I lost it during a week that was, well, let me say, NOT one of my best. It all started with my birthday and for some reason, as I look back, my birthdays have not been great days for quite some time. For reasons too personal to ever publicly acknowledge, I find myself in a dark place on that day and for a few days following and prefer to acknowledge the happiness and pride of the day before mine, it being the birthday of my first-born granddaughter and the same day, the birthday of one of my closest friends.
So, when my "big day" rolled around this year, it brought me to a place where I became filled with anxiety about my role in life, made me think about the worth of all my creative efforts. I did a lot of soul searching, a massive cleaning up,throwing out un-attaching and wondering. What? Who? Where? And, it was all too much so, one by one, I cast aside the things that were making me anxious and I allowed the season of hibernation to bring me along. I decided to let the writers write, the artists do their art, and I sat back and settled into an easier world and became a home-maker and I rebuilt my nest....just in time for the gigantic disruption of a blizzard. And, I was ready, so ready for this one despite the fear of losing power and warmth. The snow came, the power remained on. We were warm and I felt in control the entire time, my mind un-cluttered by those very things that I had thought I needed to do to make me "happy", and by the time the storm had ended and it was safe to venture out, I had realized that the Universe had been kind and that I had been given the best possible birthday gifts of peace and tranquility and permission to just "be".
During my down-time, I thought, every day, about the time that I had to myself now that I was not in creative pursuit mode. I did more reading, allowing the creativity of others to fill my empty spaces. My house is clean, closets have been re-organized, menus have been planned, futures have been discussed and more snow has fallen, and I've had time to think without the monkeys swinging in my brain and I've wondered.....why do writers write? And, most importantly, "am I a writer?". So, I went on a quest to find answers and came up with a basket full of explanations. Each writer, it seems, has his or her own motive. Here's the one that got me back up and running, from Mary Gattskill's list of motivations.....
An impulse for empathy and for giving voice to the marginalized
To reveal and restore things that I feel might be ignored or disregarded. I was once at a coffee shop eating breakfast alone when I noticed a woman standing and talking to a table of people. She was young but prematurely aged, with badly dyed hair and lined skin. She was smiling and joking, but her body had a collapsed, defeated posture that looked deeply habitual. Her spine was curled, her head was slightly receded, and her shoulders were pulled down in a static flinch. She expressed herself loudly and crudely, but also diffidently. She talked like she was a joke. But there was something else to her, something pushing up against the defeat, a sweet, tough, humorous vitality that I could almost see running up her center. I realized that if I hadn't looked closely, I would not have really seen this woman, that I would not have seen what was most human and lively in her. I wondered how many people saw it, or even if she herself saw it…
That kind of small, new, unrecognized thing is very tender to me, and I hate it when it gets ignored or mistaken for something ugly. I want to acknowledge and nurture it, but I usually leave it very small in the stories. I do that because I think part of the human puzzle is in the delicacy of those moments or phenomena, contrasted with the ignorance and lack of feeling we are subject to.
And so, I'm awake again. I know who I am and why it is so important for me to keep writing, not to be a "great" writer, to just be "good enough", but to keep putting it out there, if only as a gift for birthdays, other birthdays, my own birthday.
For my granddaughter, I want you to always have empathy and to forever lend your voice to the marginalized., to lead your life looking closely, seeing the delicacies and restoring those things that you feel might be ignored or disregarded.
P.S. I got my mojo back.