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Finding the Baseline. 365 Creative, January 10

January 10, 2012

I have one very beautiful thing in my favour – I write, I do something creative.
This means that when all is darkness, it isn’t. It can’t be. The way of life I have chosen allows me to take – sometimes quickly, sometimes not – any negative element and use it, change it at some level. I don’t at all subscribe to the idea that the ardent typist should dress in mourning and cultivate fake doom – that’s a form of self-harm and a waste of energy. Life will inevitably have its bleak spots without our help. Meanwhile, it can be cheering to consider that, if we survive, we’ll maybe get a sonnet on divorce, or a character with toothache, a novel which can be properly lyrical about grief, or a joke about colitis. There may be times when we end up just sticking our tongues out at reality and times when we can connect with the human condition as we never have before, maybe both. We may even have the unlooked-for pleasure of being useful to someone else who draws strength from what we’ve built.

-AL Kennedy,
“Putting Everything into Writing,” The Guardian

Today marks day 7 of being sick. I’m not relegated to bed. Not running a temp or doubling over in pain. Rather, I feel run down. I’m exhausted and congested. I wake up in the morning with that sick taste in my mouth, and it’s a struggle to get to my feet, start moving through my day.

Aside from being sick, I’ve been struggling for awhile with feeling, among other things, uninspired, unmotivated, and generally just…bleah. I alluded to it recently, and explained it in the context of how badly 2011 sucked. I was so glad to say hello to a new year! But the general funk has persisted somewhat, and I’m trying to find those proverbial bootstraps with which to yank myself back up.

They’re there. I know they are.

Then I read the article, linked above, and found a spark of inspiration. How true that the difficulties in life are rich wells of potential creativity, if we can but stop and find perspective. This piece reminded me of my own baseline, which is also writing, and how as long as I have that, I am okay.

And further, my work is ever better for the hardships and challenges I face. Sometimes, that’s the best fodder for creativity.

I’m feeling inspired to dwell here for a bit. Mine the struggles I’m working through. Perhaps, in the end, it’ll be the very best therapy!

So what are you struggling with? What’s your baseline, and how can it help you through hardship?



4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2012 7:38 pm

    A friend of mine said today, “My parents ruined my career as an author by making my childhood perfectly enjoyable.” It was a joke, but there is that grain of truth. When we experience down times, it improves our ability to express sadness or hurt. And true expression of a range of emotion and feeling is fodder for the best writing.

    All the same, I hope you feel better soon.

    • ana june permalink
      January 10, 2012 8:02 pm

      Totally agree. I look back on my own life and find so much beauty in the darkest moments. My divorce and the heartache that preceded it? Gorgeous, for it made me who I am! This is also good to remember as a mother…maybe working my butt off to pave an easy road for my kids is just not the way to go. Definitely will be exploring this more in the coming days. Thanks for stopping by, Sara!!

  2. Kelli permalink
    January 11, 2012 10:22 am

    I love you. thats all… and i hope you feel better soon!

  3. hallie permalink
    January 16, 2012 10:55 am

    I appreciate that the dark moments are part of who I am, truly. It doesn’t make this constant struggle towards health lighter, though. It’s frustrating to know that I have a mouth full of heavy metal that I can’t afford to remediate, and to have to keep focusing on the symptoms (right now I’m eating gluten-free, which helps a lot, but doesn’t address the root issue – and I won’t know if I’m gluten-intolerant in general without a working digestive system in general).

    Plus: It’s made kind of a crusader for universal health care (if I can call it ‘crusading’ when I rant at family gatherings and in pubs about the injustice), and also, I can’t believe that in the year 2012 it is still legal to fill people’s mouths with mercury! At the very least, without informed consent.

    But at least I get the benefit of being as entertaining as the mad hatter, right? HA.

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