Monday, March 21, 2011

We are born with a purpose to find ways to create: we are creative beings

a girl & her hat & her dog-setting down words

Mom's gift to me- her quilting

If you call yourself a writer/artist/quilter/photographer/musician/etc, then you know the kaleidoscope of angst and joy and marvel and frustration and success and failure that comes with our creative identities. Or, perhaps you are questioning whether you can call yourself Creative? I’m surely not in a position to define what makes for, say, A Writer, but if I tried to, I’d say: you are a writer if at times you want to throw everything you have ever written in a big word-funeral pyre and dance around it nekkid laughing hysterically while it burns burns BURNS and you’ll become a cat enthusiast or collect rubber bands, anything but to be a writer. Instead, you take a deep breath and you get back to the work of writing.

Here’s what I imagined would happen when I received word that my first novel would be published: I’d jump up, scream WHAHOOO!, run to hug Good Man Roger, email gamillions of people, and then go celebrate with Ketel One and tonics. Here is what really happened: I'm sitting alone in the dark. I'm sipping Deep Creek Blend, the sun just slipping over the Smoky Mountains. I read the email of how Bellebooks wants to offer me a contract. There is no sound but Not Quite Fat Labrador’s snoring. I stand, walk dazed around the little log house, and it is hours later before I tell anyone—because I might jinx it. Because it may not be Real. Because I don't deserve it. Because something will happen to screw it up. Now, first novel has become second, then third, and soon novella and fourth novel. Have I done any real celebrating? I guess not.

inspiration in nature
Hold on, I’m going to jump up and do a jig (fiddle music here--*kat does a moonshined Hill-William jig*). Okay, I’m back…thanks, whew, I needed that celebration for what I have accomplished. Now you do a jig for your accomplishments - and don't sit here and tell me you do not have any! *eagle eyeing you* - I Accomplished Something before my novels were published - I just didn't let myself believe in that. So - do your Jig! Come on - right now - I'll wait *Jeopardy music here*

finding beauty in our world
Anyone who writes knows the long, hard, frustrating, maddening journey to novel/book/any publication. The work has only just begun. The writing, the tweaking, the querying, the rejections, and then finally the acceptance are only parts of the complete package that make the word Author. Sure, there are “overnight successes” who push out a book in three days and it’s picked up by a big time publisher and hits the New York Times bestseller list two minutes later and the author is soon rolling buck-nekkid on his/her bed atop a pile of cash. In reality, most “overnight successes” have worked their arses off to make their dreams come true. The rest of us are just awed to finally see our works in print or completing a project (while secretly wishing we'll be rolling buck-nekkid on a pile of cash *teeheehee*).

Here’s the thing, my friends: each of us is born with a purpose, even if that purpose is only to live to tell a story or paint a picture, or quilt a quilt, or design a building, or Create Something. Our voices matter; we all have experiences to set down in our own way, secrets to whisper in the dark or take to the light, or ideals to shout that facilitate change. There is the purpose for which we live: we must reveal the stories in whatever forum we find inspiration from - all of us are creative in some way: Believe This.

capture the mystery of our lives
Thornton Wilder says, “…the work is not a thing that we make, but an already-made thing which we discover.”

So, what of your story? What do you long to say so your words are scattered to the winds of the universe, finding root and then growing thick and strong, the growth reaching up and reaching out? How will you find your way to your voice?

(a version of this post was first posted at Brian's Guest Author site)
Photos taken by Kat (me!)


Vaughn Roycroft said...

Love this post. When you commanded me to jig, I did, at least, spin in my office chair, snapping my fingers.

I love the Wilder quote because one thing my beta readers have all said is something like, "Where did you dig this story up from?" I always shrug, and say, "It was just sort of handed to me," or words to that effect. I really do believe I only 'discovered' my characters and their stories.

Nuff mystic-type stuff for a Monday. Can't wait to do my 'real' publishing happy dance, and I do believe I will. I'm sure I'll first sit stunned for a while, as you did :-)

Kathleen Boston McCune said...

I too feel I am being led into this chasm calling writing. Once captured and fingers are racing across the keyboard I feel drawn up into another time and place where the words come from someone else and once delivered find their ways into my fingertips. When I read what I wrote I sometimes wonder who actually wrote it! Anyway, I do feel compelled to write, I think much as my musician daughter feels compelled to play and sing her music.

Glynis said...

A beautiful post! I adore the pic of you writing on the porch.

I often wonder what my purpose is on earth. I tend to bring lonely souls together, so maybe that is it. Not sure if I am meant to write, but it is what I love to do!

I love the way you jig when excited, btw. ;0 x

The Unbreakable Child said...

Lovely! xx

mitambien said...

Creativity comes in all forms..It has taken me many years to get where I am now, to want to express myself in some very simple manner. Sometimes out of fear I want to retreat but not as often. Love your photos!!

Mimi said...

"In reality, most “overnight successes” have worked their arses off to make their dreams come true."
This is so true. You know that thing about 10,000 hours? That's true too!
As regards creative, i'm not really sure what my "thing" is, but probably playing music.(but it could be knitting/gardening/making aromatheraphy products).I just wish I had the "interpretation and expression" bit for the music- I think I still play just the notes that are on the page. But I'll keep plugging away at it!
great post!

Mimi said...

P.S. i did an "inner" jig for what I've achieved to date. Thanks!

john bord said...

To write or not is but a trite quip flushed from the depths of the city cesspool. It takes a moment to ponder, then the years flow past, ever widening gaining on the grey mast.

Do I have a marketable product, who would want to buy it, how do I get their attention.

There are so many writers out there that have great desires but not a product. Dreams churn in outer space, going from somewhere to nowhere. I remember working on the Lit mag at the university. so many manuscripts were submitted and to nowhere they went. Even the English professors story rambled, although he did get a bunch of his mystery novels published.

To get published is beating the odds. So give yerself a little pat.

For I have met so many that want that moment.... whether it be photography, crafts, theater or the quilt. There is a carrot that dangles and the path it leads is very arduous and lots of discipline.

rosaria said...

Oh Kat, this is inspirational and what we all need right now, each of us in our own winter den, looking for that elusive spring.

Karen said...

Kat, those are great photos!! My words? To uplift, and entertain.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Kat .. fun .. rousing post .. and the photos are beautiful .. we're part of that tapestry of life .. our stories will be told somewhere along the way ..

Keep weaving .. and posting .. cheers Hilary

Linda Hoye said...

I loved this post and your comments about purpose. The interesting thing is that while most of the time I believe I have a purpose that involves writing my memoir, sometimes it is too easy to listen to the inner critic who says that I don't know what I am doing. (which, it's true, sometimes I don't!) Hand-in-hand with purpose we need perserverance to get to the finish-line.

Now, let's all get nekkid and do a celebration dance for what we have accomplished! Okay, maybe skip the nekkid part...I know I will. :-)

Lynn said...

I love all the pictures, and love, love all the writing between them! We all are creative, in our own way, and thanks for reminding me to do a celebration dance, even if what I create is just something only one other person sees, hears, and/or touches.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Awwwwww, *sniff*, that picture of you petting doggie with your foot, writing in your Hemingway hat.

You deserve this and every celebration life has to give. We'll do one together soon, hopefully! :) xxo

Doreen said...

congrats on all of your success. I know it is from hard work and determination. woo hoo!!

I agree, we all have a story to tell. and all are unique in styles of how to tell it.

Sheila Deeth said...

So suddenly finding I hate my precious manuscript, and having to edit it all over again is really okay? Lovely post. Thank you for making me feel normal and making me believe, at least for now, that persistence in writing, besides being unavoidable, is also worthwhile. (Now just to convince the family...)

Titus said...

Great post! Love the picture with the hat and dog!
Hard, hard question to anwer. I don't think I'm ever really satisfied, so that when I look back at the finished stuff - say, 3 month, 6 months, down the line, I think, 'Could do better'. The seeing my name in print doesn't really do it for me. I really do love the readings though, even if I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack before I go on. Readings leave me walking on air for days! Especially if my hair was good. God, I'm so superficial...

Debbie said...

If anyone deserves to celebrate, it is you! I would have been the same way - afraid to jinx it. I also have this weird thing about worrying that people will think I'm silly. What a waste of time.

Deb Shucka said...

What a wonderful post, both words and pictures. It is all about process, right? Which means we never "arrive." Which also means we need to be celebrating regularly along the way. Thank you for such an eloquent reminder.