I had one of those weeks last week. All the news that came in was bad, and I kept expecting it to get worse.
I’m still recovering from it, but that week started me thinking about creativity and life.
I have been keeping a distant eye on some really neat creative projects that launched last week. (I will be posting more a little later) And there are some fascinating collections that are calling for submissions. And there are projects I was in the middle of and that I still need to finish. But I couldn’t track with much beyond my own life last week. Not that I think I needed to (the deadlines are still far enough away that giving myself the necessary time), but I still chose to be fairly isolated.
Writing this now, a line from the end of James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. “[Mother] prays now, she says, that I may learn in my own life and away from home and friends what the heart is and what it feels.” I have loved this line since I first read it, but what I see now, added to everything else I’ve seen in this quote, is the absolute need for space, both physical and mental, to understand your life.
I gave myself some space, and I found the beginnings and concepts for more stories than I now have time to write. Not that I won’t try to write them all, but in that time of turmoil, I discovered my brain was working on ways to process and siphon of the influx of emotion and information.
T.S. Eliot is quoted as saying something like: I have lived through enough for an epic. The timeframe given is not long before he leaves to write The Wasteland.*
I don’t know about you, but I frequently remember quotes like Eliot’s when I’m in the midst of events or situations where I don’t have control. I’m also a believer in signs, so I don’t discount the appearance of these random quotes. I go with whatever my first thought is in response to the quote, and see if it’s something helpful.
This time it was. What I took from the confluence of events is that I have lived through much, because I have been living. So what is there to stop me from taking all that experience and emotion and using it to create something new?**
So I’ve decided that the rest of this week, I will work on all those stories that knocked on my consciousness when I had proclaimed: Do Not Disturb.
Life is what it is. I’m going to embrace it. Time to get cracking on those stories.
*I can’t remember off the top of my head where I found this. But I know I used it in a paper for the MA, and those notes are currently packed away.
** I’m a big fan of the Modernists, and could bore you for hours with minutia from then.