I am in search of the impossible.
I need to find a place where I can create, imagine, write, dream and be that isn’t cluttered with distractions.
“Why is that impossible?” you ask. Because the place I seek is not a physical space. Yes, sometimes it is difficult to get quality quiet time with the distractions of dogs, child, responsibilities and internet, but that isn’t my real problem.
The problem is the clutter I carry in my mind. I need to find that hidden place of quiet which allows me to achieve all my goals. I cannot seem to quiet the cacophony or silence the inner critic enough to just create.
I’m not blocked exactly. I have ideas bouncing around in my head. Last week I finished the first chapter of my book, and while I impatiently await feedback from my editor/instructor my head is moving quickly through the possible twists and turns of the story. Ideas and images pop into my brain at random points and moments.
But, when I sit down to put words onto a page, I do everything but. I think. I scribble. I surf the net for images (to be fair that’s part of the next assignment). I check e-mail. I go on Facebook. I read. But I do not write.
Even this blog post seems recycled. Didn’t I just write this? Looking back on my past few posts I realize I have written about the inner critic and the search for my writer’s voice. I’ve written about the cacophony of ideas in my head as well as the intimidating silence that comes from an inability to write.
But, while in some ways I am repeating myself, in another way I am at a different point in my journey. I am struggling with giving myself permission to write. I am struggling, while surrounded by people pouring their hearts and souls into weekly theatrical productions, to say “it is okay for you to be moving on in your creative life, it is okay for you to want to achieve new goals, it is okay to let go of theatre.”
Sometimes it is hard to let go.
I spent the last two days being creative in a different way, as I pulled props together for an upcoming production of Hansel and Gretel as part of the Children’s Theatre season at this summer stock theatre. I pulled most of them, but had to make a gingerbread girl and carve out a fake roast. My hands, as I type this, reflect multi-colored paint stains from various spray paints. I enjoyed the simplicity of finishing my task (minus some chicken bones which I will gain sometimes this weekend) and then being able to walk away, without the responsibility of directing. There is joy about not being in charge, but I wonder if that is a joy that I have convinced myself to feel as I finally have had to accept that I am tired of fighting for opportunities to direct. Have I just given up?
Sometimes I feel like I have given up because theatre has become too hard, or as an excuse to not keep striving to achieve my theatrical goals.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve already achieved those goals, so I am naturally seeking the next creative project, the next part of the dream.
Have I simply moved on?
Right now I sit across from Sarah in a shop called Hey, Good Cookie! I had every intention of working on Chapter 2, and managed to convince Sarah to bring something to read and/or do so that I could focus on writing.
Sarah is living up to her end of the bargain, but I am not. Of course, I am sitting here writing this, and that counts, but I can’t seem to buckle down and work on the fiction that calls to me. Earlier today, when I was at a different location alone, I had an internal discussion about how I should not spend money to write in coffee shops because I am not making any money in my writing. Why can’t creation be valuable just in the act of doing it? Why do I continue to devalue my own work simply because I do not get a paycheck? Everything I do–whether it is directing, teaching, writing, making props, volunteering, parenting, or mentoring–requires time, commitment, and hard work. So why am I so hard on myself about that time?
When and how can I give myself the space and permission to write?