September 29, 2014

Creative Confusion

I am sitting at my dining room table, the dishwasher noisily swishing suds onto our dinner dishes. My daughter's cough echoes down the stairs. The light above the table is bright, and I feel under interrogation. I am writing without an urge to write. I just deleted the previous title of the blog, which read "My other half" because I think that's perhaps just something to keep in my journal and not share with the world. After deleting that title, and the accompanying 2 sentences, I sat here a few moments wondering what to write about.
"Mom, can you help me?" my son's deepening voice is not calling from upstairs.
"Honey, should we discuss vacation plans?" my spouse is not asking for any attention either. The cat is fed, Gray's Anatomy over, and there is nothing but doubt and indecision between me and the rest of this white page.

This hardly ever happens.

I accomplished so much today. I even painted. What?!
Yes, and went for a long walk. What!?
Did you notice that I reversed the ! and the ?

There is something about the beginning of autumn that makes me want to crawl back inside myself and find a deep dark warm sauna to float motionless in until the sun begins to shine again.  There's something restless under my skin right now, something that keeps pushing at me to 'do it' to 'break free' to pick a fight, to be a shark. It's raining hard outside. The song "I can't stand the rain, against my window" shows how young I am. My kids won't even have heard of this song. My university students are the same age as my oldest daughter. That means that I am getting older. I lose focus at times. Other times I can concentrate and complete projects in the flash of an eye. I can be extremely efficient, but I can't remember when I was extremely efficient lately.

Is it age or the godforsaken internet that is robbing me of my youthful energy and concentration? There is so much to do - online - that existing in the real world seems so dull in comparison. So slow.

Today, on my walk, through the neighborhood and briefly through the forest, I managed to whatsapp with my sister who lives somewhere else in the world, to answer a few people on Facebook and to take some pictures. I told myself I should look around me, smell the damp leaves resting in the warming mud, and look at the grey green water of the lake. I took a picture of the waterlilies. As I did this, I worried, just for a moment, that my phone might fall into the water. It didn't fall. I thought about taking another picture, when suddenly, out of the blue, the battery gave up the ghost.

Oh good, I thought, now I can finally enjoy my walk. Which I did, looking around me, left and right, up at the sun slanting through the trees, at the forest gardener (who pays him? I wondered) who was cutting the long reeds next to the water. I thought about how my spouse has the same grass cutter - the noisy kind that you wear attached to your body as a kind of harness and spin your body left and right with a flexible blade to cut the long grass. For a moment, his blade dipped into the water splashing water at him, and he, surprised, backed up a few inches. He looked up as I passed, and I smiled. But he didn't smile back. And that was okay.

Later, I painted the waterlilies, after panicking that I had run out of watercolor paper. How does an artist, writer, teacher, workshop giver, creative person with tons of art supplies in her house manage to run out of paper? I found a
half of a page that had a small scribble on one side. I turned it over and painted, while listening to music. It was an hour of bliss.

The dishwasher isn't swishing any more. Now it's filling up again, perhaps rinsing? My daughter is still coughing from time to time. It's a dry cough, and I wish I could help her, but all I can do is empathize.  My son is out of the shower. Soon, he may call me for a good night kiss. I'm still allowed to do that. Maybe not for long. The house is very quiet. The page is filled. The inner critic says it may be rather disjointed. It may not be a piece worth publishing. And yet, this is my state of mind. My slice of tonight's who I am. My other half, after all.

September 21, 2014

Am I a Hypocrite?

I pose this question to myself, as I sit in my house on a sunny Sunday, still in my pyjamas, working a little - sitting in the sun a bit, reading Facebook messages a LOT as well as Twitter. Social media takes up too much of my time, I think.  But it's SUNDAY! True, true, it is Sunday. And yet, I have deadlines to meet, things to do, responsibilities!

I wonder - what is it that I really want to do right now? I have just signed up to a group called "10 minute writers," and feel a bit hypocritical because I haven't written anything in what seems like ever so long, apart from the writeup of my dreams in my journal. And tomorrow is BlogMonday or something like that... So, am I now writing so I'll have something to show? Or because I want to write? Why do I want to write anyway? Is it to become famous? Because it's a childhood dream I have that I still haven't let go? Could it be that some people might enjoy what I write, or even connect with it? Do I feel the muse or a calling?

Where loneliness appeared, was felt, and got away...
Obviously, there are more questions than answers, but what I can say is this: Last night I was home alone, in a quiet, tidy house, having made a good dinner for myself and having entertained myself with a good book and later with a fun TV series. And the muse came up and took hold of me. I had it - I had a beautiful poetic first sentence of something good. It was about Loneliness... I felt empty and bereft. My kids had gone to their Dad's house for the week, and my better half was away for a couple of days. I realized that I was touching some raw emotion, feeling it, like sinking bare feet into oozy soft mud on a warm day. And at that time, late last night,  I had the words to describe this feeling - but what did I do with those words? I let them linger in the air around me, like the faint whiff of perfume of the woman passing me on her bike last week, where I wanted to enjoy the scent just a few moments longer, but could not. I let the words fall, smash, disintegrate... and now they are gone. We will never know what loneliness really felt like to me last night. I lost the opportunity to put them down on paper, or on computer, or anywhere. They are gone.

And this is why I feel like a hypocrite. Because I spend so much time on Social Media - or reading books that friends and various amazing authors have written, admiring their craft, and yet, when the muse hits me, what do I do ? I let it go, pass me by.

I am the one who works as a coach, telling my clients to set their goals and encouraging them to set them higher and more specific and to write them down. But where are my goals? "I wanna write a book someday," is not exactly a SMART goal, now, is it?  How will I ever get there if I don't start writing now, today, everyday, at least for those 10 minutes or especially when the moment of creativity hits me and tickles and demands like "I dream of Genie" to be let out of the bottle!

Yes, it's the weekend. Time to rest and recuperate from the stresses of a busy week. Or is it? Or is life too short to be spent lazing around in pyjamas watching TV and reading other people's ideas and thoughts on Facebook? Is the weekend the time to get up, get dressed, get out there and create and walk in the forest and post a new blog and work on the juicy stuff that makes the day to day life so much more meaningful?

I think I have my answer. And I've written now for at least 10 minutes. So, I am happy. I even plan to get showered and maybe, just maybe, take myself out for a walk on this almost autumn, but still sunny day.