“Art Is Why I Get Up in the Morning”


What are your creative aspirations, he asked.


I am looking to let words come out onto the page. Sometimes we used to say “barfing out a story.” You could– and should– always go back and impose order, but the act of putting words on the page was the important thing.

I want to run a loaded paintbrush onto primed wood, blend the colors with white until my otherworldly scapes are smooth and amorphous like they could be horizon, hill, plateau, sea or cloud. Or all of them.

These are my two modes of expression. I try to infuse life with creativity and spirit, but writing and painting are it for me, the underground gut urges that wake me up in the morning and the way I intuitively connect with the world.

But sometimes something gets twisted between the urge and the execution. Sometimes my brain shorts out, or some unknowable fear looms suddenly, and I grope around trying to make a connection like someone with a lampcord trying to find the outlet in a dark room. I don’t know whether I’ll get illumination or nasty shock.

What I really want, I guess, is for my creative path to be smooth and comfortable. And perfect. There, I said it. I’ve never been a perfectionist in my life! Except when it comes to this. I don’t want to produce crap. A lot of people a whole lot wiser than me have pointed out the poison in thinking like this; a first draft has a face only a mother would love.  And after you write or paint something and send it out, it’s none of your business what other people think, anyway.

I love to write. When I don’t do it, I’m cranky and have anxiety dreams about caged pets that I’m not taking good care of (strange, I know, but that’s my classic message from my subconscious, neglected pets). Then I stare at a blank page and there’s no illumination and no shock, either. What the eff?

I’ve been in creative wastelands before and always come out the other side. The act of creating is just not something I will ever leave for good.  I’m doing right now, but some days it’s difficult, a struggle.

I feel sure there’s a deeper connection that I’m striving for and I haven’t made it yet. Some sort of unifying thread of life lived on numerous levels. I’ve got the levels, they’re just not unified somehow. Some things feel false, some forced.

Stepping forward, stepping up. Showing up on the page and on the block, like showing up on the yoga mat and meditation pillow, is the most basic thing I can do. It’s not “fake it til you make it’, it’s being there and being open, really open, with nothing to cloud my vision, and just let it come. I used to think the things I created were always there and I unearthed them. But now I believe I’m just a conduit, things come from the universe through me. (So I guess it follows that if it’s crap, it’s the universe’s crap, right?)

That is my creative aspiration: to show up and be present.

There’s nothing to learn on perfect path.


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