Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Essay 25: The Halfway Point

(You're probably wondering: how did we get from Essay 21 to 25? The ones in between are half-baked essays. Which may or may not get finished. But they're not far enough along to share. Still marinating... which is what this essay is about. :) )

There's a lot of blank space here. What to do with it? Hmm...

I’ve been sitting in my studio for the past six hours or so. Sitting here, stuck. Not knowing what to do. I started at my desk and sat there, thinking about where to begin today. 

I woke up this morning with a sore throat and so took Day 1 of my “3-day regimen” of vitamins to battle the early stages of whatever this might be (extra Vitamin A, D3, C, MSM, Omega 3). I then did my usual yoga and meditation practice, but felt run-down while doing it. So, after a little bite of breakfast, I took a nap, in my studio where there is a comfy couch. Yes, a mid-morning nap. Whoever heard of such a thing? Me. That’s who. Me who listens to this body. But because I know there is some work to be done, I set my alarm. When the alarm went off, I’ll admit that I had difficulty getting up. There’s listening to your body and then there’s just giving in to laziness. How to tell the difference? I’ll let you know when I find out. Haha!

I forced myself to my desk. But not before making a fresh cup of green tea.

And then I sat.

I stared into space. I stared at my computer screen. I stared at the yellow notepad next to it. I looked over at the architect table where I’ve spread out my manuscript-in-progress and just stared. Zoned out.

I took a sip of tea.

I checked FB.

I thought about reading one of the many essays I have open in the millions of tabs on my browser, but didn’t feel like it. (Most of them have to do with suicide, Anthony Bourdain, sexual violence – you know, light subjects. :p)

I was looking for something to get the juices going. I emailed a poet-friend for some help. (Still waiting to hear back.)

I thought about reading some poetry. I brought plenty of books with me. But nothing is calling me right now, nothing is speaking to me.

I texted a couple of people. One was personal, another was business. I chatted online with another friend for a few minutes (which felt like a welcome break from so much of my focus on getting some work done).

I cut up some paper, hoping that a physical act will get me going (the intention is to collage).  It's times like these when I am envious of visual artists. From where I stand, they seem more willing to experiment and play with creative vision. The physical manifestation of their art looks like fun. Also, they seem to be better at letting go and trusting the process, even if it means failure, even if it means their installation is temporary. For me, it seems like they are more willing to go all out and are less attached to the outcome. (Hey, visual artists friends! Can you vouch for this? I'm curious.)

The paper strips are scattered on the floor. I don’t know what to do with them. Yet.

I made a mug of warm lemon water and took some Excedrin. A headache has been lingering since late morning.

I bumped into my friend in the hallway while I was filling the hot pot with water for my mug. We chatted for a minute. He was the first human being I’ve seen and interacted with all day. It was nice. He asked to borrow markers. I gave them to him. Then I thought: maybe I should try some meditative coloring (I do have my coloring book & gel pens here).

Which brings us to now. I am writing this because I want to demystify the creative process. Not just for my readers (hello, out there!) but also as a reminder to myself that writing isn’t always putting the actual pen to paper. Time is needed for composting as well. I’ve done a lot of work to fill the creative well (visits to Mass MoCA, lots of yoga at a new studio, long hikes alone, baking –have I told you that the kitchen is my second studio??-- chatting with the local bookstore employees, knitting with strangers in public –heck, just knitting!) and now it all needs to compost. To marinate and digest and integrate. Which is hard for me to honor because I know that my time here at Millay Colony is limited –and being here is such a gift!—but I also know that one cannot force the creative process. I need to remind myself to be gentle. To allow the flow of life to move as it will. And to disregard the voice of the ego, which rambles on about imaginary deadlines and producing a “product” (damn you, capitalism!). It’s just tough when I know I’m at the halfway point and I don’t have much to show for my time here in terms of “product” (*cringe*).

So, this is what I will do to address this issue: I will do the ego-changing Kundalini meditation tonight and every night that I am here in the hopes that I can diminish that voice and amplify the voice of my true Self. And continue to move in the ways that I am guided. If that means baking more treats, then so be it! :)

1 comment: