Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Knocking Down All the Excuses

“Creativity occurs in the moment,” Julia Cameron writes, “and in the moment, we are timeless.”

Led by Lyla Lindquist over at TweetSpeak Poetry, we’re reading The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. We’re recovering a lot of things in this book, and in the two chapters we’re working through today, we’re recovering a sense of strength and a sense of compassion.

The term “strength” is a bit misleading here. It is that, but it’s also about all the things we do, say and believe that prevent us from the creativity we’re capable of. And acknowledging them. And overcoming them.

Like how we allow criticism, or a thoughtless word, completely deflate us.

How we allow academia – professors and teachers – to work out their own anxieties and failures on us.

Or idiotic statements from publishing experts, like an agent at a writer’s conference: “if it doesn’t have vampires or werewolves in it, it ain’t gonna sell” (my own true story) (to my credit, I thought the statement was ridiculous when I heard it).

How we allow a single failure or loss determine everything else that happens.

Or my favorite, the one that hits closest to home:

I’m too old for that.

I’m too old to publish my first novel. I’m not 25 or 28. Publishers will totally disregard me because of my age. Publishers worship youth.

It’s all true.

And it’s all false.

The decision to publish my first novel came when I was 59. I was 60 when it was actually published. I will be 61 when the second one is published.

I am in what is probably the most creative period of my life. I watch a YouTube video, and immediately plot out a short novel. And more to the point, I write a draft of it – almost 20,000 words. (Another excuse: Who’s going to buy a short novel?)

My first and second novels are about a young man in his 20s, not an older man in his early 60s. Neither book is autobiographical. Some of my experiences inform both books; they couldn’t help but do that. But it’s almost all in the novels’ small stuff . Of course, small stuff is important, too.

It turns out I wasn’t too old to write a first novel. Or a second. Or what may follow after.

"Too busy,” “too many demands on my time,” “too tired” – they’re all excuses.

"Too old" -- another excuse. I owned it. And I kissed it goodbye. See ya!

My friend David Rupert describes a woman he met at a writers’ conference – who was 90. It was her first writers’ conference.

She wasn’t too old. She still isn’t.

When I wrote the closing Olympic ceremonies scene in Dancing Priest, I was in the moment with 23-year-old Michael Kent, holding that flag, walking around that stadium, listening to that great silence, and weeping.

“Creativity occurs in the moment,” says Cameron, “and in the moment we are timeless.”

To see more posts on these chapters of The Artist’s Way, please visit TweetSpeak Poetry today.


David Rupert said...

It never is too late to do what you have dreamed of doing. It's never too late to patch a relationship, to start a new hobby, to fix the fence, to start being a better husband or wife.

Megan Willome said...

I am 41. I don't think I'm old enough to write a novel yet. Give me 20 more years of writing & reading, and then, maybe.

Can't wait to read the sequel, Glynn!

Maureen said...

Age can never be an excuse for not writing. What would you do with all that experience?!

Martha Jane Orlando said...

Such wisdom and inspiration in your words today, Glynn. I so needed to hear this!
And, I think the knowledge and maturity that comes with age can certainly make us better writers. I am 57 and have yet to publish the first novel, but I am determined to do it.
Blessings to you!

Linda said...

This was exactly, precisely what I needed to hear today Glynn. It came like a gentle whisper.

diana said...

I cannot even tell you how much I LOVE THIS POST. Thanks, Glynn

S. Etole said...

Perhaps it's true ... "the best is yet to be."

SimplyDarlene said...

Anyway, I don't think werewolves ride bikes so it's a good thing you stuck with the dancing priest.

Happy early birthday. I am waiting for the gift of your next installment. (I talked up and sold a kindle copy of your book this weekend at the farm -- Dancing Priests and kale, who knew? ;-)