“Artists are people who are not at all interested in the facts—only in the truth. You get the facts from outside. The truth you get from inside.” --Ursula K. LeGuin

Saturday, January 1, 2022

A Gift

 "You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually, you get better at it. That's why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.

 — Octavia E. Butler


Isn't it odd that we are told that we have a gift to give, and I have said it and believed it? And with that, we think that perhaps some creative endeavor will be our pathway to success and livelihood. And so we begin, we work at it, and sometimes we get better. Sometimes we make a sale or get hired. Often, we fail. 


In come the thoughts: I'll never make it. I'm not good enough. It's too late for me. I've worked for 30 years and have nothing to show for it except a pile of crumpled pages and dashed hopes.


All those nitty, annoying and ridiculous thoughts we tell ourselves. 


Maybe the test isn't how many times we fall. It's how many times we get up. Cliche'? Yes, I know, but pertinent.


I use writing as a beginning point in my discussions of creativity because that's my venue. However, if I were a painter, I would probably start at that. Writing, however, is something everyone can do. It doesn't have to be creative writing or poetry, or you don't have to be a blogger or a novelist to write. Journaling is a way to take another look at an event, sad, happy, whatever. Happy event? Relish it. Sad Event? Lay it to rest. 


"Morning pages" (Julia Cameron's term) can clear the debris that is standing in your way of a fruitful, pleasant day. It is writing out those nitty, whining thoughts that like to circle your brain. It is putting a period at the end of a sentence.


You can gripe all you want on the page—remember it's for your eyes only. Just get it out. You will put a smile on the muse's face. 


"And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right."

 — Ray Bradbury