $%^ Am I Doing? It’s wishing you could break into laughter or burst into tears and instead sitting in a rocking chair. Back, forth. Back, forth. One place.
And it’s true.
Nothing could be worse.
May 2, 2012 § Leave a comment
Okay, there’s gunna be some real talk today.
Many of us are plagued with not feeling good enough. Something, somewhere within us takes everything personally, attributes every failure to some intrinsic fault and downplays every success. And I’m sick of it.
Because it’s not just the thoughts-you know, I suck, I suck, I suck on repeat for hours-it’s the exhaustion. I will actually physically tire myself out waging war with my mental assaults. I am fully trained to go at it for days, weeks, months, years. It’s amazing how I can work at building self-esteem for months and then watch it plummet in a matter of seconds. But that’s certainly how it feels. I spend days breathing through small pockets of disappointment, thinking positive thoughts, telling myself it’s not only inaccurate, it’s unfair to blame myself for everything that doesn’t work out the way it should. Then one day something hits me square in the face, and I fall flat. The thoughts come storming in, taking over and all of my carefully designed defenses are actually laughable.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, ugh.
My life path, the reason I’m on this earth feels intertwined with endless possibilities to rip myself open. The poor artist. The poor creative-minded. We all deserve some sympathy. Because really, we are screwed.
At the essence of writing, as I’ve said before, is vulnerability. When writers write, they divulge a piece of their soul. And if you write, you know that’s no exaggeration. What lingered in the dark recesses of your heart is suddenly staring at you on the page. That’s a pretty scary thing. And then, on top of that, we share that writing with others. We say, here, here’s a part of my soul, would you take a look and give me some feedback? Some constructive criticism? That’s a pretty screwed up business, if you ask me.
I’m also involved with theatre. If you have low self-esteem, it’s not the best passion to develop. Again, you make yourself vulnerable, you try your best to communicate something real and truthful, and someone literally gets to tell whether or not you’re done it well enough, if you’ve done it right. Or, if you’re too something or not something enough. Either way, something is either wrong or right, there or completely lacking. Which can certainly mess with one’s head.
Usually, I wouldn’t write about this in this manner. I would say, that thinking is too black or white. It’s not rational. It doesn’t take into account the director’s vision and all the nuances of the creative process. You don’t know what happens behind the scenes. You need to separate self-worth from this messy, complicated mess of an art form.
Today, I say screw it.
There are a couple things I’ve learned about mental health: Yes, some days you need to think positively, to stop yourself from running down a self-hate path to nowhere. But other days, you have to feel. You have to acknowledge: that disappointed me. This made me feel like crap. This made me feel like I suck. We are human beings, and we feel. We are artists, and we feel. To deny feeling denies our responsibility.
Striking a balance is key here, and it’s not something I’ve completely figured out, if I’m being honest. How do we keep our sanity, our self-esteem, our sense of worthiness and at the same time, live every day in this world, this powder keg of emotions? How do we not end up like Sylvia Plath, Vincent Van Gogh, the creative people who just couldn’t cope? Can we?
For now, my answer is: keep creating and keep breathing. Creativity takes courage, and that’s something pretty under-recognized in our society. So be brave. Some days, move on. Other days, throw things. All the time, breathe. All the time, keep going. Keep creating.