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Friday, October 7, 2016

"Ice"

I looked at my ice cubes yesterday and remembered drawing them not so long ago.  When I saw the word for the week, I looked them up because I thought "This is ridiculous!  I just did 'ice'!"  As it turns out, in March, 2015.  Oh my.  I think I'm getting old when time just starts sliding away really fast and we're decrepit and on a walker in no time.  My aunt warned me about this twisted reality.

Depending on the day I'm thinking about it, I either feel young or old.  Not young like a child or teenager or anything, just young enough that I can still do whatever I want to do.  I feel like there's still plenty of time to achieve things and really live.  On another day, I might feel like too many things ache and I'm inches from the grave and can't do anything spectacular anymore.

Both things are true, neither are true.  Life is what you make it, whatever your age.

I've been thinking of writing something for a while, in a vague kind of way.  I started a novel years ago.  I felt happy about what I had started too, and then it started descending into soppy and sloppy ideas that seemed like too much effort to clean up. I'm thinking of digging it out and looking at it again.

I know one of my self-sabotaging tendencies.  I'll look at it, it won't be great, and I'll think, "Why do it if it isn't earth-shaking?"  Well, why not?  Why stop myself from something just because it isn't the best?  I know lots of you have some variation of this even though we know that we have to put effort into things to gain the skill to do something well.  How much time did we put into learning to read and write in the first place?

I think it just depends on whether or not we enjoy an activity enough to perfect it, and "perfection" is an illusion anyway.  Sometimes I like to write.  Words flow out of me easily, and I enjoy that ease.  Sometimes it feels really, really hard and I have enough hard things to deal with.

When I make ice cubes, I don't worry about "perfect" cubes.  I just want cold tea.  If I'm feeling a bit whimsical, I might put a flower in the water first.  I made an apple cake, and supplemented my apples with over-ripe pears.  I wondered if it would work, but I didn't feel like my self identity hinged on creating the latest, greatest thing.

There's something about putting things out into the world that opens us up to fear of judgment.  I experienced those fears when I started blogging.  Now that I've been doing this a while, it feels like those fears were a million lifetimes ago.  I notice what other people prefer reading, but I'm not afraid anymore.  If you don't like this week's post, come back next week and see if you like that post better.  Hopefully I've gotten better at it with experimentation.

Yes, maybe it's time to dust off that book beginning?  Winter is coming and cold, dark days sound like the perfect time to try.

(And yes Sharon, you have inspired me with your own writing efforts on The Chorus of Crows!)

6 comments:

  1. I'm glad to hear you're thinking of dusting off your novel and starting again. I've always enjoyed your way with words on your blog. Keep us posted! And thanks for the shout out. That means a lot.

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    1. Always enjoy spreading the love around :)

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  2. I enjoy writing too. I never wrote in a private journal, but blogging is fun in knowing that somebody might read what I've written and like it. There used to be the fear that they'd hate it, but as I get older, I don't care so much!

    I think I remember enjoying your ice drawing the first time, it was really that long ago!
    Working on your novel sounds like a nice winter activity for you.

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  3. I think not caring as much about what other people think about our self expression is one of the joys of getting older :)

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  4. Fear is something we all have to fight, it's the flip side of creativity. And the need for perfection is part of what creates this fear. But as you say, perfection is an illusion anyway, so we shouldn't bother, really (and I know how easy it is to say so). The clue is to do what we love, make the process what it's all about. So what if the book will never be perfect. If writing it is fun, then go for it. Don't worry. I have written imperfect books - that nobody is going to read, but I enjoyed writing them, and in addition it's always a learning process. As long as we learn and are willing to learn, we are alive. :-)

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    1. Very well put Otto! Even writing bad books is a path to writing a better one :)

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