Nanowrimo is upon us. Well, it’s upon me, and I like to think that we’re all in this together, even though I know it’s just me and my cats. Well, at least one of the cats. The other one doesn’t give a shit.
I’m alway mid-novel when the inspiration for the next one comes, and it’s always different. No formula, no easy way to plot it, just a story and characters that poke their heads out from behind the curtain of my overactive imagination and dance naked across the stage, strategically covering their most interesting bits.
I have yet to hear the countdown of my editing wrestling match with my novel from last year, but I’m planning a giant flying pile driver from the top rope to finally stun that thing into submission. Yes, it’s starting to feel like an opponent, and I’m not about to let it pin my creative shoulders to the mat.
It sounds aggressive, but I have to be. With enthusiastic characters waiting in the wings, I don’t have time to mess around with it any more. I need to make friends with my new folks. The ones that seem kinda normal, but lead extraordinary lives.
My next novel is about choice, surrender vs. giving up, contentment vs. greed, and the different ways in which passion manifests as we stride through mid-life. I hope that you will see yourself in my every-woman characters, laugh, cry (maybe not so much), and gasp at the ending.
To all of my fellow Nanowrimo authors, I hope that your prep time is as lush with new character creations as mine is.
All of it. I want to get my hands mucky and dirty and calloused and spend my time doing aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllll of it.
Or at least pulling myself out of a career of death and dying. Not completely of course. I mean, I’m in my forties for goodness-sake! I’d be foolish to leave the stability of a pension and good benefits (not to mention an awesome team of colleagues). this I know to be true, and we (you know who you are ladies) need something else. Something that we can find joy in which allows us to sip from the spiritual fountain of youth, or make a few extra bucks to fund what we would all like to become our annual Central-American-Beach-Rehab. Ok, that’s my dream, but I’m sure you have your own.
Being creative is generally frowned upon in our culture. Go out of the house with wild hair? Wear something unique? Sing your way through the work day? Yah, not so cool, and possibly a good way to have yourself committed.
I think most women at my stage go through this. Whether you live in a hovel or a palace, life becomes routine. There is comfort in routine, but there is also stagnation. We become sexless, and our femininity is starved. Being spiritually and emotionally vibrant goes a long way toward health.
My daily challenge is to let-it-go.
Letting go of all of the time-gobblers that suck the life out of me.
The time we’re not at work too often becomes perfecting the comforting space of domesticity. Food prep, folding laundry, tidying up; It’s become the hole in my spiritual bucket. Yours may be binge-watching, trashy novels or napping.
Let me be clear. Our need to create is not a whimsy, or modern construct. There is evidence of creativity dating as far back as our human history. It is part of our essence.
My need to create is always there though, simmering under the surface, sometimes boiling over and making the kind of mess that anything repressed tends to do. Goodness knows I don’t need any more messes to tidy up.
I will continue my daily struggle to find balance between being a responsible adult and a wild-at-heart free-spirit, why don’t you join me?
Let yourself transform into the creative goddess that you are; let your hair grow, buy the funky jacket, relax into comfortable flip flops, and damn it, spend time in the comfortable, wild space of creativity.
I sailed away to China, in a little row boat to find ya….
If you’re a child of the 80’s, you just sang that didn’t you?
Anyway, last night I had a dream. I really do have the strangest dreams, and I pay attention to them.
If I really took the time to listen to the quiet whispering of my dreams and intuition, I’d likely be a lot happier. Since most people consider me some kind of weird genius twist on a Buddhist-suit-wearing-hippie-mortician, it’s surprising that I don’t do more crazy stuff.
I pay a whole lot more attention to my intuition than the average fabulous man or woman. I make a lot of decisions based on what feels right, and they usually turn out to be exactly the right thing.
Most people see the world in black and white, right and wrong. Sometimes things are that simple, but most of the time they’re not. We only like those kind of definites because our wee little human brains need to compartmentalize in order to keep us relatively sane.
Those of us with creative spirits and open hearts who actually care about the quality of life rather than the quantifiable materialism that seems to define what is normal, know that we live within the gray, and that black and white are merely the adult security blankies of our fragile psyches.
A few weeks ago, as I was tromping my way up a staircase in high heels and freshly dry-cleaned suit, feeling like death’s older, much more sinister big sister, I thought, “I can’t do this any more”.
Then guess what I did my sweet little peaches? Did I drop to my knees in tears? Did I pack up my big, black briefcase and hand in my name badge? Did march through the office with a bass drum singing, “I quit”? No. I did none of those things. I didn’t even collapse and wave a metaphorical white flag.
Instead, I laughed. Out loud.
I laughed because immediately after I told myself, ” I can’t do this any more”, I immediately thought, “You don’t have to”. That’s what made me laugh.
That crazy well-informed and well schooled voice deep down inside my crazy-wild-woman soul was exactly right.
We always, always, always have a choice. The choices may not be ideal, or the stuff of your favourite fairytale, but we always have a choice.
Since then I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where I want to steer this crazy bus of a life. I haven’t made a list of pro’s and con’s. I haven’t loaded up on self-help books and popular psycho-babble poo-ha.
I have let the uncertainty roam freely about in the glorious unknown corners of my human spirit. Eventually something will come to light out of the darkness, and I will be off in what will likely be an unexpected direction to an unknown destination. It is after all, about the journey folks.
I don’t know when, I don’t know how, what, where, or if anyone will accompany me. I just know that it will happen.
So, last night I had this dream, and it was a weird one, fueled by a late dinner, wine, vampire stories and a fever. But I trust it. I bother with it. I consider it, look up the meaning of elements that make up the whole, and I learn what my soul is trying so hard to to tell me.
Shhh. If you listen, you’ll know what to do next. I promise sweetheart, I promise.
You all know by now that I adore my time spent at the local art gallery.
I have been blessed by the art gods, or pan-sexual-life-affirming gods (whomever inspires you my darlings), to live near a world-class gallery.
I spend many a Sunday afternoon sipping wine in the member’s lounge, chatting to fellow artists, wanna-be artists, or perhaps just myself, Moleskine and smooth writing pen in hand.
Some days I write pages, and other days the page holds out its fabulously, gnarled hand and won’t let me write a damn thing.
Most of all, beyond my nine-to-five life, the gallery feeds the flame of my creativity.
The art feeds my imagination, and what, pray tell, my sweet, tender ,figs, would an artist be without imagination?
My top ten fantasies inspired by the AGO
1) I finally find that flowing scarf that never snags, flops into my soup, or makes my voluptuous ass look big. I also find the perfect sexy boot that doesn’t make me sound like a Clydesdale clopping across the sacred silence of gallery space.
2) I am bent over the knee of Rodin’s Adam, being shagged mercilessly by a very determined lover. He must be virile and skilled enough to finish the entire job before we get tossed out of my Eden of art forever. Preferably he speaks no English. Better yet, he doesn’t speak at all.
3) All of the books that whet my insatiable appetite for the exchange of ideas are priced reasonably, and I meet a man across the crowded, over-priced gift shop who is as hungry for intellectually stimulating intimacy as I am. (Hopefully this one speaks English, but with a sexy Irish brogue, or French yum-yum-accent).
I’m afraid that sums it up. I know lovey, I know, I did say there were ten fantasies, but I can’t share the rest with you. I’m saving them for someone special.
The gallery inspires me to creative, lustful, philosophy. It’s as simple as that. The other seven fantasies are for that yummy man, whom I meet as he sizes up my books and I size up his, er, um….anyway, our, eyes lock across the crowded bookstore/coffee shop/gallery/coat check/gate/pub/studio, and I know he’s the lucky one.