Rekindling the romance.


Let me preface this post by saying, first of all:  I know I am exceedingly blessed right now to have the time I have to cultivate my artistic bent.  I am absolutely the person who gets busy and stops blogging, who stops making time for everything I love doing. I currently have the luxury of not much in the way.  No kids, no distractions, no 8-5 job. If you work full time, go to school, or have little ones (or both, or all three!) and still find time to pursue your passions, I am so impressed and inspired by you. But if you’re an artist who has been ignoring that need, you need to read Jen Gresham’s post, “Making Time To Make it Happen,” right now. Please read with a guarded heart, and know that if you are doing all you can, you are already doing enough. This is my response to her article.

Making it happen.  Rekindling the romance.  Becoming a doer and a dreamer. 

Jen Gresham’s post last week at Everyday Bright was so timely for me.  In it, she compares dreaming without doing to flirting; you like an idea, but it’s not infatuation, and it’s certainly not love – the type you can’t stop thinking about.

Thinking about this is uncomfortable for me.  It’s easy for me to flirt with ideas. I admire them from afar, without committing. Like checking someone out across a room, I might like how the idea looks, what it does, what it can do for me, or how it makes me feel.  But I give very little thought to the parts of it that are hard to love, the difficulty and risk of getting to know it intimately, the hurting parts of myself I ignore and might have to face.  I just don’t go there.  In fact, in most areas I just plain don’t like commitment at all.

Here are just a couple ideas I have admired from afar but have not committed to:

Writing a book of poetry
Writing a novel
Playing piano consistently, without a teacher

My totally lame excuse, usually? “I don’t have time.” (This generally translates to fear.) Jen’s words are convicting:  “You either need a new dream or renewed vows.  What you probably don’t need is more time.”

I notoriously fail to finish what I start.  (You know this, I’m sure.  I have started so many blog series that went nowhere, and even promised two-part posts that only ended up having one part! Last year’s NaNoWriMo attempt was another horrendous failure.)

And I don’t want a new dream.  I almost want to curl up and cry just thinking about giving up on mine.

So, here’s what I’m doing:
I’m making a commitment to my dreams.

This is not a promise to write a novel or a book of poems.  I’m not ready for that. The last few years I have more or less ignored even my ability to write one poem.  This is a commitment to courting my creativity.  And I know I can follow through with it, because I finally want to.

What will this look like?  Reading fiction and poetry, seeking out new and inspiring music, listening to music and lyrics intentionally, playing the piano, being crafty, singing, dancing in my living room, journaling my day (I journal my prayers, and I love this practice, but sometimes I neglect writing about what’s going on in my daily life), keeping a notebook with me at all times to catch inspiration, crocheting, knitting, sewing, and painting.

And some reminders for myself, from my journal this morning:

1. Don’t shy from sadness. And don’t wallow in it.

I tend to do one or the other.  I need to find a place where I can acknowledge sadness while setting my mind on hope.

2. Don’t overthink. Don’t underthink.

Let creativity happen naturally, then make an effort to complete it.

3. It will be easier the more you do it. This all still lives in you, somewhere.

Oh, I hope.

4. It can glorify God and be messy.

God is not afraid of the unkempt places in my soul, and he can redeem them through any means, including art.

It feels very strange to purposefully dedicate a part of my day to something like knitting — even if it’s a small part.  I’m already nervous about the guilt I’ll feel in enjoying it.  I know I’ll have to remind myself that this is an important part of gaining back what I’ve lost by living as though creativity is unimportant in my life — a belief that has been slowly suffocating me.

And on this rainy day, since I can’t cuddle with Eric, not much sounds better than getting cozy with my other favorites: Kieran, a cup of tea, and Papa Hemingway.

Which passions need your attention?  How are you going to fan the flame?


Tags: , ,

  • Jen Gresham

    Good for you for committing! I think you are absolutely right–now is not the time to commit to a full-length book of poems. But I do think you could commit to writing a snippet of poetry every day. Don’t worry about making it perfect or publishable. Just write whatever comes to you, or if nothing comes to you, write a poem about what you’ve done that day. Read, read, read (the most important piece to writing that most ignore). And above all, BE NICE TO YOURSELF. It’s hard to be creative when you are always beating yourself up about something. And yes, snuggle that cat like there is nothing to do all day long. If that isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is! Best wishes!

    • brynna

      Jen, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. You are an inspiration to me and to many others!