Run for the joy of running because your spirit cannot be contained in a walk.
Write for the joy of writing because your spirit can’t hold back the words.
Sing for the joy of singing because life has a melody and harmonies so pure and clear that it has to have music.
Speed across the page never-you-minding whether the phrase is perfect or awkward or pretty or odd, because the words have to spill out and never you mind whether they spilled out in a perfectly ordered order.
Because it’s fun to write, or it better be, because you’ve spent your life writing and the spirit who has never had fun is a sullen spirit indeed.
Attend to crasftsmanship? Craft away, child, but not until after you’ve said it all raw and full and with all the joy you can’t hold in your heart a minute more.
“Hello. My name is x and my mind wanders.”
“Hi, x,” intoned the others in the group.
“I’ve been sitting here for 20 minutes, and my head has been all over the place. I glanced at my phone until I realized what I was doing. I read some back pages of my journal, I sipped coffee, I added to the to-do list for today, and what I didn’t do until a few moments ago was write. It’s funny, because I call myself a writer. On the other hand, I recently discovered that preparing my mind to write is part of the writing process, but if all that fussing was prep, then I have prepared for 20 minutes during a period when I had 25 minutes total to write something.”
“Still,” one of the others said, “you did write something. So stop beating on yourself.”
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So far I will not be able to retire on the sales revenues from my newly published book, How to Play a Blue Guitar. I confess that I have not been especially helpful explaining what this book is.
Is it a manifesto about how to live a life of peace in a turbulent world? a cry for sanity in an insane world? a chuckle among friends? an oddball collection of diverse thoughts and fables around more or less a common theme? a serious attempt to step up and say something even if no one cares to listen? a frivolous jumble published on a sudden whim? a ponderous, jubilant shout from a man trapped in a world he never made?
Why, yes. Yes, it is. Continue reading “So what is How to Play a Blue Guitar anyway”
“You think filling six pages of a journal is going to change anything, sport?” she smirked. “No, it’s going to take more than that. It’s going to take sitting down and writing and writing and writing and writing and taxing your brain and squeezing out every last word even when you’d rather close your eyes and drift away back to sleep — especially then, when sleep calls and you want to escape so much that you can feel your soul reaching out its arms to Dreamland — but no, you’ll need to keep writing and telling the stories, because they’re all that will be left of you when that fat jiggly lump of dough has given up the ghost and your spirit jumps away into wherever spirits go when their body wears out.
“That’s what it’s going to take, sport, so stop pissing around like it’s a damn hobby. The words aren’t stamps or old coins or even rare records or key comic books. The words are your legacy, the inheritance you’re going to pass on to an unappreciative posterity, so make them count, or more important, just make them. Make the words. Do, it, I tell you! Tell the stories! Share your soul!
“But first — sigh — find out why the dog is whining …”
“You can do this,” said the life coach. (Of course he didn’t believe in life coaches, so he was talking to himself – but you knew that, didn’t you?)
“What if I don’t wanna?” said the reluctant pupil (who may or may not be the author of this piece).
“That’s The Resistance,” coach said. “Fight it.”
“Tired of fighting.”
“That’s what people often say just before they make their last push and break through and succeed.”
“Or just before they give up,” the pupil said.
“And waste everything you’ve done so far?” Continue reading “Ears into the forest”
We spend a lot of time thinking back about what happened, what could or “should” have happened, missteps made, things that didn’t get done that could have made things better, things that did get done that seem to have made things worse.
We all know something about regrets and second-guessing. If only I’d taken steps to get out of that situation long before I did; if only I’d stayed and toughed it out … if only I’d saved my money instead of spending it or going into debt … if only I’d said something; if only I’d kept my mouth shut … if only I’d carved out time to write that book; if only I’d written a better one … if only I’d done something when I had the chance; if only I hadn’t done what I did … Continue reading “If only I stopped saying ‘if only’”
Fear not, lass. It has been this cold before, and the leaves have fallen off the trees, and the waters have risen this high, and the deserts have grown so parched – and then the warm comes, and the leaves grow, and the waters recede, and rains come.
It is a cycle, you see, and nothing good or bad continues and remains unchanging. Do not fear the change, but prepare for the next phase of the cycle. Understand the patterns and don’t be alarmed when the change comes. Night follows day, cold follows warmth and back to cold and back to warm. Continue reading “The cycle and the sharing”