I’ll start by saying I’m a bit lost on all fronts creative at the moment. My last big Thing was my November gig, which went well But.
I can’t quite put my fingers on what I wasn’t happy with (beyond the usual feelings of I didn’t practice enough, didn’t prepare enough, didn’t plan what I wanted to talk about enough etc - I think I’ll always have those feelings tbh), but it’s starting to hold me back as I feel as though I can’t quite move on from it.
I have a few trusty websites I like to look at when I’m feeling Stuck in this way, and one of them belongs to American writer Alexandra Franzen. I especially love the long list of her favourite articles.
A message that Alex likes to transmit through her writing is - keep trying, you never know who’s listening - and I find this very heartening when I’m struggling.
The article I went to this time is here - based on a beautiful quote from Martha Graham, whose work I don’t know much of, but whose dance academy I follow with great interest over on Instagram.
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
I’m struggling in particular with a book I wrote a couple of years back, about my creative journey back to music.
At the time of writing it, I was coming to the end of an inspirational mentorship programme with harpist DHC, and I was deeply in touch with all things creative and working with great discipline. I was also backed by a small but immensely supportive and utterly inspirational accountability group. I wanted to do a 100 Day Project, and having failed at doing a musical one previously, I decided to do a writing-based project instead.
My book, 60,000 words of it, is what came out of that project.
It has a beautiful cover, designed by a talented graphic designer, and I am halfway through the first edit of it. I am unlikely to be able to afford to get it professionally edited, but I would like to publish it in some way, which I have researched and I know I could do relatively easily.
This post was meant to be about keeping the channels open (hence the title), but as I type these words, I am feeling how important that book is to me, and how when I sit down to write something else, all thoughts turn to that instead of whatever I intended to write about.
The words that are standing out from that quote are, “It is not your business to determine how good … nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions” and it is totally the fear of what others might think that is stopping me from sharing my book with the world.
I’m out of practice when it comes to squaring up to that fear - I’m still recovering from a pretty intense sharing activity the last time around, and I don’t know what to do about all this.
This is silly, because a few of those trusted, supportive group members have read parts of my book and gave me the most wonderful feedback.
This post is a way to get back into the habit of writing. It’s unfinished, and a bit ragged and disorganised, but I’m going to hit publish now because if I don’t, I might not come back for a while.