Quest2016 Finishing Line? Let’s pretend.
Imagine yourself on a specific day late in 2016. You reside in a comfortable place where you can reflect on your wondrous best self’s year. You’ve engaged in Symphonic Activities this year. You’ve been a Dextrous Creative engaged with key challenges and obstacles this year. And you’ve applied Rhythmic Creative Actions day after to help make your vision happen.
Tall Order! ‘wondrous, dextrous, Symphonic, best self’! I confess that makes me quail!
Okay I’ll play that hand you dealt.
Let’s set it in September, and late sunlight on my terrace. It requires some stretched imagination from where I am standing. Where I’m standing is devoid of confidence, with little belief in energy to play symphonic anything. Let that go. I find myself with a new book published, perhaps the novel, perhaps a collection of short stories that highlight the gulf between New World and Old World characters and the lives they live; exposing assumptions that the natives never question. Somehow there is a modest group anxious to read it.
How they sidled in I have no idea, but I get enthusiastic cheer-leading, and emails of appreciation. My republished book of poetic narrative has somehow happened and seems to be garnering readers who listen to my short readings (those have mastered recording and editing!) and ask for more of them. I am not making money but I am no longer losing it, and I have (blissfully) stopped listening to marketing ‘Webinars’ The very word has been forgotten. ( While I think of it I have had a successful campaign banning all hybrid words like webinar and authorpreneur that should find no place in literary circles!) I am reconciled to modest support, but that has enabled me to go on writing for myself. I am part way through a memoir and it is going well.
But you haven’t done it alone. Why would you?
Imagine yourself as part of a Creative Pack. How does your body and mind and heart feel to be part of this pack? How is your best self engaged and respected? How has your best self grown as a result? How has at least one of your Creative Packs been instrumental in the success of your Symphonic Activities this year.
Much more difficult to conceive. My books are about ideas. That’s all. No ‘how to’s, no lists, no ‘methods’ no benefits beyond ideas. I am viscerally averse to any kind of proselytizing because essentially I believe people find what they need, and who am I to say they need what I am about. This is my greatest impediment to pack formation! The only ‘Pack’ would arise because others did find such ideas transformative. I have a few who loyally support me, but even they admit I am a hard sell. No series, no hooks, no romance. Who I am and what I’m about is not easy, especially not for me!
Who has been a key player in your Smooth Running Pack? Your Nourish Pack? Your Wild Pack?
Since this is an imaginative exercise I’ll let rip on the impossible. I have found a publisher who believes in me and puts real energy into helping me help myself. Dream on! But my husband who never wavers in support and eats indifferent food without complaint is still alive! My daughter still reads and critiques everything I write, and boosts me daily. That happens now and will continue. More I do not risk asking for.
I have met a couple of wild pack wolves who seem inclined to understand, and growl at all attackers on my behalf for there are a few of those. I have learned not to mind the suggestions that ‘if only you wrote…..’(fill in as appropriate) The ladybirds still land daily on my keyboard to encourage when I’m stuck. My symphony is scored for solo flute, cello and violin and can be played without great resources or space.
I have been through Artmark and extracted something that binds it all together, self acceptance, and a way to straddle with dignity. Straddle is an undignified skill and it is the only one I claim. It began on a horse at six, and seemed to set the psychological position, foot in both camps but never on a fence. The only essence in everything I write about, think about, is an ability to reconcile, and see both sides. But in September 2016 I have learned, at last, to do it for myself! I have accepted solitude as the basis for occasional interruption, and keep a fire burning and Prosecco in the fridge.
How have you reached out through friendships, social media, and conferences to do so?
I have tamed the belief that social media are an answer in themselves. I have interacted with those with whom I sense a kindred and spontaneous warmth, but learned to limit the time spent browsing or anticipating reciprocity. I have learned to respect the liberty of others to be indifferent, or simply busy, by getting busy too.
What key attitudes and principles guided you as you formed, grew, or changed your Packs?
To simply be grateful for what was genuine exchange. I will be happy with a few friends where friendship is the mark of shared interests or enthusiasms. Numbers will never be important, nor strategies where numbers are the goal. My attitude will get closer to accepting my age rather than defying it, and accepting that not everybody wants to be ‘challenged’ or concentrate for more than eight minutes, so I will offer snacks when appropriate.