Monday, September 23, 2013

Hear the Artist in Me Roar!

The other day (last Saturday in fact, 21 September), on a flight from Toronto to Saskatoon, I found myself thinking about my last blog entry, “Restlessness.” I had been thrown off my game last week because restlessness had tackled me the way the ball carrier in a game of rugby is brought to the ground. I felt hopeless. I was caught somewhere between the mountain and the valley, stuck. Immobile. Since then something has shifted, thankfully, and I’m inching my way back up the mountain. I’ve got my groove back.

Last week I finished the rewrite of a novel. The process was, at times, long and daunting. Some chapters held up really well while others required a complete, from the top, overhaul. I’m not naïve. While this rewrite is done, I know the manuscript still needs some work. So, for the moment, I will let the manuscript rest before tackling it again.

But I finished something. And that felt good. Often I find myself moving about from one project to the next, and it’s that back and forth between projects that I know can break my focus particularly when I’m in the middle of a challenging rewrite. I try to tell myself, “Worry about the short story or essay later. Finish what you’ve started.” But there’s something novel about starting a new piece, or going back to another that has been tucked away in a drawer collecting dust.

Witnessing a novel or a series of paintings or a musical composition come full circle gives perspective. A completed project offers reassurance, when doubt lingers large and heavy, that I am in fact on the right path. I’m reminded that I have heeded the call of what it is I feel compelled to do in life. It reinforces in the face of rejection and the resulting doubt about my talent that may manifest the artist in me. The finished novel or series of paintings or musical composition says, loud and clear, “I’m an artist, hear me roar!”

Finishing something says whether I’m restless or surviving a long period of drought that I’ve showed up at the page, the easel, or the piano, and that I’ve dared to be faithful to who I am. I’ve succeeded at navigating through whatever hurdles that stood before me.

Finishing something proves that I am resilient, and that I have taken to heart what Goethe told us: “Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin in. Action has magic, grace and power in it.”

1 comment:

  1. Keep at it! I know you will navigate the waters successfully.