I wish I could be as fearless in life as I have been with my landscaping, or lack thereof.
One of the greatest things happened when I threw caution to the wind, and let the dreaded by many lawn care aficionados, raspberry weed take root, many roots in fact, at the back of my yard.
Eight years the plants spread, and to my relief have basically taken care of themselves. A bountiful harvest I have reaped, at the expense of nothing really. Less lawn to for me to mow. Although I do get some scratches when I reach into the depth of the prickly plants, even with a long sleeve shirt on. They’ve probably attracted wildlife to our backyard, including the greatly romanced honey bee.
Every year when picking raspberries, I have to relearn the same lesson. Even after I think I have found all the raspberries in a section, if I stand back there are more I’ve missed, always. How did I miss them? I was staring in that exact place but a bit closer. Moving the leaves up and around, crouching even to find the berries underneath.
I’ve been struggling writing my story, and a friend told me of ‘seeing the forest for the trees’, and that if you couldn’t tell the difference between the two, it’s time to stop writing, and let your story simmer for a while, like a good long while.
Stop? That makes no sense. I must keep writing, and rewriting, and thinking about said story to find the answer, the elusive puzzle piece, and that is to finish in every sense of the word, the fucking story. This story which I love because I have put so much of myself into it, and it also just happens to be the reason I hate it. That I could bleed myself comatose, with paragraphs of prose, and still it’s not done. Not even close.
I’m going to be honest, my friend’s advice didn’t resonate with me until today as I was picking raspberries for the first time this year.
I became aware of learning the same lesson I have to every year. To stop. Step back. And something amazing happens. Before your eyes you start seeing things just moments before you did not. Stopping lets you adjust your perspective without losing focus on the task.
But if I’m being even more honest with myself, I’m afraid. Although not of an unruly bush, raspberry, that is. Though the actions caused by fear often propel situations into self fulfilling prophecies. Although said friend also states ‘you can’t ruin a story’, you can. Fear might cause you to start changing things you’ve written and maybe not ruin it, but certainly make fixing it a more daunting task than it had originally been.
Just as fear of losing someone you care about, might cause you to tighten your grip on the object of your affection, thus scaring them away. Counter intuition says STOP, STEP BACK if you want to see the forest for the trees, that is your story, STOP, STEP BACK if you want to find all the raspberries hidden before your eyes, and STOP, STEP BACK if you want to avoid a restraining order.
I am 9000 words deep, which for a novel, isn’t deep at all. But i feel like im up to my neck. I wonder where are the other 40000 words plus are going to come from and how far it will leave me under. What I’m writing, probably won’t be read my anyone or not more then five people but has inspired a fear in me. it’s one of the most terrifying things in my life right now(not true btw). Making me return to the truth that in life, the journey one goes on while embarking towards any goal is always more important then the goal itself. The goal is one blip in the journey, but the journey is many blips. Is this why people feel empty and let down after a big achievement? We’ve put so much emphasis on the destination and not enough awareness while getting there. Our bad habit of placing importance on titles and achievements devalues the experience.
So I’m writing this novel, still feel silly calling it a novel, that may never be finished, would be hard pressed to be published because of content and cohesiveness, may never be read, would certainly be judged, and i might be empty afterwards and feeling i have nothing else to write about.
I have my soundtrack i listen to without fail. The Rachel’s and Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No 1. They bring me back to the head space where the story takes place.
I can’t get out of my head, i think about it many times through out the day. I often i have to hold ideas like one holds their bladder, until i can write them down. I get restless looking a the clock, waiting for the time i might duck downstairs and get more then a few minutes to write. Otherwise i am writing when baby sleeps, when there is a lull in the family commotion, which doesn’t happen often. I feel a little addicted, a little foolish. And the content leaves my mind feeling chaotic, restless and uncomfortable. I go full circle wondering why i am investing myself in this thing, that seems an entity of it’s own, using me to channel some incoherent babble of my inner monologue and imagination.
20,000 words deep now. And i come full circle again, it’s a real ferris wheel, realizing time and time again, life is about filling your head up with ideas, goals, purpose and there is nothing more i want to do now then sit down and write. What else could be better? Sure i would paint too, but writing needs no clean up when i am called away to care for family. Getting lost in something that gives me a sense of wholeness, that no other can fill. I feel as though I’m holding hands with myself a little finally, that i have accepted life as a bit of a one person play. But baby steps of course. Things becoming clear but I’m still uncertain i want them to.
Don’t worry about the story or idea making sense before you’ve written it. Write the damn thing and you’ll find a way to make it logical after.
Life has no answers. The consequence of our choices is our only reminder that what we do can matter, but doesn’t always
Your feet CAN get wetter, it’s best to avoid puddles…
I’m hoping all the threads come together into one story. As it stands I’m overwhelmed the amount of pieces i feel i’m tending. Like when you are solely responsible for Christmas dinner, and you have all the stove elements on, food also in the oven and slow cooker going. Desperately waiting to see if everything connects, but still not sure exactly what I’m writing, what type of story. Part of me is certain it does, or can be made to connect. I suspect I might end up with a Miller-esque book if I’m diligent enough to finish this project. I will have no problem talking about pricks…Miller might be too high an aspiration. A girl can dream right? The first book I read by him, and it was only recently, immediately I identified with his style. I’ve fallen in love with the evolving artist. To know about the artist is as important as knowing the art. For me at least, I appreciate context. Watching personal evolution of friends, family and if you are lucky enough to personally know a dedicated artist…where their craft is them and they are their craft, passion inextinguishable. Count yourself lucky to have a ring side seat.
I should trust my process. Although only a default process I use with painting. Having some sort of idea, from vague to solid or a feeling to create and then just going with the flow, letting go at some point. That’s quite the process right? But my favourite part is getting lost in the moment, it becomes it’s own entity, meditative, collective unconscious, muse, you become a vessel of sorts, I don’t know, there are names for it and others articulate it better then i do…and you the vessel, get to bleed it all over the paper or canvas, sounds excruciatingly delightful…an insatiable event to which there is no end….although Miller says in Tropic of cancer “thank god there are no more books to write” He is rambling, unrepentant and he becomes infamous for said book… I suspect he was trying to throw off the chains of ‘trying to write a book’ and just write. The monkey on our creative backs that wakes us up in the middle of the night and has us writing feverishly, losing sleep, you feel a bit used, and it can be unhealthy at times….
Writing is one part fantasy and one part confession. If done well, even the writer fails to tell them apart.