"The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time." - Mary Oliver
Writing is one of the most endangered, fragile professions that exists.
Not because there is any lack of skilled and passionate wordsmiths floating around. There are countless numbers of us. The reason is because there are so many obstacles to becoming a constant, prolific and successful writer. Some of the most talked about are editors, changes in the publishing world, low remuneration, deadline pressures, and people in our lives who wonder when we are going to get "real jobs".
But the worst enemies are within.
Low self-confidence, doubt, fear, creative blocks, fatigue, resentment, jealousy, etc. These are some of the enemies that live within the writer. Do bankers suffer from these internal struggles? Do gardeners, or dentists, or other people who have "real jobs"?
This morning on the way to work I talked to my partner about my confusion. Was I really meant to be a writer? What about all my other dreams? Didn't I once want to open my own natural health clinic? What about the reiki school I talked about? And the bookshop I wanted to start up? Once upon a time, I was even going to sign up for web design courses and make the big bucks.
What happened to all those dreams? All those other parts of myself, crying out for attention, for love, for time?
After listening to my angst, my partner reminded me about dharma -- the idea that whatever we are doing right now, we are meant to be doing it. Even if writing feels selfish at times, it has a larger purpose. I don't know if that is the official definition of dharma, but it is interesting, and it helped me to feel better. If I want to writer, maybe I am meant to be a writer.
And maybe, just maybe, all those other parts of myself will forgive me for forgetting them just long enough to finish this next story...
In a time and place that is now both gone and forgotten, there lived a young stick of a boy, who lived all alone in a tower by the sea cliffs. With no one to talk to and no family to look after him, he would go down to the rocks and forage for his meals. He pulled seaweed from the rocks, caught crabs and shellfish from the thick mud, and once in a while, harpooned fish with sharp pieces of wood.
And when his belly was full, he would write. He wrote all his words on the paper he could find, and when the paper was all gone, he wrote on dried leaves and curtains and on the stones in the walls. People, families, friends, they lived there in his poems and stories. He could hear their voices in the corridors, behind the mirrors, and even in his dreamless sleep...