The Tenacity to Create

26 September 2013
1:14 AM
Manila

M.–

1.
This time last year, it was as if I was in a cave. I only ventured out to write to you, to write to myself, and to go to ModPo. Every single day of that class I showed up and worked, and it was work, reading the poems. This year I am discovering something new–I am delving deeper into the community that made the course so special, that made this gathering of strangers a home, no matter how cliche that sounds.

Last year I made exactly one new friend. This year I am connecting with more people than I could possibly ever imagine. I am shaking with the knowledge.

2.
For the past few months now I have been receiving the Original Impulse newsletter by Cynthia Morris in my inbox. This morning, the advice is to pause. To take a moment to take one’s creative pulse, to “check in with what’s working, what’s not, and where we want to direct our focus now.”

She continues:

This brief pause to check in is so valuable, yet we often skip it in the drive to keep moving. Please give yourself this rich break to honor the shifts outside and inside you. Use the following questions to guide your seasonal shift reflection.

What is different for my creativity now?

What have I learned or done in the past three months that has impacted my creative work?

What do I need most for the next three months?

What can I do differently or change to feel more satisfied with my creative life?

What will I commit to for the next three months for my writing or art?

This could be a specific project or projects. This could be more of a process-oriented assignment, such as learn as much as I can about revising my own work. This could be an intention: to show up for my writing in some way every day.

I’m not yet ready to answer all these questions. I am thinking of going out tomorrow for a walk, so I can think and reflect.

3.
This afternoon, I found a sudden burst of courage to finally say hello at the Artists thread in the ModPo forums. I’ve been lurking there for a while, marveling at other people’s works, envious at their tenacity to create. Here’s part of what I wrote:

“I’m a writer—at least I can say that with conviction. Although I have wavered from time to time, I knew through and through that this is my life’s work. What I want to be—what I dream of—is to one day be brave enough to refer to myself as a poet and as an artist. At this point in time I feel it’s sacrilegious to do so—or maybe I just don’t have enough confidence yet? I know a lot of this has to do with allowing yourself, forgiving yourself, believing in yourself—but I grew up in a household where art is looked down upon and censored, and have spent most of my life trying to hide what I do, simply because ‘it’s not good enough, it won’t bring in money, it’s not practical’ et cetera. Now that I’m older I am trying to wean myself from all that, but it is still a struggle.”

I said I wanted to start building a life devoted to poetry and art. It’s something I’ve really been thinking about this year. I mean—I have probably started. I am probably even halfway there. But how does one fully evolve into a poet, an artist? And does that sound stupid, my question? I have spent most of my life fighting for this, defending this, what I do—I just want to reach that stage where I am doing it, really doing it, every single day, and owning myself, my work. Do you know what I mean?

4.
From today’s webcast:

“Poets continue to write as if the world was whole.”

— Al Filreis, 25 September 2013

This man changed my life so much. I don’t know how I’ll be able to repay him.

Goodnight,
T.

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