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Friday, June 8, 2012

My Drunken Librarian and Other Artist Angst

Yesterday I had 3 fabulous blog posts spinning in my head.  They were brilliant. I could picture the reactions of you readers in shock and awe.  Unfortunately, I was late for an appointment with the mayor's office to work on this charter school project I'm covered up with.

Today when I had a few minutes to write, I tapped my artist self on the shoulder and said, "bring 'em back".  I was talking about my ideas.  My brilliant posts. Unfortunately, my artist self has a drunken librarian that's in charge of my  titles and ideas. She's not all that reliable.  Today she was hammered.  She smiled at my artist self with that crooked smile and glassy eyed look reminiscent of my Uncle Joe on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I knew I was screwed.  There would be no brilliant posts today.

It's tough to be an artist on the side.  It's hard enough to fight the resistance that plagues every artist and the traditional writers block. When the muse comes and you don't answer the call even though you saw Muse come up on your caller id.  That's a flat out tragedy.

I mentioned it to my artist son.  He gets it.  He's a song writer.  Because he loves me and he's fourteen he had the perfect response.  "that sucks."  Not said with the teen angst sarcasm of tv sitcoms.  Said with knowing and understanding and sympathy.

We went on to discuss.  I love talking artist talk with Dude.  I don't have a ton of artist friends so I feel that "he gets me" connection with my firstborn.  I was bemoaning the loss of the words and the post and the written word.  He reminded me of his worst writer trauma, the loss of emotion.  When Dude is writing a song and he gets interrupted, he can come back to the lyrics and the words. But when he can't evoke the same feelings and emotions, then his song is ruined.  Sometimes he'll say to me as I start to launch into a chores tirade, "Can you just wait until I finish this song so I don't lose the feeling?"  Sometimes I honor his request and pay homage to the artist. Sometimes my mom emotion takes over and I launch the tirade anyway.  I'm working on that.

Creating is hard work and the least I can do is applaud his self awareness and his gifts and save the bitching about the dirty laundry and the dishes in the basement for later.

There's a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't and the secret is this: it's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write.
What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.
Steven Pressfield - The War of Art  

A special thanks to my friend Andy who turned me on to Steven Pressfield and his brilliant work, The War of Art. The piece that put words to my emotions and frustrations so I could learn to work through them.  This summer I will share that book with Dude.  He already gets it intuitively.  I'm sure he'll read it, look it me matter-of-factly and say, "Yep, that's it."  The simplicity of fourteen is a gift I can't reclaim.