Write Right Now?
They say there’s a book inside everyone. What they don’t comment on, however, is whether the book is any good or not. Having spent the last number of years dabbling in blogging, with some degree of success, I decided to try writing fiction.
Short stories, I thought, would be a good place to begin. Then when I had enough of them written, I could publish them as a book. Super. There was only one problem. It turns out I am not terribly good at writing fiction.
I have made a couple of attempts, and so far the results have been fair to middling at best. It is reminding me of the time when I first wanted to try to get fit. I decided to try to attempt running. Assuming that it would come naturally. I had only made it about 50 meters, when I realised my folly. With little choice, I swallowed my shame and returned home and back to the drawing board.
Writing, is proving to track a similar course. I was so sure it would come easily to me. That in a matter of months I would be on the best sellers list! Okay, so that’s a slight exaggeration, but you catch my drift.
Each story I have written as either been terribly generic or more auto-biographical than a short story should be. I am beginning to wonder if I lack imagination, or creativity, or both. Maybe it just isn’t for me?
Throughout the last few months, there has been no shortage of uncertainty in my life. Writing, I felt, was the one thing I could rely on. It was the one are in my life with plenty of scope. The possibilities were endless and there was no shortage of potential. Could I have been misguided?
The Hidden Legend
I have been listening to The Alchemist on audio book. It is read by Jeremy Irons and his dulcet tones are so incredibly soothing. The book itself is gorgeous. It is a real work of art. In it, Paulo Coelho, talks about your “personal legend.” He counsels that when you really want something, the whole universe conspires to make it happen for you. It is a wonderfully powerful message, but every time he repeats it, I want to scream “but what if I don’t know what I want?” “What if I never find my personal legend.”
Surely, at the age of 37. I should have some idea of what I want to be when I grow up? I have such envy for people I meet who have a clear purpose. Those among us who know precisely what path they should be on. Their personal legend might be leading them towards a certain career, a particular sporting ambition or even parenthood. The destination is not important. It is the sense of purpose that I crave.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to wake up every morning knowing what you would ultimately like to achieve. How liberating it must be not having to think about it. Not to spend sleepless nights worrying if you are doing it right.
Or could it be that this really is all there is? Perhaps my destiny is playing out exactly as it ought to. With a career in accountancy and a few entertaining, if ultimately fruitless, hobbies. Is it “normal” to experience such crises of purpose? Is it tied in to the onset of middle age?
The Next Thing Next…
For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with the “next thing.” Always seeking out the next opportunity, the shiny new challenge. Perhaps the universe is trying to tell me to stop. To sit quietly. To be still. To allow the noise and the chaos to fall away, so that the answer might reveal itself.
It’s a strange dichotomy to be happy, yet unfulfilled. It is something I have had a hard time reconciling myself to. I have a good job, a loving husband, an amazing family and great friends. Financial security appears to be within touching distance. I have been blessed with good health and am privileged to have been born a white woman in a western country. How dare I want more? Who am I to seek my personal legend?
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has come up several times during the course of my academic career. I understand that is the self-actualisation need which remains unfulfilled. I am aware that this can only present itself in the absence of all other need and as such I am grateful for it. It is the very definition of a first world problem.
In The Achelmist, we meet a crystal merchant, who has an unfulfilled duty to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. Although he has the money and the opportunity to go, he does not. Understanding that should he tick that off his bucket list, he would have no reason to keep on living. Perhaps it is that same phenomenon that keeps so many of us from achieving our ultimate goals. (Those of us who are lucky enough to have identified them.) How do we stay motivated to get out of bed, when there is no next thing?
As for me, I am not quite ready to give up on the idea of writing. I am toying with the idea of taking a creative writing course, as soon as my schedule opens up a bit. Hopefully in the second half of the year. Until then, I will keep my eyes and my heart open. Watching for omens and waiting for the king to direct me towards my treasure. Be well xxx