Please Do Not Disturb: That’s how I’ve felt these past few months, and even more so these past few weeks, so immersed in the work of finishing up my second novel, that I can’t spare the time to do anything else. And when I must take time away, I feel somewhat distraught or guilty, as if I’m cheating on a lover, or playing hooky from school. Even writing this now, feels like that, although I’ve been working eight hours straight since this morning.
I do this 7 days a week now and am making enormous progress. So I’m not complaining. I’m happy, if exhausted, at the end of the day, and looking forward to the next day of writing—revising mostly now, polishing, tying up loose ends, getting it ready to send off. My husband can’t understand how I can feel so exhausted sitting in a chair all day! It’s mental exhaustion, I try to explain. My mind feels washed out after 8 hours.
Even so, it feels good. There were many years when my problem with writing was the inability to find the time to write or the discipline to stay with it so long. So this is progress.
I wrote another blog post a few years ago about being “Immersed In One’s Art” using the same image of Frankenthaler. This is what I wrote then:
There’s something immensely satisfying to see Helen Frankenthaler immersed in her art this way. I found this image on Facebook, along with the following quotation:
“I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write . . . and you know it’s a funny thing about housecleaning . . . it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectabilty) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she ‘should’ be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Why is it we women (is it only women?) too often put our personal passions last in line behind all else?
I’m trying more and more to put those passions (my writing, painting, music-making) first on my list of to-do’s. But it’s hard. Somehow even blogging comes first, although it too is writing, a kind of art-making. Or at least I try to make it so.
Perhaps because I’ve set firmer deadlines for my blog, or I see it as a commitment I’ve made, to keep this up and running, to not let readers go too long without hearing from me. And blogging is just another way for me to “riff and rapture” about the things I love, to share what inspires me with the world.
Still, to imagine myself immersed in my art as she is in this photo, surrounded by bright splashes of color, my bare legs curled beneath me on the cold floor, and that Mona Lisa smile, that dark gaze . . . it does my heart good.
Yes, it does do my heart good, to be immersed in my writing this way—Finally. But it means I’ve been blogging less these days and will probably be doing less in the coming weeks as well. But I’ll be back to “riff and rapture” again before long. I promise.
Valorie Grace Hallinan said:
Thank you for this lovely and inspiring post!!! Glad for you….
Thank you, Valorie, I really appreciate that!
Writing to Freedom said:
Kudos on making your art a priority and immersing yourself in it Deborah.
I’ve done the same thing my whole life. I kept making attempts, like getting my MFA when my kids were babies. But my own passions kept being pushed aside by the needs of the family and the individuals. It wasn’t until my last child went to college, I retired early for medical reasons, and we moved out of state that I finally started to pursue my writing more in earnest. I didn’t even know you had a book published, Deborah!
That sounds so familiar, Luanne. And look at you now! All the poetry you’ve published, and so much more. My first novel has an agent, but no publisher yet. Fingers crossed!
laura bruno lilly said:
I get it! Go for it, flower-sister. Ride that wave – dive that wave – full immersion expression.
hugs and happiness
Thanks, Laura. Hugs to you too. I’m loving your Goats Suite!
Artist Jennifer Isenhart said:
I understand this so well. Good for you! So happy for you.
Thank you. Seems there are a lot of us!
Kannon McAfee said:
It’s not just women.
It seems to be a problem for so many creative people.
Such lovely understanding and thoughtfulness for creative folks comes across beautifully, Deborah….👏👏 Fascinating read!!