Musings of a writer - 10/26/22
When most of us think about what we should be doing as a career, our minds go to what can do the most good, what can make the most money, or what we're naturally gifted at doing. I want to find something that most easily brings me into a state of flow. Something that makes the hours pass like minutes and doesn't leave me counting down to Friday afternoon week after week.
There's something magical about that state. The way your brain shuts off while staying so engaged, like you were born to do this one thing and stay here forever.
There's not a lot that pulls me into that state nowadays. I'm constantly fighting with my external draws: needing to get good results, needing to make money, needing to hone my skills. Is this why so many of us choose to opt for the easier state of a non-active mind? Countless hours are logged in front of the TV or computer screen. It can feel like a cheap imitation, but who am I to judge, sitting at my desk trying to find the words that flow from my fingers and onto the electronic page?
There are the people who don't write for the lack of having something to say, then there are the people who have something to say because they write. My brain and body have been pushing me to leap from one lily pad to the next, drifting closer to the shore of creative flow.
When the words don't come, make them. Sit for 30 minutes and don't let a full minute slip by without scratching unas palabras onto the page. Forced to produce, the brain frantically searches for inspiration: frustrations to vent, pleasures to extol, or simple musings to release. There's a crystal clarity that can only be felt when all the words have been dumped, like pushing air out of your lungs after you thought you'd already squeezed out everything you had.
When I search for the meaning in what I do, I'm brought back to voting season. If someone were to ask my why I vote, the answer is obvious. I care about the world around me and the systems in place and I want to have my say. Perhaps even more obvious is that my vote is but a drip in the bucket. It doesn't really matter does it? Yes, everyone has a voice. Yes, everyone should use it. No, it really doesn't make much of a difference. Will anyone care which boxes you filled in?
Spreading ideas online can feel the same. Everyone's got something to say, but who out there wants to hear it? We should have been born with two mouths and one ear instead.
I need to remind myself over and over that it's not the same. I'm not filling out pre-determined boxes on a form. The ideas and thoughts I have to share are unique. There may not be another person in the past, present, or future who thinks the exact things that I do in the exact same way. And that's pretty miraculous. Why not share? See who comes close? Build a community of unique, but adjacent thinkers? Teach someone something they would have never known otherwise?
There's an interesting imbalance in our tendencies to create and consume. I wonder if the eras of artists and philosophers and writers are behind us. Some days it seems that everyone wants the spotlight, then I look around and see that no one is doing anything besides gobbling up what others have made. Where are these makers?
Effort and friction are enemies of the creative soul. Even allowing our fingertips to float across a keyboard seems too much work, unless we're sending a witty message to a friend or potential lover. There's a comfort in the off-brand flow state that content consumption provides.
Inspiration comes in the strangest of places. Gluing yourself to an office chair and throwing your phone across the room. Looking inside your mind to see what lurks in the folds. Are we afraid of letting it out for fear of judgment? It seems strange to live in a world where we care what others think. How laughably poor our evolution serves us now. So many wirings in our brain that keep us doing this or that to avoid being eaten by saber-tooth trolls on the internet. Are our neanderthal minds not able to parse that we no longer need those fears and judgments? That it's safe to not fit in. There's security in numbers, even if only because there must be others like us out there in the billions of faces.
Reading others' words is an intimate gift. The nature of consciousness is such that one can never be sure of anything at all outside of one's own thoughts. Writing is a small flare in the dark. A cry to say, "I'm here. My thoughts exist and here they are for you to see." Writing, especially for an unknown or possibly non-existent audience amps up the reality. There's seemingly no reason to hide and change and put on the facade that's nearly inevitable when speaking face to face. There's no putting on airs. It's a simple display of being and wanting to be known.
If there's anyone out there, read and know that you're not alone.