I am enjoying a free e book I received centered on story – what elements one must have in order to "work" – it takes me straight back to my high school english classes … 11th grade, I think.
While I was reading some of my serious writing attempts kept drifting into my view – I found myself comparing them to these stated essential elements to see if they portions measured up. The author spoke of how he was continually looking for this structure in movies and commercials, especially if he got bored, looking for what was missed or where it got off track. I felt a pang of sadness: where does he find the mental energy to always be aware of the elements of the story, and therefore be able to dissect where the advertisement went bad?
I need to add that the previous day, I visited a friend's home to look at her pottery shed, which she had generously offered to let me use if I wished. While there, my heart exploded with ideas; I cannot wait to try messing around and creating something. I borrowed a book on handmade tiles and felt a wistful whisper of the untapped creativity within me and was humbled by the enormous talent of people out there.
Add to this two complicated new skills I am endeavoring to learn and friendships that are languishing for lack of engagement.
Meanwhile, I have a dirty kitchen floor (whole house really), a section of tile that is waiting for grouting, enormous amounts of organic matter that requires raking up before the new shoots of Spring arrive, some animals that need vaccinating, and there is absolutely nothing to eat in the house, except a huge pitcher full of black beans that I am soaking. Sigh.
When I was a young person, I heard the term: Renaissance Woman (or Man) … a person who's experience spans a significant number of subjects. I liked that notion. Yet, as I grow older, it becomes increasingly difficult to live out. Mastery takes time and energy. And, as we all know, both are finite.
I have a wonderful children's book entitled The Three Questions. It is an adaptation of Tolstoy. When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do? You can see why I appreciate this story!
It is difficult to go within and honestly appraise yourself as 'not enough'. Not in a self-depreciating, low self-esteem way, but in a realistic understanding-of-our-limitedness way. I cannot practice my cello, reach out to others, cook several meals, finish my floor, take care of my animals, write my amazing publishable book all at the same time. I must choose. And saying 'yes' to one means its a 'no' to five others.
What is so maddening about this is within these three kinds of activities – ones that maintain what you have (clean the kitchen floor), develop what you are working on (practicing the cello), or creating something new (make the ceramic tiles) – each has its own rewards and limitations.
Maintainance must happen at some level, or all of life falls apart, but there's nothing to show for it and it must happen repeatedly (cooking, cleaning, etc) , so it is totally demotivating.
Skill acquisition is slow and also really feels like there is no real visible gain, until years down the road … so it is difficult to stay motivated.
Creation takes the most energy and is the most difficult to carve out and protect in terms of time. It is the most satisfying, yet it demands exclusivity (at least for me) for that time frame … and again, all my world around me crumbles … and still the friendships starve for lack of input.
And this doesn't even address the more noble things like philanthropy and service of others, which is also important to me.
You can see why I became sad …
I had a friend once tell me, "Miriam, you do not have to live out every dream today."
I need to remember this …