As some of you know, I’ve been living in limbo this past year. Here and there, but mostly there… which is a fancy way of saying I haven’t been living anywhere.
Some writers dream of this sort of isolation. They look at their busy lives and think about the struggle they endure trying to find time for their craft. They see proverbial greener grass in the personal space and silence of being alone and far away from everything else.
But, there is more to this game than just finding the opportunity to write. I won’t list out all the places where my pages have fallen, but let’s just say I’ve done this before and I should have known better.
It’s true that during the last year I’ve written some things. I even published a story. However, it wasn’t writing like I know writing to be. It wasn’t the consuming passion of bringing characters to life or trying to shape a paragraph to fit just so. It was something more mechanical, more forced. It was something I did to keep the motor from freezing up.
Now that time is past. I am back in a home with my family and I feel a sense of my work returning to me. I see chapters flowing before me. I hear the patter of little and not so little feet as the characters creep back on stage and begin to utter bits of dialogue.
It isn’t perfectly clear yet, but it’s coming. With each box I unpack (both in the real world and in my mind), I get a bit closer.
What this tells me is something I already knew: home is where the writer’s heart lives.
Writing is a solitary art, occasionally communal but really something you do alone. Living is not, at least for me.
Life is busy and filled with distractions, but at the same time it is the distraction of life that helps to create determination in the writer. The consuming drive to write flows from the absence of time in which to accomplish it. Yes, this is a paradox but we’re talking about art here. Art is a paradox in and of itself. We do not need art to survive, but we need it to live.
But there is more, because a life lived is a something from which you derive pleasure in the distractions and here in the nooks and crannies of crashing priorities and schedules and telling bedtime stories and washing dishes and holding hands and yelling and eating dinner together and watching children grow and lives unfold… Here is where you find creativity. It seeps out of the cracks. It comes in a rush. It says, “You have more to give.”
Maybe it doesn’t work this way for everyone, but I have a suspicion that it works this way for more people than not. I think this is one reason that artists in later years produce less work. They are isolated from their creativity by the very success it creates because their lives become less cluttered with the actual art of living.
This is a little heady, I know. You’ll have to forgive me. I’m sort of wallowing in the euphoria of being Home.
Where does your Writer’s Heart live?