I was stopped in my tracks this morning when my clever and funny husband pointed to the top of a car we were passing on our walk. The beads of water that had collected after last night’s kiss of needed moisture were crazed with ice, and a thick layer of frost grew up all around. “Look,” he said, “it’s a White Christmas!” A few steps later, we came across a drain in a park where the edges of every weed were laced with white, a thin sheet of ice, almost square, formed by tentative, jagged crystals. “I wish I’d brought a camera,” I said. He pointed to his mighty cranium. Take a brain picture. Good thing I’m a writer, huh?
I’ve been challenged, lately. So much to do, so many things fighting for my attention. During NaNoWriMo, I only wrote about a sentence a day (if that) on the sequel to The Souls of Her Feet. I was feeling blocked because of all this drama with my other book, The Bullying Antidote, which posed its own very interesting creative problem, which demanded a lot more work. (Thank you to my donors!!!!)
While managing the huge new undertaking of the Zorgos Project, I somehow also managed to manage all the minutiae of a festive holiday season—family dinners, costume changes, homemade treats, performances, parties and packages full of happiness—without falling apart more than once or twice. Somewhere in there, I realized my fall goal of redesigning my platform could not be achieved without some deeper attention to my focus, or lack thereof. Every time I started to work on the business plan I so desperately need to write, though, there were those questions again: What are your values? What are your needs? What is your mission? What is your vision?
If I were doing this writing thing right, I’d be posting every week about my various accomplishments, like how my first flash fiction story, Vino Vidi Vesuvia, was published in November in the online literary journal, Doorknobs and Body Paint (Pandemonium Press). I’d have an agent and a focus and a plan.
But I don’t always do things right. As an artist, I follow my creative impulses and complete as much as possible by the highest standards I can muster before being swept away by another inspiration or calling. To illustrate (I love illustrating), here’s a little speech I gave to my writer’s group on a year of trying to keep up with my muses…
I mentioned a Christmas miracle…
There really was one. I was at midnight mass last night, singing my heart out on the Glorias and Hosannas while a praise dancer was waving a baby Jesus around, and boing, I knew my mission, loud and clear. It was so obvious. I had been looking for something more noble, more lofty, more clever or inspired. But it’s the same mission I’ve always had, the same one I’ve always struggled with and soared with. There it was under my chair like the Holy Grail. It goes something like this:
I use my voice in all its complexity to illuminate, inspire, and aMUSE.
That’s it. My voice. It is the expression of my vision and it’s more than my big words. My voice is expressed with my hands and my eyebrows, my comments and color choices. It is a multitude of reflections of the people and ideas around me, channeled through the sparking electrons that make up the particular molecules and vibrations of my understanding. But though it may be the thing that confuses me (and others) the most, my voice (layer on layer) is also the strongest thing about me. Although it is not everything about me, it is the thing that makes me feel the most like me.
The praise dancer put the baby Jesus away in the manger again.
And the soul felt its worth.