I struggled with the last post written a couple of days ago. It didn’t flow, didn’t feel right, felt like I was trying too hard, all those normal things when the universe is trying to tell you that maybe it’s not the right time to write. And then today I was walking in rare sunshine along the river with a friend, actually doing something work related, and we came across a woman painting. Her easel was set up in a bit of shade from an old maple tree, there was a lovely breeze in the leaves above her, the river was rushing along singing, and she was painting an oil of the mountain.
As my friend and I went about our work, I mentioned that I had always wanted to draw. Some of you know that my brother is a very talented artist. I said the same thing to him once and he said, ‘but you draw with words’, which is still one of the best compliments I’ve ever received. Today however, my friend said that it’s all about letting go. I had to walk in silence a few seconds to think about what she said.
Letting go of the sense of failure before you even begin to try.
Letting go of embarrassment at the results of those beginning baby steps.
And then she said it was true of writing, too. Of course she’s right because those simple words can be true of so many things.
Where would you be right now if you had never let go, never started writing, never faced that awful beginner prose that we all still save and pull out for comic relief, and to reassure ourselves that we really are growing as writers?
I think I’d be pretty miserable and without a clue why. I somehow let go without even realizing that was what I was doing, and jumped joyfully onto that blank page, pen in hand, and wrote in spite of everything that said I shouldn’t. I look back on that now and think, well it was easy to let go because writing gave me joy.
That’s hindsight. That’s me ignoring the more accurate memories of really awful writing. Honestly though, the writing might have been awful, but at the time I loved those words, saw beauty in them, and found happiness. Okay, truly honest, I still love that early writing, and find good things buried in there, and now, find lots to laugh over so it still gives me joy, just for different reasons. I have to admit, that first story written in pencil on lined paper in 1969 that involved me and Huckleberry Finn going on some really corny adventures, reminds me of how it felt to be in the middle of my first crush. Guaranteed to bring a smile of reminiscence at those oh-so-young daydreams.
Anyway, letting go. What a simple, deep concept to ponder for a while.