September 13, 2014

The Cathartic Artist, #1: When in doubt, throw it out

Every time I get stuck, I think I'll be stuck there. I'll be sick, I'll be broke, I'll be lonely, I'll be the most non-producing excuse for a so-called "maker" ever—forever and ever, amen.

Of course, I always come out of it. Not always on my timetable (typically "yesterday") and not always accompanied by the triumphant chorus of angel song that I'd imagined, but emerge, I do. Usually messily, often haltingly, sometimes painfully, but always.

It seems, when I'm in the stuck, that I just need to sit it out—that I have no agency. Yet I know from being on the other side of the stuck, that this is not true. There are many, many actions I can take. These include, but are not limited to: reaching out for help; taking a long/short/medium walk; making a snack; taking a nap; reading something inspiring; praying and/or meditating; cleaning the bathroom or kitchen; free-writing (morning pages, journaling, etc.—something not for public consumption); throwing things out.

You will note that none of these are airy-fairy, theoretical things, nor sexy and/or wild things. They are mundane and practical actions. They are designed to get my blood moving, my head clear, my toilet bowl clean.

Today, in addition to writing this here letter, I will be dropping off a bag of assorted craptastic (to me!) items at the thrift store. I am making you a solemn pledge to not pick up any more craptastic (to their previous owner!) items while there. Well, except maybe a book or two. No harm in books, right? Especially on the catch-and-release program?

Tomorrow, maybe I will tell you a story about how I was lonely, and how I am not anymore. Or maybe I will tell you about what I had for my birthday dinner. Or maybe the space I clear in my head/heart/trunk will inspire me to do something I haven't even thought of yet. Life is a pretty amazing adventure, if I choose to look at it that way.


P.S. Speaking of books, I just finished my friend Chris Guillebeau's latest, The Happiness of Pursuit, and it is quite a good book to be reading if you are starting on a quest of some kind, or thinking of starting on one, or just wishing you could get off of Facebook and make some toast or something. It's filled with a whole bunch of inspiring stories about a wide range of quests by all kinds of people, and not the usual (internet) suspects we are all rather weary of hearing about over and over. It reads fast, has some good laugh-out-loud lines, and lots of food for thought/further rabbit holes for exploration. Like Mark Boyle, whose image showed up on Facebook the DAY I finished the book (for reals!) but whom I'm still going to learn more about, because I'm fascinated by the idea of living without money.

P.P.S. Thanks for reading this. You are awesome! I hope you make/do something today, and then tell me about it.