For anyone interested in the creative arts, whether writing, drawing, music, dance, theatre, there is always the dilemna between doing what's easy and makes money, and doing what one loves, even if it doesn't come without a struggle,or demands too much of our time.
For me, I decided to not write poetry for a while, and stopped even opening my journal for a long time. People ask me what I do, and I tell them I lead retreats. But recently, I realized my heart is entwined around a love affair with poems, not really a love affair, but a passionate embrace that won't let go. And it surprised me becuase I thought I had let go of it, of feeding that passion, that it had died.
I read this on a blog post from Meredith Winn, that my friend and photographer Suzy sent me a link for, and it absolutely brought tears to my eyes to see this struggle defined. She begins with talking about Elizabeth Gilbert (of EAT PRAY LOVE fame http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/) and hearing her talk about writer's block, and how doing something else for a while can be the answer, not forcing oneself to write, but gardening for example, until the Muse graces your path again. For Meredith, the other thing is photography.
" i thought i had to juggle. to hold both parts of what i am (what i’ve become most surprisingly) and figure out how to make them get along without competition. figure out how to give them both time when they dance awkwardly together (and strangely do not compliment each other as one should think they would). they fight over time. they fight over energy and emotion and brain space and blood sugar and sunlight.
"photography is easy. easy in the sense of instant gratification. easy in the sense of aesthetically pleasing. easy in the sense that it actually pays me money. it is lighthearted and beautiful and easy to be around. photography is everyone’s best friend. i have fallen quite surprisingly into this role of photographer because it comes easily.
"all the while my mind, this other side of me, the wicked darkness whispers ‘traitor’ and ‘fake’! because i know that at my most inner core, i am a writer.
"writing is not easy. it has never paid me, nor have i asked it to. it is painful and exhausting and requires so much of my time that i have been suppressing it, kicking it away with disregard. i love it and yet it itches me, mocks me, drives me forward, and is all my soul wants to do simply for the process of doing it. yet here i am, i’ve been denying it water in hopes that it just shuts the hell up and withers away. (this thing i love! this thing that is deeply a part of me. how could i be so cruel?!) i don’t want it to wither entirely. but just for now, please, because life is too full, too emotional, too much, too much. there are words i want to say, but i deny myself them. because photography is easy. and writing is not, it is something that makes me human. and most often feeling human (for me) is a momentarily painful experience." by Meredith Winn at http://meredithwinn.wordpress.com/
There is much wisdom here for me to digest. Writing is painful for me, in that, there is always a certain amount of rewriting, once the project is done, or you think it's done, then you have to go back and kill your darlings, the most precious things you've said that are just redundant, or don't fit anywhere and bog the thing down. I am working on a final draft of The Tao of Turning Fifty, and dreading cutting anymore. Dreading finding the right voice, the common tone, the unique individual 'way' of saying things that will define the book - cause it is fragmented right now, a bunch of blog posts and meandering thoughts culled together.
But I do believe there are millions of women who will thank me for it, if they can get to read it!
Onwards and upwards, my soul. Courage to retreat, and listen inwards for inspiration. The blocks are moved only inches at a time, one breath at a time, one word, one sentence, one paragraph.....courage to continue.