I am a morning person. I feel at my personal best and most alert, clear-headed, and efficient in the wee hours of the morning when the rest of the world is still fast asleep. I feel more inspired, more aware, and more in tune with my creative side. Time-permitting (since I still have to get out the door to get to my school on time), I finally have learned to take advantage of these fleeting moments to do something that makes me happy, that sets me up for the rest of the day on the right foot.
In the past, these creative moments have resulted in baking scrumptious and sweet treats (that I wind up bringing to work, and my coworkers and students subsequently happily consume). Or exercising on our home elliptical machine while watching good (by which I mean delightfully bad) reality TV shows on Youtube. Or cranking out some pretty damn brilliant blog posts. Even some of my greatest and most successful lesson plans have been created literally a few hours before the class took place (not that I recommend this to any teacher!).
My latest kick has been devouring e-books on my Kindle Paperwhite, allowing myself to take full advantage of the backlit screen and adjustable font size, as daylight usually has not begun to shine through when I first get started. For me, reading is a joy and a pleasure, a relief and a refuge. I have previously expressed my gratitude for being literate and being able to access all types of reading material, and nothing has changed. In fact, I would even say that it has only continued to flourish and compound with time.
My most recent book du jour? A well-written work by the famous Elizabeth Gilbert, but no, not “Eat, Pray, Love.” Instead, I came across a lesser-known gem, “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.” I’m not completely sure that I remember how I found the (bootleg!) electronic version or what made it shoot to the top of my “to-read” list, but I am very glad that it worked out that way.
The title of the book is self-explanatory, but of course, it’s much deeper and inspiring than I had imagined, and far more than I could possibly express. For better or worse, it reawakened that tiny but deafening voice in my head, the one that ordered me to write, the one that had been dormant for a long time.
Shifting gears ever so slightly, some of you loyal readers may recall that I had also decided a couple of years ago that I was intent on writing a book. I had it all planned and flawlessly plotted out. The only thing left to do was to decide who would play me in the major motion picture.
But then life happened. Not just the big things, but the little things as well (it all boils down to the little things especially). And even worse, for the millionth time in my life, I became frozen in fear. Fear that I might write and write ultimately for naught (why or how, I can’t say). Fear that I would pour everything into this book and not having it reach my standards, of my book not only not being good enough, but not absolutely perfect enough. What’s that Voltaire once said? “Perfect is the enemy of good.” Yeah, I know, I know, I had heard that one a time or two, but I could not deny that I was feeling that it might be a wiser call to simply abort the project.
This is certainly not the first time that I have endeavored to complete a worthy task and then backed out. Hell, I’ve been doing that since I was a little child. But in retrospect, one of the main reasons has always been not only fear of being imperfect, but also of how my work and I might be received. And once again, not-too-distant memories of instances when I put my heart into something to have it put down come back to me. Kids are cruel, there’s no denying that, and being sensitive to a fault paired with low-self esteem and espoused by depression is a recipe for retreat and personal repression. So yeah, not only was I afraid of not being accepted by others, but I was equally afraid of not being perfect.
I was defeated and stopped in my tracks before I even started. Then and now.
I often wonder to myself, now that I am well into my thirties and have acquired hard-won life lessons and wisdom. I often wonder what might I have become if I had simply allowed myself to live creatively and to not give a damn about what other people thought and how I would be perceived?
Dammit, I don’t want to lose a single further opportunity to live creatively and to do what will make *me* happy and able to live with myself.
So I am just here to say that I am back on the horse, the bandwagon, and the book. After thinking it through, personal reflection, and completing some research, I have decided that my work in progress will be not a novel, but rather a memoir. And I know that I will not be able to truly at peace until I produce something, anything, but I have to at least give it a legit shot.
Here I go again…