Posted in Life

The Moody Writer

Yes, I am the classic moody writer. Spending time with me over a long period, can sometimes feel like a bit of…an emotional roller coaster. Some days the birds and singing, and butterflies are dancing about, and other mornings, “THEY ARE ALL DEAD! ROTTING IN A PILE OF BLOOD AND DESTRUCTION!”

Those that know me best, find my ups and downs….endearing (I think). At least humorous anyway. To make matter worse, I am a verbal processor, so those close to me, have to sit through my long extrapolations on my feelings.

I once told my ministry director that I had lived with for several years, that I was having an existential crisis.

“What is that?” she asked.

“It’s a crisis of existence,” I said.

“Okay, well, you exist,” she said.

I laughed. She had been through enough of those with me, that she knew the cardinal rule of moody artists–this too shall pass.

It’s not that I am bipolar or anything. I’m not. I’ve met bipolar people, and that is very far from what I’m talking about. I’m just….moody.

I think it comes from being a sensitive artist type. To me, life is all about feelings. All the experiences, people, possessions in the world mean nothing, without feeling. For example…why do we have friends? So that we can feel loved. Why do we travel? So that we can feel something different than our everyday lives. Why do we buy things? Because they make us feel better that we have them…more fashionable clothes, new gadgets, new cars…we don’t necessarily need these things. But they make us feel better. Life, is all about all feeling.

For me, I feel more deeply I think, than many people. Or at least I think about these feelings a little more. Every experience I have, is about how I feel about it. Every day I live, is about how I feel about what happened that day, and where my life is, and isn’t, based on that day.  This is a lot to carry around in this head of mine. Believe me. I know.

There are some days I am very happy with the day, or my life. And other days, I’m not so happy about it. It fluctuates depending on what factors transpired, or what is or isn’t happening. Many days I can keep a lid on it. But, sometimes I can’t. And those around me, run for cover.

This is why today, when I walked in to work, my boss eyed me with hesitation. I knew the look instantly. He greeted with with a tentative, “Good morning.” I could tell from his tone, he was testing the waters. Was I going to be a pill this morning, or was I going to be a joy to work with?

I laughed inside my head, before issuing him a chirpy, cheery response. The tension in his face faded, as he surmised that I would, in fact, not bite his head off. At least today anyway.

Over the years, I have traced my moodiness back to a few different factors. Certain things have to be in place. First of all, my writing has to be the center of my life. Anytime my writing can’t be the center of my life…I get weird. There is also small list of creature comforts I have compiled that I have to have in my life. Anytime I start to feel moody, I have found, that for some reason I have compromised myself in the area of those creature comforts. They are small things—like a sufficient, but very unpretentious bank balance. It doesn’t take much to make me happy in that respect. A quiet, private place to think…and to write. And coffee. Lots of coffee. There are a few others but you get the idea. Small things that make life work for you.

As long as those things are all in place, I can be a super friendly, cheery person. Most of the time.

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Life

The Shallow

What I shall I write for you today? I ask myself, sitting pensively, pen poised in midair. With not a thought staying long enough to be captured, I pull down books. Big, dusty books of poetry, rich with thought, laden with the timeless words of what it means to live, weighed down by the confines of human frailty.

I pore over verse after verse, and suddenly slam the cover shut. Poetry is meant to pierce the soul. I had forgotten that somehow. Now, faced with centuries old verse and metaphor, the thoughts run too deep tonight. They are too raw. Just below the surface there is a reservoir, begging to break free. And I can’t. I can’t let the wild animals inside run free. Because if I do, I doubt I could ever get them back. And what would we do then? 

So, here we are in the shallow. The shallow is where we belong. We laugh. We smile. We talk about food, and the neighbors, and the sales at Macy’s. Anything but what is real. It is safe here in the shallow. Nothing can get you here tonight. The shallow is where we belong.

Except when it isn’t. What will we do then? 

Posted in Life

We Are Surrounded By Gods–Yet We Remain Mortals

Today I was listening to some song. It was a love ballad from the 1990’s that achieved significant success. I like the song. It was a simple, guitar driven piece that rose and fell in in its proper time, and still remains a good solid song.

I started thinking about this song, and how it must have started. It likely began as scrawled lyrics penciled into an ordinary notebook. Then, the artist sat around his house, messing around with a few guitar chords, stop and start not even sure if this one was worth pursuing. Finally, after a number of tries, he realized he had something.

Then, one day, when he decided it was time, he unveiled this song to his bandmates and inner social circle. The song would have hit them as pure magic. And everyone talked about “the new one.”

Then “the new one,” got played in a few small shows–an as of yet unrecorded and unrealized hit. The song gained a cult following, –something only the super cool and initiated knew about.  Until one day, the time came to record an album. The “new one,” along about a dozen old “new ones,” was doctored, and tweaked, until it was finally produced, recorded, and mastered into a slickly marketed CD.

The song exploded onto radio, and then the whole world was singing “the new one,” (with the original cult followers having had their taste soured, were over it, and onto another “new one.”)

The artist made millions off that song, and now it is a veritable classic, relegated to grocery store ambiance, and easy listening Pandora playlists.

I think about that. Here is this song, ever at my disposal, that turned an ordinary man into a god. And the song wasn’t that complex. It was some heartfelt lines of love and devotion, ultimately against some simple guitar chords (with the complement of a full band). Really, anyone with some decent talent and training could have created that song. Yet, it turned him into a god, an immortal, with an entry, albeit small, in the annals of rock history.

I think about that, and how hard I work to make my mark upon the world. Yet, here I am,  here we all are, surrounded on every side by geniuses, and the gods of our time, all at our constant disposal. With the click of a trackpad, or the push of television remote, here are some of the most creative and innovative ideas the human race has concocted.

And we live amongst them day after day. We mindlessly consume them. We discuss them.  We critique them. We admire them. We put them in YouTube montages, and splash them across our desktop wallpaper. And yet, we continue to live our ordinary lives. We continue to wish, and hope for something extraordinary to happen to us, while the gods live at our fingertips.

How is it that we can live, surrounded by gods, and yet still remain mortals?

Posted in Life

Why Not Me?

Today I was out shopping, and I ran across this video ad. Blaring across every TV screen in the electronics department, was an ad from best-selling author Nicholas Sparks. He was promoting his new book, I forget the name of it. While a visual of his new book cover danced across the screen, his voice over said something like, “This is Nicholas Sparks, author of The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle, and a number of others…”

My heart caught in my throat. This man has so many best selling books, he could only list them in a voice over equivalent of “et cetera.” Yes, it seemed a little bit of douche-y comment. But, he was right. He has written more books than can be listed in a 30 second promo spot. Then, he went on to explain how he was in North Carolina working on his next novel.

Of course, I did exactly what the PR people wanted me to do with that statement. I imagined him in this gorgeous beach house in North Carolina (it’s his second home, but it’s ten times bigger than my only home). On the weekends, he wears polos and khakis rolled up to his ankles, so that he can play tag football on the beach with his kid. During the day, he sits down at his computer, with a proven formula for producing bestsellers flying out of his fingers. He’s got a spacious office, with dry erase boards on top of dry erase boards where he has intricately planned out his new novel. He spends a few hours a day writing, and then has to take business calls where he plots out his career, and takes long phone calls where he talks of industry people, and what they are all up to.

In the evenings, he hosts snotty dinner parties, full of people that laugh at all of his jokes and mesemerizing stories about…I don’t know…mountain climbing in Spain or something. They all sit around his living room made of pristine white sectionals, and glass windows, with the moonlight coming, and the beach gently foaming in the background.

And I think about all of this. You know? I’m not jealous of his success per se. I don’t begrudge the man anything. Like every woman in America, I cried through the Notebook. I’ve also read a couple of his other books. He’s a good writer. Good for him. I’m glad he’s achieved success.

But damnit, what about me? He’s published so many novels. Why can’t I publish just one? I’ve done the work. I’ve planned, and plotted, and character sketched through whole notebooks. Then I’ve written and rewritten, and rewritten again. I’ve edited until I can edit no more. I’ve researched and queried and read all of the articles on what to do and what not to do. But I still can’t seem to get anywhere.

He’s got so many novels published. Why can’t I seem to get one?

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Life

Spinning Compass

My life is a spinning compass. Out of control, seeking direction and looking for a place to land. I feel lost here, in this moment. Spiraling. looking for meaning, purpose and the voice of God somewhere. Anywhere. There a thousand pieces, images that flash in my mind, like still frames in a movie montage. And I can’t seem to put them together. They just whiz by, and I am left confused. Directionless. Spinning compass stop for just a moment, and show the way. Because I don’t know where to go from here. Because I feel so close to something real. Something beautiful. But I can’t seem to find the sure steps along the way.

Posted in God, Life

Can You Handle It? Thoughts on Success

When I was young, I dreamed of success as a writer. I envisioned my life as a millionaire author by the time I was 25. And, in my college mind, my thirties would be spent running a media company, based around the many screenplay adaptations of my successful novels.

Oh, and somewhere in there, I had time to marry a rock star (that passionately loved Jesus), and raise two highly artistic children that had traveled the world with us based on my husband’s tour schedule. We had houses in Europe, and would bounce back and forth between countries as our demanding schedules permitted.

But, the problem was, I couldn’t even get my college term papers done on time. It didn’t occur to me then, that the two were related. So, as my twenties passed by, through tedious work, blood, sweat and tears pouring into a stop and start writing/receptionist/retail career, I didn’t understand.

Why wasn’t God giving me all the things He had promised me? Obviously, I knew that some of my dreams were just playful fantasy. But, the gist of those dreams, were so powerful in my heart, that I knew it was part of God’s plan for me.

It all hit me today. Today, I applied for this writing job. It would be making a lot more money than I’ve ever made, and would be a lot of work, but nothing I haven’t done before. And, I realized, everything I had worked for, was coming together in some way. Now, this job is hardly “the dream.” It’s just one more train car on the track to success. But, as I thought about the work it would require, I realized, I could completely handle this job–now.

If I had been given the same opportunity a decade ago, or even a few years ago, I would have floundered. I would have not had the self-discipline, or the organization, or have some of the practical job skills that would have made the job work. I had the raw talent, that had been pruned by some formal training, but those were not enough to allow me to succeed at this job.

And suddenly, so many of the questions of my life began to make sense. There is wisdom in that phrase, “working up to it.” God doesn’t give us success until we are ready to handle it.

So, that’s my question to you–can you handle success? If you were given the keys to everything you wanted, could you handle it? Or would you flounder? I don’t know. It’s an interesting question. My own answer isn’t a resounding, “yes.” Success comes in levels. I could handle some levels of what I am after, but if I were to put myself at the pinnacle of my own definition of success, I would have to say “no.” And God, in his infinite mercy, knew it all along, and all of these years, has kept me from falling flat on my tail.