“I blundered into creativity as blindly as any child learning to walk and see. I learned to let my senses and my Past tell me all that was somehow true.”
~ Ray Bradbury, from the introduction to Dandelion Wine
It’s been a blundering sort of week on the creative front. I’m wrapping up one project and halfway through another, and blank lines are morphing into monsters before my eyes. It’s hard to recognize my love of writing on a week when every other word comes out kicking and screaming. (Or maybe my children are the ones kicking and screaming? Everything sort of blurs into chaos when one’s husband has been away on business for two consecutive weeks.)
It’s hard for me to do this, to care deeply for my work while taking all the little demands and frustrations of life in stride. I want to WRITE, damn it!, and devour novels and watch TED talks and do yoga to meditations by Anne Lamott and immerse myself fully in the artist’s life… but every few minutes, it’s supper time again, and we have no instant food in the house (curses on nutritional menu planning), and my husband is three countries away, and the girls are murdering each other in the next room, and the house is a natural disaster in and of itself even though I just finished cleaning it, and I’m shaking with what I can only assume is hunger which makes no sense because I could swear that we in this house eat without ceasing, and once we do manage to scrounge something edible into our mouths, it will be time for the hour of brutal physical labor known as Putting The Girls To Bed, and afterwards I will be too tired to remember that I, too, need sleep, and I will stay up far too late writing emails and worrying about everything I can get my mind on, and the entire next morning will be doomed to a kind of zombie torture experience.
(I blame the horrifying length of that sentence on just having proofread a business plan. My right brain needed to stretch.)
Here’s what helps, both for my own future reference and for anyone else chafing under the interruptions of Real Life:
Permission to leave the dishes in the sink.
Forgiveness for missing the deadline.
An extra hour on the alarm.
A third coffee. With cream.
When it feels like life is pulling at me from all directions, the best thing I know to do is to cut myself some slack. Grace has a filter-down effect, you see, and the girls are much less likely to wring each other’s necks when their mother isn’t wringing her own. Along with the domestic murder rate, wailing and gnashing of teeth drop significantly when we have a package of possibly-fish sticks in the freezer. And more often than not, when I remember to let creativity down off its pedestal, it has a way of blundering straight into truth.