Transfer of power

November 05, 2008

With each year, I become less and less certain about what I am. This arises partly from the misunderstanding that what I am means what I do. And by 'do', I mean the work I've put into the world. Because, of course, everything about me is something that I'm doing or something that I've done.

And the work that I've decided to share with the world has been only the surface level of things I believe I am capable of creating. Somewhere in me is an album of music that people will resonate with, something I haven't thought of before. But until then, it's like searching in the dark for an unfamiliar shape.

Ever since I returned from tour, sprained my thumbs, and had my epic breakdown of humiliating proportions, I've been looking for a way to scratch my way back to the surface...to a place where hopefully there will be light. In an attempt to release my burden, the first thing I did after I fell to pieces was to dismantle my studio. Since sometime in September, the only things left standing in this room have been my desk with its computer, a chair to sit on, and a small bookshelf. I had to do it. To clear out the cobwebs. To signal to myself STOP.

So, for the last two months, I have been sitting in an empty room, staring at stripped white walls. I've sorted cabinets, washed countless linoleum floors, read dozens of books, and prayed that some spark of inspiration would snap me back to life. As of today, I am still waiting for the spark. However, I determined that one of the best things I could do to stay busy was to give myself a creative challenge. So I pledged myself to NaNoWriMo this year, for the first time.

What does this mean? This means that for the month of November, I'm setting aside the notion that I'm a musician and songwriter. For this month, I am a novelist; and let me assure you that over the past five days, I've been the most atrocious novelist you'll ever not-read. Because I'm not a writer any more than I am a synchronized swimmer. The sheer force of accepting the challenge to write 50,000 words in thirty days is staggering. In fact, after my first two days of writing, the only thing I can focus on is word count. My characters are thin. My plot is nonsensical. My writing would make my Kindergarten teacher proud, but no one else. Still, I splash in this new challenge like it's the deepest pool I've ever had the luxury of swimming.

It's good to know that in twenty-five days from now, I will have hot proof in my hands (or on my hard drive) of a grand fabrication of my imagination. In the meantime, I will be sloppy, wild, riddled, and reckless for the first time in a long time...creativity without boundaries; permission to make goulash out of words; an exit strategy for musical depression. It's not enough to be an artist without an instrument. I dream of being an artist without a self-critic.

And that should pretty much catch you up to date on how I'm doing. Thumbs are much improved. Improved enough to type like a chatterbox for thirty days straight. Hallelujah.

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terami - you're so cute. i loved reading this. i'm proud of everything you do and can't wait to hear/see/read everything you're going to do. i think you're a brilliant writer! hugs.

Posted by: joy | on November 14, 2008 06:32 PM

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These are my albums.
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I make them at home.

A Broke Machine
A Broke Machine, 2008
Entropy 29
Entropy 29, 2005
To the Bone
To the Bone, 2002
All Girl Band
All Girl Band, 1999
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