Life in General

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painting by Alyssa Monks

Inspiration. When I first started writing I looked for it everywhere. Sometimes, I still set out on a quest, searching. The problem is I never know what I’m searching for. Not until I find it.

The older I get, the less I rely on inspiration. I put all my energy on hard work.

Maybe when you’re younger you can’t hear how it’s really hard work that makes the difference. Maybe you’re not ready to hear it. Or maybe you already feel you’re doing all the hard work–with little to no reward.

Maybe I’m talking about myself.

That’s more than likely.

Yet here I am.

The interweaving roads I walk in this life can feel too great to accomplish at times, yet when I stare back, my footprints have been left on all of them.

Unrational fears are the first thing I create. I dismiss my factual proof and cling to reactions. Overreaction. Fear. All the different shades of the unwarranted emotion that clings to me like frizz to my hair on a humid day.

I’m knee deep in denial there is only one real path.

I’m really not in denial. I know there is only way path. It’s through. One foot in front of the other, never give up, ignore all the name calling and bullshit, on the path that leads to my goals.

Goals.

Do you have some? Any? None.

I have too many.

That’s a lie. I have one. People think I have many. People tell me what I should do with my life all the time. I listen. In one ear and out the other. I’m not lost. I’m quiet. I’m busy. Always plotting. Maybe it looks like I’m being lazy.

You can call me a lot of things. I’m not lazy.

Never been.

I should be lazier. It would be good for me. Not doing anything would be good for me. Not. Doing.

Stop.

In the darkness, there is a solace. In the silence, there are the loudest shouts ever heard. I hear it ALL DAY LONG. I hear it now. In the words, music, streets, in the people around me. They all say the same. They have a story.

I have a story.

We all are stories. One billion of them. No, more than a billion. A trillion. A quadrillion. Stories everywhere. Whispers on silent lips.

It’s hard work to hear them. To shuffling through. To find the right ones. They must fit better than custom-made kid gloves. Perfection in every fold.

And it circles around. It always circles around.

Pay attention.

Quitting is failure. Hard work is the key. There is one path, it’s lined with words, stories–quintillion stories–waiting for you to gently brush your fingers over, breath in, hold.

This is my life, in general. This is me.

I’m not lost. I’m dancing. I’ve always known the way. Just wait, you’ll see.

 

 

 

[this post brought to you by the inspiration from Alt-J’s album, “This is all Yours.”]

 

The Truth about Happy

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Nearly five years ago I received my certification as a yoga instructor. If you are familiar with yoga – and I’m talking the institution, not the physicality of it – I’m sure the title of this post tripped an onslaught of quotes and ideas. If you’re unfamiliar – and only know the physical side of the practice, well, there’s a lot more to it.

But this post isn’t about yoga.

This post is about writing.

How? What does yoga and a man repairing a steam pump have to do with writing? (see above image) The answer is – everything.

The truth about being happy is a mixture of balance, hard work, self forgiveness, and persistence. Overall, being happy is actually rather hard. It goes against most things we’ve been taught our entire lives. The world says to act one way, and our instincts tell a whole different story – and this causes struggle.

Where is a great story born from? Struggle.

As a writer I look out into the world to see where a story may lie. I people watch at the beach, or at my son’s school for my next “real” character. I read everything and anything I can get my hands on from classics like Alexandre Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Cristo” to Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s “All You Need is Kill” and than tons of news articles, wiki posts, and random blogs.

I write/edit/plot/conceive/sketch every day.

Every. Single. Day.

Good days. Bad days. All days. Write.

On the bad days – the days I can’t seem to find the “struggle” in my story, but am consumed by it with my writing, I feel like the man above.

This writing world I am part of is a cog in a steam pump, and my job is to maintain it – even when I feel it’s hopeless and will amount to nothing. This is my “writing” life. Filled with strife, struggle, oppression, tears, sweat, and sometimes blood – it’s still mine.

In yoga we are taught  the things we struggle with are what we need the work on the most. Maybe it’s understanding the sutras, or resting in some precarious arm balance – regardless the answers we’re looking for will always be on the other side of that struggle.

In writing our truth lies in the words we put on the page. Maybe today they’re not good. Maybe today they’re actually terrible. But until we accept this is our path – and that our path may not look like the paths of other writers we know, we will never find the answer. We will never know happy.

The truth about being happy  is that sometimes we won’t be.

And the truth about being a writer is that sometimes we need to not be happy so we can try to be great.

So be great. Get out of you own way. Embrace your struggles. And most of all don’t be afraid to grab a wrench and keep on moving.