letting go


Random quote of the day:

“It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

—Wendell Berry, “The Real Work”

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

IT WASN’T.

I can almost guarantee you that the person I was referring to doesn’t read this blog or my Twitterfeed.

That post wasn’t really about that person, anyway. It was about me not letting go of something that contributes to the clogging of my creative pipeline. That person wanted to put me in my place and I allowed her to do that. I’m trying to let that go so I can be liberated from that influence. I haven’t quite made it yet because, hey, I’m human, but I’m working on it.

That’s what that post was about.

If you are reading this, I love you and I am grateful for all the help you have given me. Okay?

I have only ever taken one critique of my writing personally, and that was largely because it was meant personally. The critiquer mostly wanted to put me in my place and take revenge for an honest review I did of her Very Precious Novel. I told her that her writing was lovely, the characters in her book were interesting people I liked hanging out with, but I thought she’d done some chickenshit stuff with the plotting. Although I used, yanno, polite language, phrased things as positively as I could, trying to be supportive.

In turn, she said my novel was such utter dreck that she couldn’t make it past chapter 3 and didn’t want to waste anymore of her Very Precious Time actually finishing. Except, yanno, in semi-polite language. Though not very polite. Rather dismissive, in fact. Really hard not to take that personally.

Her novel went on to be published, mine did not, but mine got some positive response from agents. The ending was too controversial and “anti-market” but send the next novel along, and etc. Life took over and I wasn’t able to do any of that.

I admit to some perverse gratification when my critiquer’s novel was reviewed in Locus. They called her on the selfsame chickenshit plotting I had. Although the reviewer used, yanno, polite language. Though not as polite as mine. And I’d be lying if I said I was anything less than perversely gratified when the novel didn’t sell well.

Mostly, however, I take criticism like a grown woman. I ask people to read and critique my work because I want honest opinions so I can make it better. And I stay away from the perverse gratification as much as possible because I really do believe that negativity breeds negativity. It’s not healthy for me as a person or an artist to nurse grudges. They’re rather like hoarding useless junk. Too much of it in any one life and you wind up being one of those people buried alive and suffocated to death when a pile of old smelly junk falls on top of you.

No, envy and salacious glee at another person’s fail tend to choke the creative process. That needs to be as free-flowing as possible and if the artist encumbers herself with negative emotions she’ll stop moving altogether. I see it even more clearly now that I have so little time to do creative work, so little Me Time. An artist needs to be able to take those precious moments and run with them whenever they occur, wherever they lead.

And that includes being grateful for the time others spend reviewing and giving honest critiques of my work. I’m grateful for 99.9% of the reviews I’ve gotten. As you can probably tell from the opening of this post, I haven’t entirely succeeded on letting go of that one unfair one. I still grit my teeth when I see that person’s name. Fortunately, I don’t see it much anymore unless I masochistically google it. And I hardly ever do that. Hardly.

I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time for hoarding old newspapers of envy, scrap tin of grudge, and empty boxes of perverse gratification. I need to let go, lighten my load, and liberate myself completely from the junk preventing me from moving freely.

I’ve been coming to terms with my own physical limitations for the last week. I blew my knee out over the weekend and have had a hard time getting around. I had to borrow my mother’s spare walker, which was a huge blow to my ego, especially bringing it to work. I hate the melodrama of it—but it works better and causes me less pain than using a cane. The knee is progressively getting better. I’m hopeful that if I keep off my feet as much as possible this weekend I can do without the walker on Monday. Still, it feels like a ghostly voice whispering in my ear, “You are getting old.”

The truth is, I’ve been dealing with these physical limitations for awhile now. I’ve known for over a year that I need surgery in both knees. I’ve got no cartilage left at all. But I’ve been limping along because . . . who will take care of Mom when I’m laid up?

The recovery is actually a lot quicker than I thought it would be. My doctor says most people are walking up stairs after a couple of weeks. And I want to be able to walk again! This last week has shown me that the time for procrastination is done. Since there’s no one in the family to help me, I’m just going to have to scrape up the money to hire someone. Fortunately, Mom is still relatively high function. We’re talking about someone to run errands, cook meals, keep her on track with the meds and therapies, take her to doctor’s appointments. I’ve got an ambulance company that can take her to and from dialysis. I just have to let go of my protective need to take care of everything myself.

That, of course, is the hardest thing of all to do.

Random quote of the day:

 

“Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past.  Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.”

—Brooks Atkinson, “December 31,” Once Around the Sun

 

 


Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Happy holidays, everyone!  The random quote of the day will return January 3rd.

 

Random quote of the day:


“The greatest gift to others is to freely relinquish yourself.”

—Bodhidharma

 

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

 

“If growing up is the process of creating ideas and dreams about what life should be, then maturity is letting go again.”

—Mary Beth Danielson, column, Journal Times of Racine, Wisconsin

 

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.