Honestly, I can’t remember if I dreamt this up or not, but recently I was asked the formidable question: “So, what do you do?” As in: “What do you do for money?” “How can your lifestyle benefit mine?” “Is your life better than mine?” “Let me value you based on your response.” And I stumbled. I actually stumbled with the words, paused, and stared at the floor. “I write,” I said. It wasn’t a defiant statement such as “I’m a writer.” No. This was meek and casual, and when I said it, felt like a lie.
“Do I even consider myself a writer anymore?” I thought. Is it fair to say I am a writer when I haven’t put pen to paper or typed something creative in what seems like, and quite realistically might be, two years? In that moment of being asked the question “so, what do you do,” it would appear that I was, in fact, not writer anymore.
Yet, here I am, typing out a new blog entry. Something I haven’t done since June 2014. I’m writing because it is what I do. It’s just not something I’ve practiced for quite some time. So please forgive me for being a little rusty at this, I’m slowly getting back to work.
Because, that is what this is: work.
Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear: “Work with all your heart, because - I promise - if you show up for your work day after day after day after day, you just might get lucky enough some random morning to burst right into bloom.” I’ve actually been reading her book since September of last year, and am a little more than halfway done at this point. It’s not a hard read. Well it is and it isn’t. It’s a quick read but challenging for me because all she says hits way too close to home for me on many levels.
I’ve been struggling a lot for quite some time. I don't even know how to go into the details of that yet, but I am starting to get better. I started seeing a therapist recently, got back into my yoga practice, and journaled once last week. I truly wish I could explain how things fell apart for me and why suddenly I feel like I’m coming back together as a whole person. I’m sure I’ll delve into it further as I continue to write more. But for now, I want to focus on, well, the now.
Earlier, I caught a glimpse of this speech by Peter Dinklage that’s been surfing around the interweb a lot tonight.
"I waited a long time out in the world before I gave myself permission to fail. Please don't even bother asking. Don't bother telling the world you are ready. Show it. Do it."
I don't know why this clip is circulating tonight of all nights since it was released back in 2012, but it's clearly something a lot of us need to hear right now. What I do know is that it seems strange that I heard his words the day after I finished reading the “Permissions” section in Big Magic in which Elizabeth Gilbert says "You do not need a permission slip from the principal's office to live a creative life." (She italicized those words, not me.) Now, it just might be coincidence, this idea of permission floating around, but as The Alchemist is my favorite book of all time, I'm a much stronger believer in the Universe lining things up rather than just random acts coming together. But again, it could just be the timing of all these things. (It's the Universe, slapping me across the face, telling me to get my shit together, I tell you!)
To back my Universe theory even further, last night as I was reading (surprise, surprise) Big Magic, I came across the chapter “Radiation Canaries,” which references a 30 Rock episode I know far too well. Lo and behold, while reading it, I had 30 Rock paused in the background, circling that very episode. Blamo! Synchronicity. (The Universe).
So, I'm getting back to work, because I feel like things keep telling me to do that. For far too long, I've been stuck in this complaining rut of how I want to write, but can't. "It's too hard," I would say. "I don't have the right words." "I would rather not." But it's exactly what I need to be doing. I know this to be true. I might be full of a lot of theories, but that isn't one of them. Writing is what I'm meant to do with my life. It's just sometimes easier to run away and hide from it (because then I don't have to deal with things I know I need to write about). But I'm choosing the creative life. Here and now. This is my declaration.
I will be showing up to work (write) every day. I will also be issuing out a newsletter once a month, which will include highlights from my blog, updates on projects I'm working on, and inspiring words that motivate me. I invite you to follow along.