All of us have those moments in life when our artistic momentum is derailed by a planned or unplanned circumstance; a move, a death, an illness, a new relationship, a new baby, etc. Historically I would be tossed into a tail spin-- panic stricken that I’d sink to the bottom of a creative cesspool flailing in endless darkness. Over time the creative fairy pulled me from my imaginary septic tank and left me with an appreciation for life’s interruptions. These disruptions are pauses embedded in life itself. As the thirteenth century poet Jelaluddin Rumi compared the wave and the ocean as separate but one—life's challenges are part of the whole journey. They are the source of our interpretations both inspiring and painful. Change gives rise to additional vista points.
My medium happens to be words; threading them together and stepping aside to read the tapestry. Like all practices writing takes dedication and diligence. Being a writer requires regular attention to the craft and like a passionate love if chronically neglected it fades. I’ve learned that road blocks are merely fodder for new stories or poems or perspectives. Distractions lure away time and attention—and that is where getting back on the saddle comes to the rescue. Chunking out time, no matter how modified, keeps me connected to my writing, keeps me agile. For example, I have moved a staggering amount in the past few years and each move stirs a ripple in my writing rhythm. My creative space had to be portable and I’ve had to be flexible enough to write as a passenger driving across the country or cooped up in a dingy hotel room or sitting on a log by a river.
There is always a gem under the rubble. On our way back from living in Philadelphia we stopped in small towns that dotted the countryside. At one of the out of the way restaurants I met a Japanese woman who had been born in a cave in Okinawa during WWII. In her broken English she told a beautiful story of maternal courage that left me in tears. Our latest move (less than a week ago) has landed us next door to a multiracial couple that has been married for thirty-seven years. After bringing us firewood, we indulged in a discussion over the upshot their marriage had on their families. The husband, a former southerner whose mother picked cotton and worked for white people all of her life, thought he’d lost his mind when he announced he was marrying a pasty Caucasian. The wife’s family forbad her to marry an African American. The couple heaving social segregation of thirty-seven years ago, proved that skin color has nothing to do with compatibility. Despite my string of uproots and time constraints I stayed faithful to my writing even if merely for a few hours to tuck away these golden conversations.
Getting back to a regular writing schedule at times is indeed a hurdle. Death of a loved one or illness or finding love again elicts powerful emotions that rattle even the stealthiest of writers. Since I began this blog I have had to suppress thoughts that I should clean the toilet, put away more boxes, or phone my friend to see how she is making out in her new job. All worthy tricksters that entice me from my writing, decoyed intentions. Okay, I did make several cups of tea and checked the mail twice. The bond I have nurtured with my writing though calls me back. I leap into the saddle with renewed verve anxious to return to my beloved words.
Causes Karen Devaney Supports
Eve Ensler and any organization that deals with issues supporting women and children and the advancement of their education.