“How many lives do you think you have lived?” someone asked me, and I responded “In this lifetime, I’m on seven.” I’m sure she meant previous lives, as in reincarnation in its literal meaning, but if you’re going to have a conversation with an artist you have to understand our minds work in symbols. I’m going to speak metaphorically before I speak literally. It makes more sense to do so when you consider the multifarious dynamics in life. Everything is fluid, ever changing, like narratives and lifetimes and phases, making for a rollercoaster ride in the dark.
Today I’m reflecting on how my writing process correlates to where I’m at in life. There are two time periods I’m thinking of specifically. The now, and the just before now. My most recent life was a life of being “stuck” and it took drastic measures to become unstuck. Now I’m in the life of freedom, where I can freely write and be creative (ultimately be myself) without any interference.
I was working on a collection or short stories in the previous life and I’ve since abandoned these short stories. I wasn’t sure why. I’m still not completely certain but I have a better understanding about my process during that time period and how it reeked of stagnation. I abandoned the collection of short stories because psychologically I felt my spirit drain as soon as I would go into revising the stories. Some of the stories where completed and published, like Our Dance and Time like Masks, and others were almost to completion while some still needed heavy revisions.
This collection of short stories was titled Reflections on the Water. And I had to push myself to gather these stories together. It was tremendous spiritual labor to do so. There was something that kept pulling me back. I didn’t have the same energy to revise the stories. Our Dance and Time like Masks were written with a different energy but I had written those stories in the lifetime before my last life (in the fifth life) so I had a different energy. In the sixth life, there was something vampiric keeping me from being fully submersed in my writing. I hated it.
Needless to say Reflections on the Water didn’t go anywhere. The collection sits on one of my flash drives in limbo. I don’t know what I’m going to do with the stories. Maybe they will be reincarnated into this life (following me on my writing journey), but for now I’ve left them behind. I’m not with them anymore. I’m somewhere else in a different lifetime. But I think of these stories from time to time, like thinking of an old friend from childhood.
I had even tried to gather energy for the collection through an online funding platform, Indiegogo. But I think ultimately I was trying desperately to make myself finish this collection. I was forcing the creativity or trying to do so. And if you’re an artist you know there is no making creativity do what you want it to do. It comes on days when you least expect and doesn’t when you wished it would. I think I had to relearn to allow creativity to take me over, to allow it inside, as opposed to forcing it. You may beckon the muse differently, but mine is a temperamental beast with a short fuse and I have to placate her with modesty and humility.
These days I sit with my writing and wait. I humble myself to its power. I come with more patience than I had before, maybe because I’m older or maybe because I’ve been burned by the beast and now know better. I’ve been reincarnated and my writing process has as well. I come at my stories differently than I had a few years ago. The ride in the dark has been a rollercoaster and it’s exciting to know I’m on a new path and more exciting to think of the lives to come.
(Works Cited: The images were borrowed from PxHere and Wikimedia.)