Furlough 28

I’m at a point now where I’m open enough to except everything and not judge it too much as awesome or terrible. I still do from time to time, but that’s okay.

In these moments of non-judgment, I see The book’s potential. I get creative in those moments when I lose my ego, when I’m free. I inhabit a spirit of Play.

The next phase after rereading and note taking is the paraphrasing phase. I made a little folder of possibilities for plot and interesting questions about character.

I’m in-between creating and editing now, and it’s wonderful fun that I’m just now beginning to appreciate and respect. It’s far easier to do a thing relaxed, open, and with a sense of play than the traditional WORKWORKWORK we’ve been taught in school and from movies and books on how a writer should be.

A common phrase for me in my notes besides “oh my god this sucks” has been “interesting idea. Ponder.”

And I like this. I like the way that I’m creating this novel in such a new way, such a healthy way.

John McAvoy was talking on Dr. Chatterjee‘s podcast the other day about how we’re all on pause and what will happen when the world presses play.

This only strengthened the feeling I’d been having about me and my writing for about a week now:

I can do this.

How many more people are feeling the same way I am—that, before The Pause, I was half-heartedly dreaming of doing what I love but decided that it may not happen after all because of X, Y, Z, but then during this Pause, when things settled down, when I’ve finally been given every opportunity to show myself that I can in fact do this, that I can.

And I can tell you, it began by simply sitting down, turning everything off, and listening to myself. It goes beyond meditation practice. Even if you don’t meditate, when’s the last time you shut off your TV for the night or shut off your phone for a couple of hours or stay off the computer for half a day?

What happens when we’re taken out of modern life and placed into the Pause of rest, relaxation, stillness, and creativity?

When I first got furloughed, I had a million projects lined up. Then I got sick with it (I wasn’t tested but the chances are high that I had it). After I recovered, I was on social media constantly. I was lonely, depressed, afraid. Because I was convinced I’d gotten it, I ask felt isolated even more than ever, feeling an obligation to separate myself completely for fear of spreading it and possibly killing other people. I felt poisoned and infected.

But then slowly, I made my way to my true self, my kind self, my creative self. And what I mean is that I listened to myself. What do I want from this existence? What makes me happy? I learned many things along the way, one of them was that I learned to approach my writing in a loving willfulness instead of compulsive productivity.

And again, meditation is a practice but it’s not essential. As Cheri Huber once said, “You can reach all of these conclusions on your own if you just sit staring at a wall all day.” In her own humorous way, she’s telling us that it’s not so much about doing than undoing. This is nothing we don’t know. This is all inside of us.

This Pause is nothing but an opportunity for us all to reflect and eventually act on what is and is not essential and sincere in our lives. It has nothing to do with right or wrong. It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling and express it. It’s okay to not produce a single thing of writing from this whole Pause. What’s important for you, from now on, is the question —Does it serve me?

I promise to try my best if you will.

I promise not to beat myself up with the quick-fix hammer of Productivity if you won’t, BUT that if I do and you do too, that we’ll forgive ourselves and try to keep practicing until the day we die the art of patience and acceptance and creativity.

The days of listening to self-hate to help me write are over.

It’s time for a new way.

It’s time to Play.

And whenever the world does decide to start up again, I’ll be ready to go. I may not be confident. I’ll be scared and nervous and anxious. We all will be. But that’s okay. Deep breaths now. Ready when you are.

Create and Complete

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