Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dream Power

It has been a difficult few weeks. With fall’s arrival, I had lost the bounce in my step. The hope that so often gleamed in my eyes had dimmed. I was tired. Exhausted, actually. I had been quietly battling the dark knight of misery, who was so eager to conquer my soul, pin me down. I had to face an inconvenient truth: depression had won out.

With the support and encouragement of friends, I weathered the storm. I went to see my doctor and am, for better or for worse (and I think for the better), back on an antidepressant. I feel better, a bit more like my old self.

But through it all, I still managed to show up at the page and write. It wasn’t easy, and most days the writing felt uphill, but I wrote. Even on the most harrowing and bleak days, I at least managed to write my Morning Pages. Some days I only managed to write a paragraph or two on my work-in-progress. Or, when editing a short story, I had to reread the same line over and over again. Maybe it’s the stubbornness of dreams, but even when I feel like I’m slipping deeper into the abyss, I keep on writing.

That had me thinking this morning about the power of dreams. What has sustained me through this difficult period is that I have, steadfast and sure, held on to my dreams. There have been times when I have thought about chucking it all writing, painting, music and settling in to a more “comfortable” 9-to-5 life. But that wouldn’t be comfortable to me; it would in fact be contrary to my will. I don’t always know how to explain the impulse, the need I have to create. But when I’m at the keyboard or writing longhand, or standing in front of the easel or seated at the piano, it is then that I feel the most at peace. Like I am doing what I have been called to do.

That doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been disappointments along the way. As I writer, I have learned that there will be seasons of publishing success and periods of quiet. Some of what I write will be well-received and other works perhaps not so much. But isn’t that part of an artful life? The important thing is to keep writing, to keep practicing our art. My first novel, Freestyle Love, isn’t on The New York Times bestseller list (sometimes I feel like my book has been “lost” in the e-publishing market). There have been good reviews and not so good reviews. But I haven’t let those reviews, good or bad, define me. I’m going to keep on writing, keep on keeping on because I believe in my writing and in myself. Yes, that is the stubbornness of dreams.

When I sat down to write this morning, the sky was overcast. It was a dull, cool day that piggybacked on my mood. At the moment, the sun has burned through the clouds, brightening up the kitchen. I feel hopeful. What was it that Goethe told us? Oh, yes, this: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” I will do my best to simply be in the day at hand, and take small actions to stubbornly move my dreams along.

1 comment:

  1. I am so pleased you are creating, my dear. I look forward to experiencing more of your work!