This year my birthday is 12/12/12, the last time in this century that such a triple digit date will occur, and according to the ancient Mayans, it is supposed to be a day that begins a complete spiritual transformation. While not expecting any miracles today, I do find it interesting that in the last few days before my numerically special birthday I've gathered a few seeds of that could grow into something significant.
About a month ago I wrote about one of my writing quandaries: what can I consider "real" writing? Should I count the writing I do for my teaching job as part of my writing regimen? I received loads of advice from people who all basically told me that I should change the way I view the place writing takes in my life. Of course, being a stubborn first-born I didn't really listen to them. Or maybe like many people, I needed to hear this lesson over and over before I could figure out how to listen to them. So now I've been hit over head a few more times -- and finally the message has gotten through.
First I received a post from one of the blogs I follow: Writing Through Life by Amber Lea Starfire. Titled Blogtalk: A Writer's Attitude this post discussed the same issue I have been struggling with: should all the writing I do that is not "creative" count as part of my writing life. Ms. Starfire says yes! Her advice has encouraged me to pay more attention to all the writing I do thoughout my days and make sure that I work to craft everything I write with attention and care.
Then I found a link to a beautiful video created by David Shiyang Liu that is based on a lecture by Ira Glass: Ira Glass on Storytelling. Glass discussed the dilemma that a beginner in any field faces: that the craft she produces cannot come close to her aspirations. Instead, the beginner artist must persevere in spite of the disparity between her ability and the ideal to which she aspires. While not technically a beginner in the writing field, like most writers I know, I do suffer from writer-doubt. So it was good to hear encouragement - once again - about not letting imperfections stifle my writing. While I know all this, sometimes I need to be reminded.
And the final piece to the puzzle came together when a friend shared an article on Facebook: The Art of Being Still by Silas House published in the NYTimes.com Opinion Pages. In this article, House offered advice on learning to cultivate what he calls a stillness of mind that would enable me to go through the day observing the world from a writer's point of view. By doing this, writers can consider themselves as writing everyday even when not physically putting words to paper. While it would be tempting to take advantage of this technique to the exclusion of actual writing, I decided to try it that very day. While driving to a friend's house, I practiced my stillness of mind. During that 30 minute drive, I thought about several new ideas for a memoir piece I've started including some inspired on the weather I contemplated that day.
I also got the idea for this blog post. So happy birthday to me.