January 15, 2010

Ready to Leap

I have heard this maxim from various sources over the years, and while I comprehend its wisdom, I can't seem to get up the cajones to enact the command: leap. The years accumulate and I don't get any closer to the goal.

So what is the goal? There's the rub. I don't think it's any one accomplishment (not that I don't have daydreams of winning the Griffin Poetry Prize, or accepting an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay). No, it's not about that. I want to live an interesting life. To be bold. To genuinely connect with people and contribute something valuable to the conversation. To live with a general sense of well-being, and when it's knocked off kilter, to call upon a deep well of inner strength in order to put myself right again. I want to find a location and a vocation that is in line with my calling.

I would love to feel (and truly believe) that the hours I spend alone writing, typing, deleting, retyping, researching, agonizing over, and loving words is something that I do to serve something greater than myself. The thing is, if I'm really honest, I do believe in the value of my potential contribution. It's my awareness of the diligence and self-discipline it will take to get me there that summons the demons of self-sabotage. Humility taken too far, like ego, can be a force of distortion and destruction.

I feel as though I have been on the precipice of leaping for some time now, but it will either take a momentous act of self-will or a gentle nudge from behind to push me over. I have to forget about the net. There is no net. There is no treacherous abyss of no return, either. It's endless space, endless possibility.



  1. I can completely relate! Yesterday my husband said to me, "I need to take a journey outside, and you need to take one inside." He's right. I took a lot of giant leaps, or what I thought to be leaps and now I can sense this other longing, to go on a journey inside.
    Writing is a funny business. We do it because we have to but we always hope that it means something. I feel the same...all the time. I just read Eat, Pray, Love for the first time and she had a lot of insight on these things. Maybe call out to the universe, to God, and tell it what you need. Maybe it will answer...

  2. "I want to find a location and a vocation that is in line with my calling."
    I would contend that you won't 'find' it, rather, it's on you to create it, 'it' being your reality or ideal life.
    While Richard Florida contends that settling in the place we choose to live, or choosing a place to settle in, is one of (if not the) most important decisions we will make in our lives, his focus is more on the physicality of the space and the less tangible 'cultural elements' that augment it- yippie for the 'creative class.' Cities don't fit everyone, and if you go small town you have to 'bring it' or build the cultural fabric/infrastructure yourself. Now that's a challenge.
    I would suggest that art (because, really, that's what we're talking about here, right?), like you, will persist in spite of surroundings that may or may not bear much of a resemblance to your ideal creative surroundings. I don't know. Balance does it for me. When it comes to 'leaping,' I live where I can jump off cliffs regularly. It's still an equatuion, though; how deep is the snow, how icy or rutted the landing? Would this be better attempted on a mountain bike? Can I afford to get wrecked and miss my day job?
    Living on the cheap enables me to spend free-time scaring and testing myself regularly. Sure, my vocation/occupation is dealing with other peoples' garbage (quite literally), but I find inspiration even in that. And the contrast it represents to the rest of my life (chasing the elusive creative stuff on the edge of relative wilderness) is good.
    Don't sweat it. You'll find your peace/piece. But it will probably require a leap or two or more. It's easier than you might think.
    Good luck

  3. this is a hard one - what is my goal within the program - i feel this, too. i don't know if the leap is to become an actual writer - i don't know if the leap is to win prizes and be published as many times as possible.. i don't feel as though those are my places to leap. we can keep each other updated. we have valuable things to contribute - that is for certain. i think how far we go with this line of thought depends, as you said, on our humility. too many writers get caught up in the ego of it all - i write stories for people who cannot write stories. i have a voice and there are people who cannot speak. maybe that is a leap... to be completely modest about it.. i don't know!