Turning over a new creative leaf
“But even before her diagnosis, she suggested that her energy and imagination were not boundless. Her favorite line from literature, she once said, was in Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town,” as spoken by the character Emily as she bids the world goodbye: “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?”” Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Children’s Author and Filmmaker, Dies at 51 obituary, New York Times
As of today, I’ve got 10, 297 days left until I turn 70 — if I live beyond 2047, it will be a blessing.
I’ve got lots of things I could do with the time, but if I were to write, say, 100 words per day then I’d amass just over one million words, and have more than enough to complete 20 books. If this sounds a bit mechanistic, then it probably harks back to my engineering days. But then again, if I want to call myself a writer and poet — as I do — then I’ve got to get on with it.
Right here; right now.
I don’t mind admitting that since leaving behind my dreams and hopes for a career in law (2010), and wanting to start my own business — I failed miserably but I learnt a lot about myself — I’ve harboured a strong, life-affirming desire to write and be published. At this stage, there’s no point regaling you with all my trials and tribulations but suffice to say that Resistance has beaten my sorry arse.
Of late, driven in no small part by another gaping, soul-sapping hole in my day job, I’ve had time to reflect on what I’m trying to do in continuing to blog and spend time online.
When I started my blog in 2009, it was for the pure hell of it. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing but, at some stage, the spirits intervened and I landed my first client — a major London law firm — who engaged me to train the whole of their business development team on the use of and adoption of social media. I assumed, of course, that purely by dint of my blogging output — which was crazy busy at times — that I’d win more work of a similar ilk. That’s certainly what the supposed experts were advocating for but, in hindsight, I should have recognised that simply publishing a daily blog was never going to grow anything. I persevered though: I wasn’t going to be beaten by my inner demons that advocated repeatedly I pull the plug. Having finally bitten the bullet and accepted that I wasn’t growing my business, I started a long-term gig with a law firm in Southampton. Even then I didn’t stop blogging. It was exhausting. The truth of the matter was that it wasn’t the blogging that continued to hold my attention, but, instead, the act of creation. Sadly, I didn’t see that at the time and assumed I still needed to maintain a ‘presence’ in the legal sector.
But, certainly, for the last year or so, I’ve understood that a) I’m no longer interested to understand (and try to solve!) why the legal profession continues to self-harm and b) my attraction isn’t blogging but something much bigger. I know that sounds pretentious but what I’m hinting at is once again spreading my creative wings and going all the way.
Aargh, that doesn’t make sense.
What I’m talking about is bringing to bear my messianic zeal to get sh*t done in the writing arena; yes, I’ll be one of millions, but so what! It’s my life.
I know I’ve muttered something similar before, only to fail at the first hurdle, but this time what’s rising to the surface more strongly than anything else is my mortality and the fact that I don’t want to check out this world with nothing more to show for my efforts than a series of peripatetic blogs, a few Tweets and a naive series of poems on my Tumblr page. Instead, I want to write to be published. And that means throwing off the self-restraint that I’ve shown this last decade, mixing it up and writing. If that sounds a bit ethereal then I’m sorry but I can’t explain things with any greater clarity. If I have a dream it’s to pen something that connects soul with role whether that’s in prose, poetry or mixed-media.
At the moment, I’m working through the process of creation. I want to make sure, allowing for my paid work or whatever I have to do to pay the bills, I can build a rock solid creative habit.
Somewhere in the mix is the need to write a lot more with my beautiful fountain pens, to use some of my photos of Dartmoor and to collect stuff from nature as a prompt or backdrop to what I write about.
As to where I’ll publish, I’ve got some more work to do in defining that but I sure as hell won’t be writing anything on the legal sector or for that matter how business needs to grow up and take responsibility for its actions. That’s not to say that my poetry might delve into these areas as a narrative to my existential angst but I don’t want to waste time writing for people that have their fingers in their ears.
You might ask why I’m bearing my soul this way? Like a lot of things I do, I don’t honestly know. Part of me was tempted to say nothing and simply pull the plug on all my online activity but then again, despite the need to go all the way and kill Resistance, I enjoy the time I spend blogging and on Twitter, Instagram, Flickr and Tumblr and if I can find a way to integrate them my writing without compromising my output then great.
Once I understand a bit more of my new creative process, which may take me a few weeks, I’ll once again blog about my experience. Until then I feel I need to take a break and spend some time alone with my creative thoughts and feelings.
One thing I’m sure of is that we’re all creative but accessing it, particularly when we’ve paid it no heed for a long time, that’s another matter entirely.
PS. I will be keeping Patreon for a while longer yet, as I see some of my pieces being offered in patron-only mode.