Some days are less joyful.
Bad night’s sleep.
Fifth rainy day in a row.
Every day is not a green screen of Mary Poppins animation where flowers come to life.
Some days are one minute after the next.
And you get through them
One minute after the next.
And somehow, something like joy returns.
Maybe it’s curiosity
Or that simple wondering
what’s going to happen next
So you’re distracted away from the drudgery
the plodding forward
for a minute
You make friends with these less joyful days
They become familiar
You begin to trust their comings
As you do
This is stupid.
Does the world really need another word
That’s all it is: a thought. one crappy little thought cluster ready to derail the whole operation.
Hello there, crappy little thought.
You are part of the writing deal.
I can’t imagine you not showing up at least once
during any creative endeavor.
I could say, Fuck off.
But what would be the point?
I can’t imagine you not showing up.
So…Hello there, crappy little thought.
Nice to see you are alive and kicking.
I’m going to keep going
Even though you are giving me that practically famous squinty-eyed look:
You better stop
No one cares
Yeah, I’m gonna keep going and see what happens.
Those little tangerines you’re supposed to put in your kids lunches
Who named them?
Some farmer fooling around in the barn.
“Hmm, what would happen if I stuck this branch on this tree?”
When it took, the goat Clementine wandered in and she—farmers can be she’s you know—said, “Hey Clementine, look, I think this is gonna work.” When it did, she named the little orbs after that goat who was the only creature who didn’t abandon her in all of her crazy years of grafting and late night wizardry. Everyone else did. Until she became a gazillionaire and then they all came running. Yeah, that old story. She didn’t know what to do with all that attention. It was discomforting. She told all the people (family, let’s face it, people claim bloodlines when there is money involved) how she was feeling. That made them uncomfortable. SO uncomfortable they called her names and gossiped about how she was crazy and selfish and money deranged. Yup that’s the next plot line isn’t it? Putting away the crazy rich aunt. But it didn’t happen. Why? Because the judge, the one who could have signed the order, he (yes, it was guy judge.) loved goats. He knew that Clementine came from a family of goats on his farm and that family was solid. No goat from that family would ever put their trust in a crazy human.
(Ten minutes. The prompt was ‘orange.’)
What would happen if the news about rejections, bad sales, crappy reviews was simply that: news?
What if I didn’t make it mean anything?
I’m a bad writer
I’m not successful
I’m not smart enough
I’m not good enough
I can’t do it
I shouldn’t do it
I’ll never be
Holy crap. That’s quite a rabbit hole. But that’s exactly what it feels like when something happens which isn’t a yes. Bam. I am scampering down that rabbit hole, cowering, hiding wishing I could be be better, successful, smarter, etc. You get the idea.
So what would happen if I didn’t go down the rabbit hole? What would happen if that response wasn’t my go to response. What would happen if I could hear publishing events as the facts that they are and leave all my ascriptions of meaning aside? What would happen if the act of writing was simply that: Me writing. Me exploring. Me discovering. Me figuring out the next scene. The next chapter. Without the baggage of: this had better be good enough to turn the tide of publishing and my own self worth.
Yeah. That’s what I’m up to here. Unhooking the old neural pathways of making (positive and negative) meanings out of every little thing that happens around writing and landing in the discovery of me inventing a world on the page.
I am beginning the year with an inquiry into joy. Specifically joy in my writing.
Last year, the joy dribbled out of me. Let’s just say some things happened and gradually, writing began to feel like a duty. A have-to. A if-I-don’t, I-won’t-be me-and-I-may-as-well-die feeling. It was terrible. I dreaded sitting down to face the blank page. Too much was riding on the words.
I know a bit about why it was happening and I will get into in later posts. Maybe. But for now, I am announcing my inquiry into joy. What will it be? Showing up here every day for ten to fifteen minutes and connecting with the freedom of writing. For me.
Why here? Where it can be read by anyone? Well, it makes me take the sitting down and doing it a bit more seriously. That’s all.
Have I experienced joy while writing? Yes. Absolutely. I love the experience of creating a character and having them explain their world to me. I love explaining the world to myself. I love revealing self to self and self to other.
Also, a little over two years ago, I fell in love. Slowly and madly. It was delicious. It began by writing. Every day for four months. I couldn’t wait to sit down at the page and share secrets, memories and stories. That was joy. And when I wasn’t at the page, I was writing in my head. That was joy. Every minute at the page (and not) was joy.
At the end of those four months, we kissed.
That was a different kind of joy.