Week 7 & 8 - You Win Some, You Lose Some
Updated: Feb 27, 2020
Hello Dear Reader. Or Imaginary Reader I convince myself is looking at this void I shout into on the black hole that is the internet. If you are actually there, you may have noticed that I didn't post anything last week. It was a rough couple of weeks. As life tends to do, it got in the way personally, mentally, and academically. The true unholy trinity that often rears its ugly head during undergrad. I've had some slips in my path. I relapsed on my sobriety on a couple of occasions. I regressed (temporarily, fortunately) into a person I've actively worked to no longer be. But that's growth. That's being human. We slip, we fall, we regress. To err is to be human, some person far smarter than me once said. But, in spite of all that, there were only two days where I didn't write a single word. Granted, a couple of those days I had to write papers, and that took most of my writing energy for those days. That was still writing. I still used these tools I've been developed, even if not in the context of a fiction piece. One of the subjects, in particular, helped me ground myself a bit in realizing how human it is to feel as though we are only making mistakes. It was an analysis of Gide's Theseus. For those of you who don't know, Theseus is the mythic Greek figure who (among other things) slew the Minotaur in the Labyrinth at Crete, and supposedly invented democracy in Athens. Gide's take on the figure was the story as it was told from Theseus' own perspective. A mythic hero going back on his life revealing (with a heavy layer or bias and unreliability) what about his story was true, and what about his story he allowed other people to create. And even Theseus (or at least Gide's version of him) when recounting all of his heroic adventures, made significant HUMAN mistakes (some of them being highly problematic, i.e. Ariadne's mooring). He had regrets. He sacrificed everything to become the mythic figure he will forever be, and to him, the good outweighs the bad. Without everything he experienced, everything he gave up, he would never have established democracy and ostensibly changed the world forever. (The current state of democracy holds no bearing on this sentiment.) So, long winding metaphors aside, it was nice to feel that even mythic heroes can still feel as though they've made mistakes, and despite those mistakes, they still made the world a better place. Even if it is just in the imagination of a writer.
Of all of the exercises I completed over the last two weeks (I missed maybe three in total), this one stood out to me the most. It was day 50, the halfway point of the 100 Day Writing Challenge. Tim Clare asked us to focus on what it we want to do with our writing, and what it might be like if we focused not on a goal-based accomplishment system, but based on values. What we want our writing to do not only for the people who will (hopefully) one day read it, but for ourselves as we write it. I was at a particularly low point during this exercise, but I think aligning myself with my reasons for being a creative helped center me a bit. If you've made it this far, thank you. Here's the ramblings of a very sad individual who stubbornly refuses to give up or give in:
Day 50 -
I want to explore parts of myself I didn’t realize were there through my writing. I want to find universal truths, or at the very least my truths through writing. Hopefully, others can find their truths as well. Feeling a connection to the world beyond myself, a recognition that I am not alone, that we are all in this together sharing these experiences as we go through the world, even if the people I write and they read about aren’t real in the corporeal sense. They’re still real nonetheless.
When my work manifests those qualities, I feel a sense of lightness, a sense of community with the world around me. Even if I don’t get the chance to see it, people out there in the world have a reaction to the things I write as though it were happening to themselves. They feel that they can go out into the world ready to face the horrors that be, if not without fear, then at least with a sense that they can make it better, even in their own small way. I wouldn’t feel so alone, and I would feel that I am doing what I can to make the world better, to spread light through the world in this terrible time of darkness.
When it doesn’t manifest those qualities, it falls flat. But that doesn’t make me a failure. IT just means that something about what I said didn’t resonate, it didn’t hit the target of what I was trying to convey. Because I am not alone in the way that I feel, I know that for a fact. Other’s may not, but without someone being able to tell them so, they have no way of finding out. So I just have to keep trying even if that means I come up short a dozen times. Eventually, I’ll get it right.
If my creative life were a journey based on values and not goals, I would be a happier person. I wouldn’t spend every day struggling for a word count. I would instead ask myself if I brought myself joy in what I wrote. Because without the joy that I feel, it would never make its way out into the world. Without that joy, I won’t continue. Goals are fleeting things, that vanish the moment they are accomplished or are given up on if they seem to far away. If I can focus tangibly on the joy or catharsis inherent within the act of creation, I can let go of what I think I should be doing, and let myself enjoy simply being. Because I am valid, even if I don’t achieve the goals I have arbitrarily set myself. Even if I try my best, the world around me might not think it’s enough, they might think I’m a failure.
But I’m not. And that's enough for me.
I'll see you next week, Dear Imaginary Reader. You are worthwhile, and simply because you exist, you are enough. It's hard to remember that sometimes. But it's true.
Thank you, and I hope you have a wonderful day.
Weeks 7 & 8, 2/12 - 2/24: 11,266 Best Day: Monday 2/17, 2276