Baby Steps

As mentioned in the previous post, I am working with a creativity coach on the resistance I’m currently experiencing toward my own creative flow.  She has already been tremendously helpful, and I’m pleased that I swallowed my pride and put myself ‘out there’ for help.  Having a personality that thrives on total independence, I rarely find it easy to reach out, having pretty much been self-sufficient since the age of 9, when my parents split, effectively orphaning us.

But it’s working.

One of the things I’m learning is that I have, for whatever reasons, placed a value on my work, which removes the “neutrality” of it, opening myself up to others’ judgment…a factor I abhor.  Creativity is neutral, as are most things.  I seem to have begun placing a specific emotional value on it, which in turn made me more vulnerable to criticism, which I perceived as being judged.  As I allowed that process to flourish, it grew teeth, eventually turning on me and biting the proverbial hand that fed it.

So, as if the universe sent a sign addressed personally to me, I received an email from NARRATIVE Magazine yesterday, to which I subscribe, and as I scrolled to the bottom of the email, there was an announcement for a writing contest they were holding.  A number of months ago, I submitted one of my favorite stories to another magazine, which was declined.  Originally burdened with the working title The Year Nothing Happened, it’s long been one of those stories that haunts me…in a good way.  Haunting because I know it’s a good story.  As I read through it yesterday, I was struck again by the poignancy and the way the relationship progressed on the page.

My process is such that the titles of my work come to me long before the actual story does…and after I’d written a first draft of it years ago and saddled it with the unfortunate name mentioned above, I knew it would require another, more intriguing name.  One day, while browsing artworks in a local gallery, I was struck by an oil painting entitled, Still Life With Epiphany. At that moment, the story gained a new name, and a massive rewrite, as that title evoked such a strong creative reaction from me, it could not be ignored.

In honor of the work I’ve been doing with my coach, I dusted off the story, spruced it up a bit, and entered it into the magazine’s contest.  The sense of doom and dread that I usually felt when sending out work was blessedly absent, and even today, nearly twenty-four hours after sending it, I’m feeling no dread.

That’s a huge step for me.

In addition, I had a creatively prophetic dream in the night that I interpreted as a sure sign that I’m traveling the path I need to be traveling at this point in my life.  It’s as if a convergence of all my decisions for the past thirty years are intersecting.  Right here, right now.

It’s an awesome feeling.

Author’s note: I received this stunning little piece of astrology in my email box just now:

There’s a link between each and everything you’ve ever done and where you are now. It’s all contributed to making the present the best possible place to be. In other words, do take time to thank all of your former incarnations, both in this life and in others.

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