Image via WikipediaMy writing demons and daemons are colliding this week, and the demons were winning.
But then this morning, Deborah Heiligman left this in my inbox: a video of Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) talking in 2009 about a new way to think of creativity. I had watched the video several times when it first came out, feeling the tingle of recognition of a philosophy that had been passed to me from my grandmother. Man, did I need this reminder before I started working this morning! (Thanks, Deb!) Here Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the need to detach from our creativity - she calls for viewing creativity from an Ancient Greek or Roman lens - looking at creativity as something outside of ourselves, something God-like that is-not-us. The Greeks called them daemons, and the Romans called them geniuses. And how freeing that is. Because whether a book succeeds or fails, it is not wholly OURS.
This picture is a wonderful representation of how I feel when my demons have me in their clutches. I'm standing in the fire and my back is breaking from carrying the world on my shoulders. I'm going to drop it! All will be lost! The incessant marketing I seem to be doing for Edges still feels like I'm not doing enough, and at the same time, so much focus has been on me, leaving room for my demons to whisper in my ear: Nobody's heard of you, this is all a pipe-dream, who do you think you are anyway, why didn't you become an electrician like your friend Jude? Or a nurse like Deirdre? You should just give up, get a "real" job.
And then there's my daemons, or the tiger Solomon (tattooed on my back - an unconscious homage to Phillip Pullman and His Dark Materials?), or God, that mystical experience of something that is not me but moving through me once and a while when I write. It's why I sit down, day after day. It came on Monday, briefly, and then again on Wednesday morning, but not since then. There is something almost paranormal in all of the messiness of writing. I have known that with every fiber of my being since childhood. And it's our adult demons that block us from our daemons.
I love my daemons, but I need to appreciate what I can learn about myself from my fears. They may be out in full force when I focus on "marketing", but there are joys as well, as you know. If I put my attention on the warmth of the notion of "community" instead of the coldness of "network" and "market", seeking to widen my community through social media, my demons won't suck me into the abyss.
I am getting the hang of Twitter, I am pulling back from Facebook, and because of you, my cyber-friends, I have scheduled a trip to Richmond Virginia to visit Fountain Books in March (thank you Kristi!) and Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania to visit Barnes and Noble in April (thank you Alison!).
Breathe in daemon, breathe out demon.
And, as Jim says to Luke in Edges, "Life is too serious to be taken seriously." Lighten up!