Friday, May 9, 2008

A Burning Desire to Create



It just so happens that every once in a while I find myself amidst the delusion of having a somewhat normal life, but it's days such as today that I am forced to realize that I will never be one with the masses. I could never be content spending a life in a cubicle or chained to a desk without knowing that I made an impact. I can only describe this wonderlust as a burning desire to create something. My life feels somewhat out of place. I sometimes feel like an artist who was mistakenly born as a construction worker. The son of a plumber, I am neither artist nor pipe fixer extraordinaire. I am a jack of all trades, with passable performances at everything I choose to do, yet I am a master of nothing.
I love to listen to music with the volume turned up high to drown out the melancholy and mundane thoughts that swirl around in my head. I sometimes chase them off with alcohol when they become too much and the static is all I can hear or feel. This is a level of honesty that some may not be comfortable with. I am comfortable with that. Is it a weakness? Not now, not yet. I don't drink regularly enough, I don't even keep the pantry well stocked with booze. Sometimes it's months upon months before a bottle shows up. I don't drink beer. I think it tastes the way sweaty feet smell. Though, if you were to offer me one, I would drink socially with you and we would have a good time.
It's days such as today that find me longing for a group of artistic friends who share my desire to make short movies, who don't find the idea of walking down the street filming an impromptu musical ridiculous, who would enjoy creating music and putting together music videos that actually say something without saying anything at all.
I long to write, but I am afraid. I find all the minute errors and failings of the stories I read and I think to myself, "I can do better than this!" In all actuality, be it truth or fiction, I actually do think I could... if only I would. But I don't. Why do I hold myself to such high standards that I don't allow anything at all to come out? My last two victories were mind-boggling. They were such grand successes because... because they were. They didn't evaporate into the ether. In that alone, they were tremendous stepping stones on a path to realizing my dreams.
I'm foolish, I know. I have lived my life thus far with the idea in my head that I was different, that somehow I was bound for greatness. I have always felt that somewhere out there was a grand purpose for my life. Does everyone else feel the same way? Is it childish to think that I could have any more impact than anyone else?
Throughout history there have been men and women who were great, not for their moral fortitude or for their contributions to humanity, but merely because they aspired and their actions reflected their aspirations. Many of our stories depict the unwilling hero, the man or woman or girl or boy who have been thrust into an adventure that has taken hold and refuses to let them go. They can press on or they can forfeit, and who wants to read about people who forfeit? But our lives seldom throw such situations at us. When they do the adventures are never quite so grand. In fact, we may forfeit without ever knowing the true impact of our decisions.

Creative Writing Prompt:
None today. If you must, use the rhapsodic flailing of pent up creativity that emerged this afternoon as a doodle just above my right knee. I get the impression that no one actually uses these prompts anyway, but because they add something visual and interesting to the posts, they remain.

9 comments:

haleyhughes said...

First off, Mr. Doodler, why aren't you participating in Doodle Week?

Second, the writing prompts are good. Keep them, please. I know that when I see them, I may not actually write, but they do send my thoughts to stirring. I think a writer has to learn to see ideas everywhere, and the prompts reinforce that lesson. And someday, just like your shower curtain, one of your prompts may generate *the* idea.

Finally, I don't think you're alone in having thoughts like you do. What you said resonates a lot with me. There is a certain level of fear with writing, with not writing as well as I think I should, so I often get my creative fixes in other mediums - mediums where I don't hold myself up to as high a standard.

Writing, like working in many art forms, can be a lonely process. That's why we seek out other writers. People who may not have the same writing styles or writing goals, but who understand the fears and frustrations that roll through a writer's head. Other creative people who understand the voices we hear, the highs that come with creation and the lows that come with procrastination.

You have to actively seek out that group of artistic friends. They make a difference. I met some of my best friends through RWA. I know that romance fiction is not your area of interest, but I also know that there are RWA members who aren't writing romance. They just come for the supportive atmosphere and the educational opportunities. I know there's a Utah chapter. :) There have to be other creative groups in your area, too.

I guess all I trying to say is know that you're not alone.

Brady Frost said...

Haley:
Oh my goodness! I meant to do that! I forgot that doodle week was, indeed, this week!
I appreciate your wisdom and insight. I hope I didn't sounds too ungrateful or bitter in my post today, I was just feeling so overwhelmed with pent up creativity and felt I had no real outlet suitable. These days come and go I suppose, but I am so glad that not all of my sentiments are mine alone.

Jena Isle said...

Yes, do keep the writing prompts. By encouraging people who feel the same way like you do, ( pent up creativity wanting to be expressed and never mind the consequences , as long as these are expressed) you are making a difference in this world.

My fear was so great, because I was afraid people would laugh at what I have written, but people like you , who read somehow, are beckoning lights who -"show the way" ( I'm not doing this properly).

What I really mean is that, the fear is great (especially to beginners like me), but I have to write -no matter - or I will perish.

Your post is a good read, do keep,posting.

Jim Murdoch said...

I'm getting old. It's official. My first response to this post was: "See you kids these days, you don't know you're born," and if I even needed proof that I'm getting on then I suppose that is it. When I started off writing there was no internet, in fact there were no computers. And I wrote pretty much in isolation. No one I knew wrote and I was considered a bit odd. Nowadays I can talk to writers all over the world day or night, just like you did, I can vent my spleen and someone will come along like Haley and do what they can to bolster you. Or you might end up with a response from an old grump like me telling you to snap out of it.

As regards not being perfect, none of us are. I spent hours and hours going over the first sentence to my first novel, adding in a word, taking it out then adding it back in again. The book's in print now and I'm still not happy with it. In Albert Camus' novel The Plague, an aspiring novelist named Joseph Grand can't progress beyond writing and rewriting ad infinitum a single sentence, the first sentence to his novel. He is convinced that if he only gets it right then the rest of the book will flow smoothly after it. The poet Paul Varley is credited with saying: "A poem is never finished, only abandoned," but he's really ripping off Leonardo da Vinci who said, "Art is never finished, only abandoned." You're never going to write the perfect book. You'll be lucky to write a perfect sentence. The thing you need to learn is when to stop playing around with what you have written in case you ruin it completely.

On the subject of greatness, that's not for you to chase. It will be thrust upon you if you deserve it whether or not you want it. From all accounts it's more trouble than it's worth. Greatness is a consequence, not an end in itself.

As for being different…? You're a minority of one, we all are. There are guys out there who can't write or paint or sculpt or express how they feel and so they beat their wives or kick their dogs or drink themselves into a stupor. You have an outlet and be grateful for it. One day it might get clogged up for good.

haleyhughes said...

What good is a blog if you can't use it to vent every now and then? :)

Laura said...

I second that Haley. :) How about a CoffeeShop Confessional post for Doodle Week?

I don't think it's just other writers we seek out. Anyone creative in whatever element, media they use is great for inspiration and ideas and keeping you going in general.

The biggest challenge in writing is to write it well enough and true enough and then to be able to let it go, imperfect, but out there for the masses to read, line bird cages, compost, etc.

Laura said...

Looks like you just had a birthday too. They often make me think too much. Happy Birthday.

Dave King said...

I can relate, oh, so easily, to your post. I sometimes think that I write because the stuff that is in my mind is so ill-formed and imperfect. Getting it down on paper is a step towards, not perfection, that is unobtainable, but a step closer to knowing yourself, maybe.

Yes, keep the writing prompts, and actually I thought the doodle was the most interesting bit of a fascinating post

Ken Armstrong said...

I can't speak for anyone else but, when i'm not writing, I can beat myself up with lots of reasons about why I'm not writing. I can stress over why I have to go to work for 45 hours a week instead of being allowed to pursue my dreams.

My best way out of such an alleyway is to write. Simply to write.

I like your writing prompts. Who knows what subliminal effect they are having on the world at large?