Monday, December 03, 2007

Quitting Again

Over the weekend, as I contemplated yet again whether or not I should give up writing as a career - or perhaps just stop writing, period - I looked for signs that might lead me in the right direction. My brain was mired in an emotional quagmire. I tossed out the usual desperate pleas to God: please help me, how can I do this, please give some Sign, and (of course) why me.

On Saturday I cleaned my office because my over-worked brain could not support the construction of sentences. In my pile of agendas and handouts for my writing group. I found an old page of quotes from The Sun, a fabulous magazine that has an eerie way of speaking to my personal condition. I read:

“As I look back on what I have written, I can see that the very persons who have taken away my time are those who have given me something to say.” –Katherine Paterson.

“Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression.” – Issac Bashevis Singer.

Farther down in my pile of papers, I found a copy of a 1940 Writer article by Faith Baldwin, “Advice to the Book Lorn.” “Writing is self discipline. It means sitting down and working even when you don’t feel like it, and has nothing to do with inspiration. … There are obstacles and disappointments. You’ll find that out. Everyone does. There is no standing still. This is a highly competitive profession. Even the best writers have to revise and rewrite, have to sacrifice, meet disappointment, and even rejection. No one stays in one place.”

While I was certainly uplifted at the end of my office cleaning, I was far from over my inner crisis. All that was nice, but should I simply apply at Starbucks, where I hear they have health insurance? My mood was ugly. I felt like a rabid rattlesnake. My husband and I agreed that it was best if I was alone.

The next day, I picked up the latest copy of The Sun and turned to the last page, “Sunbeams,” their page of quotations. As I read down the page of quotes about reality, illusion, and awareness, I came to this quote from Eckhart Tolle:

“The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.”

After a few equally (eerily) relevant quotes, I came to:
“Enter each day with the expectation that the happenings of the day may contain a clandestine message addressed to you personally. Expect omens, epiphanies, casual blessings, and teachers who unknowingly speak to your condition.” – Sam Keen.

I laughed out loud at that one. And while my hodge-podge collection of fortune cookie wisdom probably reflects nothing more than my longing to wring encouragement and direction out of thin air, at least it kept me writing.


Ritergal said...

Terrisa, I wonder if it's sunspots. You are not alone in suffering this seasonal malaise.

My personal prescription is a couple of weeks of knitting, baking, shopping, and generally staying away from the puter. It's called burnout!

TH Meeks said...

Just that old pesky personal life intruding into my writing - as it inevitably does into anyone's work. But I've learned to find inspiration in my desperation. :)

And those cookies sound very yummy.