Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Blessed Unrest

Nothing has slowed down since last week. People I love are in trouble. I'm about to go out of my skin from not writing (tomorrow I will sacrifice all things to get some words on the page. ALL THINGS).

Yet, there is love. There is light.

Here's what I actually want to tell you today, something I mentioned in passing back in late July. This is a quote from an interview that Brad Listi did of Lidia Yuknavitch on his podcast, Otherppl, on July 15.
Brad: Has it gotten any easier?

Lidia: Oh! [laughs] Here's why it doesn't get easier. So, you know, you hone your skill set. And you sort of become a stronger writer, let's say. But then what happens is the creative questions you're interested in, you reach for more challenging ones. So then you're really back at a starting place of jumping off a cliff, because innovation puts you in that novice place - back again. So there's really never a "it gets easier" point. If, if, your goal is to change and grow as you write forward. I don't think that's every writer's goal, but it's some of our goal. And so do you see what I mean? As you reach for weirder questions in your writing and you press on different artistic explorations, you're continually remaking yourself as the novice, or the space monkey, as Chuck [Palahniuk] would say. 
At some point around "really back at a starting place," I moaned aloud, noisily, and said "No no no nooooooo," and then backed it up and listened to it again and moaned some more and, later, once out of my car, I shook my tiny fist at the sky and cried why, little baby Jesus, whyyyyyy.

Because FUCK. I don't know, like from experience, but I'm pretty sure, that she's right. That there's never a point where you feel like you know what you're doing, because instead you keep twisting and turning into new and different creative places and it's always, ever, until the end of your life in letters, hard.

Which is kind of another way of saying this

The writer here is Agnes De Mille; the Martha is Martha Graham.

, but in a much less arty-farty airy-fairy way - a way that makes me actually understand what I'm in for rather than thinking Yes, let me please be good enough to feel like Martha Graham at some point.

Unrest. Evolution. Starting over as a space monkey. Challenging creative questions. Wailing out at the unfair Whatever who built me to do this job.

Why couldn't I just be a tax attorney?

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