Jul 28 2010

Quick update, mostly writerly, with bonus discussion ?s

Published by at 11:06 pm under health,momentum,The Kid,Writing

I am recovering from all the recent travel though still more tired than I’d like.  We got the packet for The Kid’s school in the mail today, I’m excited and looking forward to all the supplies shopping!  It looks like a good balance of school and off time throughout the year.

I’ve finished two flash fiction pieces in the last two weeks, and this week I am working on another Byer Family story.  Today I wrote 4 1/2 pages on it and once again find Squirrel Byer to be one of the easiest narrative voices I’ve yet had the pleasure to write.  Plus this one is a nearly all-children cast of characters, which should excite my few but loyal fans who know my work.

So yeah, writing is slowly coming back online regularly rather than sporadically after the madness of the last couple of months of health recovery and travel and court stuff.  It’d be cool if I could get back on a daily writing schedule even before school starts.  If not, I suspect I’ll have much more time most days then.  Full-time child-care is demanding and exhausting!  But he’s a great kid, bright and inquisitive and thirsty to learn all about the world and the interesting things and people in it.  He also has interesting enough ideas that I can tell he’ll be good for my work overall, even if there’s been a few hiccups in my wordflow as we adjust to the new household member.

Interesting dialogue on several writer blogs lately about the difficulty of giving mid-career writing advice.  While I haven’t quite reached mid-career, I’ve certainly moved far beyond what a “new writer’s” group or website can provide me. The consensus so far seems to be that while new writers have to all tackle the same lessons — though the order can vary — mid-career writers have specialized along their path enough that any useful advice has to be tailored to each individual situation.

One of the biggest writing hurdles I’ve been tackling lately isn’t something I’ve seen talked about much on new writer sites, but I do think is a bit more widely-spread than just my experiences:  that is, a “block” on writing that isn’t a lack or stifling of ideas or words, but simply a lack of available energy.

Most health-normative people don’t push themselves enough to their limits that they have to learn how to carefully ration daily energy, especially in American culture.  Most, in fact, don’t use all the available energy they have in potential each day.  Over time, poor health, dietary, and exercise practices will cause that available energy to drop much closer to the low daily expended amount, but that’s a training of your body just as exercise and wellness training is.

Quite a lot of the artists I’ve met regularly push themselves to (or over) their known limits, either physically, mentally, or a combination of those and more.  Whether they have chronic health issues or are engaged in more voluntary boundary-testing, I know very few artists who have managed both an internally self-challenging and whole-health-positive worldview.

I’m trying.

I was even before cancer, but much more so after. I am blessed in that my ideas never lack; I am a fount of ever-burbling ideas, many of them good ones.  I have hardly ever encountered a “writer’s block” as I traditionally understand the term, where I couldn’t find where my words had gone or was worried about where my next good idea was coming from.

But oh my, do I know chapter, verse, and line notes about how a lack of available physical energy affects one’s ability to generate creative work.

In fact, I’ve thought so much and so long on various aspects of it that I’m not quite sure where to start writing about that topic.  So I thought I’d try asking you Fearless Readers: what interests you about this topic?  Is there something you’d like to know more specifically about my encounters with creative energy drain?  Perhap a question or three will get my thoughts moving more linearly on the subject — or at least more coherently.

Now back to the word mines (in this case literally a coal mine)!

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Quick update, mostly writerly, with bonus discussion ?s”

  1. Mary Basson 30 Jul 2010 at 6:11 pm

    From the perspective of long term chronicity in disease, one of the difficult things to deal with in working with your creativity is that when you have to use so much energy just to stay alive and so much energy to do the things you have to do then there is little to no energy left to do what you want to do. This is very apparent in regard to your writing and other creative pursuits. The physical drain is just too much and this affects the mental capacities too so you end up physically drained and mentally drained as well. The time it takes for many of us to recuperate is much, much longer than for a healthy person. It can take from hours to days. Therefore, if one hopes to execute creative prowess, one must plan ahead and/or take things in baby steps. Every opportunity one has to be productive in a creative mode must be taken. One of the most important things to consider and practice when chronically ill is to be in a positive frame of mind as much as possible and to not give in to disease and the ravages of it, physcially, mentally, and emotionally any more than absolutely necessary. Be a fighter!

  2. Mary Basson 31 Jul 2010 at 10:53 am

    This is a poem I wrote in 1992. I was ill and knew I was going to become much more so but by comparison to today I was like a healthy person. I believed these words back then and I still do.

    It was published for the first time in 1994.

    Seeing Through The Battle

    Here I am, a product of my creased and wrinkled dreams,

    scattered promises fulfilling over time.

    No happy ever after as foretold in yon wee days,

    fighting across the chasm of confusion in my mind.

    But lo, one small light in a dark valley

    evidences a gradual lightening of my blues

    and provides a beginning understanding

    for which I need no audience, I need no clues.

    Although I’ve paid the price of dreams,

    I’m ready for the challenge.

    With prayers for winds of happiness and cleansing fires of spirit,

    to find well sought alternatives on opportunity’s edge.

    Step by baby step I go, sometimes with one amiss,

    finding as I struggle forth, ah – to pay my dues,

    there lies uncovered many types of bliss.

    All are mine, just mine, from day-by-day to choose.

  3. Reesaon 31 Jul 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @Mary — yay thanks for commenting, was hoping you’d weigh in! Good sum-up of a lot of the struggle of creative-block-as-lack-of-physical energy problem, thanks. Yay sharing poetry!