Love Stuff and Creative Failings (Flailings?)
Here’s the thing:
I am 100% reluctant to write this post.
I’m not blogging about love and stuff. I’m not a teenager anymore; you don’t want to see the things I was writing then.
But the subject matter? Ohhh, I’m still dealing with that. Love stuff. And, fine: I’m writing about it.
But why not? Is there a creative person out there—a person out there—who doesn’t get thrown off by love or some bastardization therein?
Yes then, FINE, the opposite sex affects my creative process. It affects everything.
There. There! I’ve confessed.
I am not as strong as I like to tell myself. I am not as dedicated to my creativity and my output as I promise to be. It just does not seem to be who I fully am (for now and time precedent, at least).
My hope is that I will change, that I will grow stronger. That like with any good affair, some shiny object won’t be able to step onto the scene and distract me from the healthy romance of creative pursuit.
But there is supposed to be a balance between human connection and professional pursuits, is there not?
Is it easy for those who already find themselves in established relationships? Once the tree is stable and growing, can they tend better to the rest of the land?
I ask because in the throes of new romance, how can one have any hope of preventing substantial distraction?
Am I weaker than others?
Can others do a once-weekly date and let love grow long and slowly over time? Am I the only one who suddenly sees a huge chunk of my life—my time—overtaken?
There is an importance that our society places on love and romance, and for better or worse, I have let a part of my brain be overcome. I get addicted to the love drugs. And as with any drug, the high fades and the comedown begins.
There are times when I’m ready to write human love off completely and cloister myself while I pursue the other love—writing. That was part of the reason behind the Santa Fe isolation. A town of retirees, perfect!
But always, always, in the back of my mind is the question:
“But…will someone come along?”
And of course, someone comes along. They always do. This happens, and there I go. The romantic in me takes over.
The same emotions that fill these words begin to fill the thoughts I have toward another. It’s the double-edged sword of a heart too verbose in romance language.
What happens is that I seem to morph the new person into my creative project. The muse and the medium, all in one. As you might guess, my actual creative projects begin falling to the wayside.
So when new love eventually fails, I tend to count the hours I “wasted.” The phone calls, shared meals, daydreaming, etc. spent on the now-lost prospect.
Do you want to know how it makes me feel?
Part of this whole process, I realize, is natural. If you want love, you have to invest time, so time will be taken away from other things.
But do I want to fall in love?
Or, do I simply enjoy distraction? Having a seemingly good excuse to push aside true prospects of personal fulfillment and remuneration created by my own independent efforts?
Because if I have someone by my side, the burden isn’t so much on my shoulders.
As someone who doesn’t wish to be employed by another or go through the typical career hierarchies, “love” seems a way to create my independent life as writer but not exactly have to do it all alone.
“Being in love—falling in love”—now I understand it—now I know what it means — what happens to me when I am writing: I am in love with the work, the subject, the characters, and while it goes on & a while after, the opus itself.—I function only by falling in love … What it is I suppose is the creative condition as expressed in human emotion and mood—So it comes out curiously the same whether sexual or spiritual or aesthetic or intellectual.
-Ursula K. Le Guin
Is the prospect of making it on my own simply too daunting? Ahhh, if only society endorsed independence more than marriage. Perhaps then I could forgive and accept my blacksheep-ism.
What I’m hoping here by sitting down and exposing these messy views on love is that I can simply find the strength to turn my back on it when I know it’s not right. That seems to be my main weakness: jumping in for the escape or the excitement or the distraction…but not necessarily the connection.
It is normal, I suppose, to feel afraid when one doesn’t follow the status quo.
Yet I’ve been kidding myself about how afraid I actually am. As my book nears completion and I stand in view of the finish line for numerous other projects, I find that my feet are stuck in the mud.
Crossing the finish line means judgment. It means exposure. The risk has been taken, and if I step over to the end it will be into a life where the belief behind the risk proves validated or dashed.
Of course, I don’t actually believe all this…more or less. Success will come with work and talent. That I believe. I can get there. What gets in my way is the confidence-lacking little girl inside my heart that tries so valiantly to pull on the reins to keep me from getting rejected.
On Bravery: An Interlude
A little bird in the newspaper postbox has made herself a nest within.
It’s a great home: sturdy green plastic siding, a single entry point, too small for birds of prey.
Still, there are the humans who come for the mail.
As I reach out the car window to the mailbox beside her future family’s home, she bounces up to the edge of her land and begins angrily tweeting not only at me, but at the gargantuan machine in which I sit.
Taking wing, she lunges at me. This bird no larger than a eight-year-old’s fist is ready to take on a human in a car.
And I’m afraid to finish my book.
So where do you stand? What’s your weakness?
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