Monday, September 04, 2006

Stuck

I've been keeping a morning journal, a writing exercise designed to unleash creative flow. You may have heard of it, it's called the Morning Pages, part of a program created by Julia Cameron from her popular 'The Artist's Way' manual. It does work, as she said. Artists with artist's block all become 'unstuck', and go on to become successful with their art. I've experienced several small successes with seeing through certain artistic projects.. Like designing a big race t-shirt, putting together a mini-comic strip, finally getting some acting roles.. But all of these came with considerably more effort and struggle than I thought necessary.. Are we all in our own ways? Should this all be much easier to come by and fun, really? But our minds are adding on completely erroneous pressures that weigh the whole project down and make it seem as torturous as our dull routines we were trying to avoid in the first place? Well, here's a close up look at the process.. Cameron warns not to share the MP writings with anyone, as it's not meant to be read or critiqued, simply written to empty out the rubbish that's dancing about in your head to allow for the real good stuff to come out.. Composting, as some call it.. But the hell with that, I'm going to share with you the MP from 9/3/06 at 9:00 am (yes, I time EVERYTHING!) I'm sharing this not because it's great writing, it's not.. But because I need help.. I am stuck and I can't get out..

Morning Pages 9/3/06:
Still raining, a slight drizzle. I have Noam Chomsky's name in my head- I went to Border's before seeing a movie last night and was looking for books on The Bushmen, found none, so took out a book on Linguistics, since I'm mostly interested in the Khosian 'clicking' languages. Can I turn that into a career? I can contact a university head of a Linguistics department and maybe turn it into an MA- or just independently travel to South Africa- Botswana and Namibia and teach English and learn their language. How can this be of value to the world? Does modern America, the Jessica Simpson generation really have a need (yes!) to learn a Khosian language? Our link to history may be extinct if not documented. I could bring it to modern life. And then go to Kenya and run with the elites? I'd have to learn Swahili too. So many languages, so much time. Is this all a big plan for me to avoid doing something realistic with my life? Yes, I suppose it is. I really have no interest, never did, in working and living a conventional life. I need to stop running away from my creative side and embrace it. I've been doing this MP exercise for a long time now, and while I've had creative projects here and there, really not enough to sustain me-I'm still so wrapped up in my job but not investing the time I should be in art or writing. Oh yeah, my blog is good. That's writing. But it's so sporadic. I think the lonliness and isolation of these projects is preventing me from pursuing them, If I had the balance of friends, other artists, say, it would be more- helpful? I guess I thought, with my daily epiphanies on the next big project, that something would just come to me and I'd be off doing it. I think I can't get off the ground. I'm stuck. In so many aspects of my life. No friends, or few; No loves (more serious); a job that's crushing my spirit; The one constant positive thing is my running. It's really tough, especially these mile repeats. They're $!@&%#!$ endless. But I feel really strong and powerful of mind and body after. How many people, even amoungst competitive runners, are going to make themselves do seven times a mile at around their 5k pace with one minute rest in between? Huh?? And though I do them alone, the results will prove themselves in public, in a race. So this dedication, tolerance of pain and patience for a good successful outcome with progressive results is THE SAME PROCESS that I need to apply to- whatever the next phase I pursue. My project ideas are all great, but I need something I can do for a few years, support myself doing it. Teaching overseas sounds good- but I want that creative lement. Living in the city sounds great. All the African, theatre, comic, running connections in the world are right there in the city. Time to do it. Should I buy a condo? I should, And I'll need a job? Unfortunately. Teaching? I don't know. Maybe, Back to square one? Yep. This is what happens but I feel I shook something loose, not sure what. I need a career advisor- a psychic, someone big. If I ask Zhenya he'll say, 'You got me, kid' Dakota will say pursue acting! That'd be very cool. Sigh. Square one and a half?

15 comments:

catmandu said...

Dearest T, I can understand the things you raise here, having dedicated my life to writing and creative projects now for the last 10 years. I think it is a question of balance - but perhaps that balance comes after you take the plunge and you have to accept that there will be a scary period with long lonely times and no structure. I mean, once you give up the safe routine of a dull job, and decide to plunge into an exciting but unstructured life, you will readjust daily. There is no need to be scared, and every need to be excited because the balance will naturally arrive. When you need friends, you will have the time to find them. When it's time to work on your projects you will have the energy, not having been drained by the demands of a basically alienating job.

I think that you are perhaps thinking too much and worrying too much about what your next step should be - you are thinking of the goal, the ultimate one, as a way of deciding what the next step is, when it might be more helpful to start on the road, to know where then entry gate it.

Don't imagine that it's all hard slog, because it's not. It's a pattern with eb and flow, satisfaction and waiting for progress. I recommend 'The creative habit' by Twyla Tharp, which is a very practical approach for pursuing the life of a creative artist, of any type - dance, writing, art. But it's very structured, and she goes into the nuts and bolts of her day and her discipline, with exercises.

Honestly, now I have this life, it is the most satisfying ever, and I have learned how to fill my needs for company and creativity, to follow my own ebb and flow instead of dying inside a machine.

You are a wonderful writer and a wonderful soul. Take courage in both hands and jump in!!

All my love
Lee

tamar said...

Lee~
Thank-you for this.. I will print it and re-read it to remind myself.. Great point about not focusing on the final goal but rather the journey, much less paralysing.. Yes, you have lived what I'm trying to, and I know you know about debilitating jobs in weird offices .. Will be in touch of course.. xx

Kevin said...

Tamar: Two things come out clearly: you want to do something creative and be able to support yourself. Given these criteria it seems that you should determine and pursue your goal, whatever that may be, as you do not seem happy in your current position. Whether it be teaching or a different pursuit, you've got to consider the options and move forward given the criteria you set for yourself. It almost sounds like you'd be happier in a college environment pursuing a Masters Degree or PhD as a grad student because those in a university setting are encouraged/required to write and publish. Another alternative that comes to mind if working for a paper as a segway to becoming a writer if that's what excites you.

You mentioned being a competivite runner and doing mile repeats which requires much self discipline. If you follow the same disciplined approach to determining your next step this will go a long way toward ensuring your future happiness. Consider what you are good at and what you'd like two do, weigh the options and move forward.

Kevin

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~Deb said...

As a personal friend of yours, Tamar…you know what I always believed? I think you’re just way too big for this world. Meaning—there’s a greater plan for you. Trivial things such as relationships, work, love, friendships, etc…are just too small for you to deal with. I really believe that you’re here to do much more than live the average mundane life of ‘settling down’. You are not meant for settling down. Who wants a million acquaintances? A few friends is the best thing you can have. I know your job keeps your creative flow from flourishing, but at least you have a passion for many things, such as acting, running, art and traveling to see different places; different cultures. You’re even willing to learn different languages!

Remember what you said to me over the phone last week when you were home from work? You had about two days off, and you said, “I feel as though I should learn a new language with my time off.” It was only two days—but your mind was ready and willing to do it. I’m always amazed with your ability to see things in such a different perspective. You give “ME” motivation, seeing you pursue all these unique activities. You even learned a little Swahili – and taught me how to say ‘how are you’. (I think I still remember it…without the clickin’ of course!) We watched that hysterical movie with the Bushmen—remember that?

There are some people that are meant to settle down and be content with their lives ‘as it is’. You’re different. You’re meant to do much much more. I know it. You’re not meant for settling…you’re meant for traveling the world, helping people across the globe, pursuing your dreams of being the fastest runner and a great actress. There’s so much out there for you. You know it. That’s why settling down isn’t an option.

You’re talented and beautiful, Tamar. I’m impressed and amazed of all the things you’ve already accomplished in your life. I can only sit back in awe. Your mind is constantly thinking of new inventive ways to live life. This is why I love being your friend. You inspire me. You just “inspire” …

It’s a wonderful thing!

~Deb said...

P.S. I absolutely just adore and love you!!!

tamar said...

Kevin~ Really good practical advise, thank-you.. I love the idea of a school environment, it's the only place where people really care about your personal learning..

Deb~ I'm too big for this world? Should I end it all now? I'm kidding, of course.. Thank you for always believing in me and encouraging me.. My little sister of the assumption.. Want to come with me to Botswana?

Annonymous~ your unsolicited propaganda days are numbered!!!!

~Deb said...

I may take anonymous up on his offer! $900 extra per month...but doing what... *wiggling eyebrows*

Tamar, let's see if you check this blog often enough-----

WANNA go out tonight???????????? Call me if you get this message. Call my cell.

I'll be at the "MAIN BAR" where the union crew flock to.

Get it?

Good.

~Deb said...

Be there...and let's get "STUCK" with a martini or two!

tamar said...

deb, deb.. how were the union boys? 'let me tell you about this story from 15 years ago about me and my ex and the grand canyon'.. 'and while you're at it, let me hone in on your romantic dinner, and eat all the leftovers!'
still think he's the greatest???

~Deb said...

Awe, I had so much food and you know that boy looks hungry and THIRSTY all the fricken time girl! I put very little vodka in that cosmo of his... *w* I'm glad you two stopped by. We gotta do that again when it's less chaotic...*eh hem* ;)

~Deb said...

P.S. He lost me at Star Wars.

tamar said...

deb~ ha ha! I read this comment of yours at work, and I thought you wrote: 'he had me at star wars'.. ha ha.. yeah, don't ever jump into THAT black hole.. that and '80's music, you'll be spinning in a vortex of jedi knights and yellow spandex for infinity..
thanks for babysitting.. :-)

~Deb said...

I'm not sure if I would look good in a pair of yellow spandex...but I was definitely entertained by Mr.& Mrs. Peacoat. Two peas in a pod.

tamar said...

Aren't they cute?