Thursday, July 21, 2011

"We both know that I’m training to be a cagefighter."

A few suns ago, I told you how I read a beautiful blog post that stirred up the latent writer in me, bringing her the surface, ravenous after a too-long hibernation.

In short, I had writer's envy, induced by turns of phrase so elegant and easy, they made the entire attempt seem effortless.

The latency of my single tried and true artistic talent is sufferable. Poor words!

That day, the thoughts just tumbled and twisted, no one thought extracting itself into form or feeling. Instead, I felt everything at once, which, at first blush, is an affliction ripe with possibility, but results ultimately in the confusion of a failed bloom.

That night, I visited the website gallery of a friend I met on my mission. (Do you know the joy that is the rediscovery of a kindred spirit?) I read an article in which he was interviewed, then asked him to be my social network friend. "Do you realize how enchanted your life is?" I wanted to implore. "You have a life other people envy, you know!" is what I wanted to say. I refrained on both counts. (No matter. As it turns out, he does know.)

What my inquiring mind really wanted to know is whether he had suffered for his art. If he, upon being questioned, might wistfully recount years of struggle - perhaps even of pauperism - to get where he is now.

I think also of Ray Bradbury, who, in the prologue of my go-to summer read "Dandelion Wine", speaks of doing writing exercises every day for twelve years (!) in order to recreate the intricate world he seems so freshly to have opened up and poured into those pages. He tells how he drove himself over and back over the experiences of his childhood, trying to perfect the smell, the feel, the urgency and reality of the summer a twelve-year-old boy first realizes he's Alive.

The sum of these thoughts makes me wonder what it really takes, and makes me fear what I might have to trade in the name of my desired craft.

It all makes me feel like a hunted gazelle, confused in the chase and uncertain whether to see the safety of solitude or the refuge of Art.

For, art truly is a refuge for my soul. And my neglected craft - the piece of myself I lay so idly by when life gets busy or hectic or seemingly too mundane or uninspiring for words - is what leaves me soul sick and searching.

And so begs the question "What would I give?" I do not wish to be an erstwhile writer. Nor do I really desire to be "published" in the traditional sense. Bonus? Absolutely. But not essential.

No. What I earnestly wish for is to find peace with this art, this craft, these words. But I've not a clue in which valley or clime this reclusive peace makes its home. . . or how to attempt my pilgrimage there.

A night's sleep.

Then, rising as the morning sun, a new thought into my head: take the writing books I've spend years "investing" in, select 4 - one for each week - and for 30 straight days? Write! Every day.

The single bit of trouble in all this is that I was just on the verge of committing myself to a fitness regimen and now feel in a quandary over which to throw my al dente self at, hoping I'll stick. (Gazelle here, hello!)

The answer is. . . I will simply have to find a way to do everything. The trouble is, I know me. And "Everything" is much too large a beast to cup in my smallish, two-handed grasp.

And so, Balance - which I am ever seeking but only intermittently finding (much like Peace that way, Balance is) - must be my goal. Nay, my ally.

Writing daily is the goal. With Balance as my ally.

Time to test the ol' mettle, as it were. I tend to go through these creative bursts periodically, the writer in me breaking free, petulant and angry at having been held hostage. The initial burst then recedes back to the land where Occasion and Caprice hold up my writing with nothing more than a thumb and forefinger shaped to look like a pistol. (The proof is in the pudding, is how the old saying goes? It's all there in my archives.)

Is the intensity of thought, of feeling too much to handle on a full-time basis? Is it really all or nothing with me?

And if not, exactly what shade of gray should I be training my eyes to see?

[Title quote is from "Napoleon Dynamite"]

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