Monday, July 19, 2010
Monday Muse: Solitude
Most of last year and the start of this year, I was feeling down and lost and irrelevant. I saw black and white and gray and nothing more. Desperate to figure out what was bothering me so much, I started doing some internal searching.
I devoted hours to writing lists, coaching myself for what was calling within me. I longed to be something more than I had been. What I had been was a go-between, a replacement, a proxy -- always on the edge of something, but never fully there as me, myself. I was the caretaker, the mother, the other half, the manager, the scheduler, the housekeeper, the notes keeper, and many other things.
I was never just me.
This bothered me. I knew I needed something for myself. After all, I built a career for 12 plus years on a simple phrase: my name. That's a big ego trip, you know.
To soothe myself, every day, I sat in quiet and wrote lists. Dozens of lists. (More on those in another post.)
By going inward and focusing on what was bothering me, I came upon something -- a feeling -- that lifted me up, that brought a smile to my face that kept me going, moving forward. Those moments -- and there were many, many, many -- helped me finish my novel.
I wanted to be something more.
More. I wanted to be relevant.
It wasn't a longing to be like others or to even be popular; it was about proving to myself that I am worth more than being a stand-in for other people. I am more than that.
I wanted to be authentically creative.
Solitude has become my best friend. At the end of a long day, I need silence. I need a room to myself. Before kids, I took this kind of peaceful state for granted; I could get it whenever I needed it. Now, it's like the gold nugget of my day and I relish it's fleeting presence, like a handful of sand slipping through my fingers.
Once I realized what I needed and wanted in life, my world fragmented into a billion colors, all beautiful. I was left with such happiness and inner peace.
This is what led me to create. This is what led me to sit down and write. This is what led me to write a 90,000-word novel. That made-up-just-for-fun world sustained me well enough but I couldn't have done it without peace and quiet to let the vision of images and words intersect at that point right between my eyes.
I just need to be left alone for a minute.
That is why this post spoke to me so much. It solidified many things I have been reflecting on in this post-first-book world. I need solitude as much as I need water and food. Without it, I am a mess, on edge and anxious. But, more than that, it helps me productive, helps guide me to what my intentions are for that one moment. Otherwise, my mind is drawn in too many directions and not the one direction I need to go in.
How about you? What do you need to sustain your creative energy? Do you need those connections or do you need quiet?
Photo Credit: Much thanks for this awesome image goes to Tori.Malea