I know what to do, he sniffled, but I never seem to be able to get it done. I need a schedule. No, I need to go moment-by-moment and do what each moment requires. No, I need to put away childish dreams and be a grownup. No, I need to recapture the childlike wonder that made me write songs and create superheroes by the dozen. No, I need to make a to-do list and stick to it. No, I need to go where the muse takes me. No no no no no yes yes yes yes yes. All the voices talking in my brain (no, not literally, doc, give me a break) and I follow each one given whatever moment it is. Is this attention deficit disorder or simply everyday life in the new world?
Here, in the quiet of morning when the most pressing matters are a dog who needs reassurance and a cat who wonders why I don’t think it’s time for her to eat, maybe I will find the rhythm of the life I desire, the fun of it all, the characters and the stories, and here, somewhere in the middle or out on the edges, I will recapture the joy. It’s not like I don’t find it all the time (in fact, I feel it rising like the sun right now), but resting in it, moving in it, cupping the joy in my hands like a little flame that needs protection from the wind, coaxing it into a bonfire and shouting and sharing joy joy joy to the world — now THAT my friend, that is the “having fun with the writing” that I remember and I’ve heard about and that the scholarly scholar-scholars encourage when they remember to be helpful.
And then, bonfire raging and comforting warmth, dipping the torch in and coming away with light and heat and fun and stories that light the imagination and songs that ring through the ages or at least that romp across the land and words that encourage “don’t be afraid don’t be angry don’t throw that rock don’t hurl that insult don’t ignore that promising little fire that is not part of a faceless mob or group or collective or we the people” — you the person is not a people — you are not the color of your skin, but yes you are, aren’t you? You are the sum of what you have been, what you have seen and heard and tasted and smelled and touched — who you have seen and heard and tasted and smelled and touched — where you have seen and heard and tasted and smelled and touched — when you have seen and heard and tasted and smelled and touched — and why you saw and heard and tasted and smelled and touched it.
No one has done all of those things in the exact same order as you have, or I have, so stop trying to be the same as someone else and stop trying to lump everyone else into faceless groups who are supposed to act all the same. Oh, I know it’s convenient to believe you know me because of the color of my skin or the plumbing in my body or the creed I may espouse or the church I attend or not. Let people know you by your actions, I think a wise man once said, or at least those are the wise words I heard. Use words to discern who they are —interact with love and interest and darn it, have fun, because you have a life to live and you may as well enjoy it.
Did you see that, Padewan, did you see the words struggle to come out and then they started to flow and race and sprint across the page, the thoughts tumbling over each other to come out, until thoughts and words couldn’t stop, they had to push into being, spring across the room (or at least the page) and say, this this this is what I meant to say? Did you? That is the fun — that is the meaning — that is the life and the creative surge, the creative urge, the creative life, so God almighty do that as much as you can. Do that — create create create, stop trying to destroy destroy destroy, stop fighting the need to build and craft something worthy of your creative gift. Or just create and let the worth be seen another time. Some of your creations may fall short of the mark, some may sparkle just the way you intended, and some may surprise you by how they sparkle in a way you never intended. You discover by creating, by putting the words or the notes or the clay or the paint together in new and special ways that only you can create just so — because they are your one-in-a-lifetime hands (OK, two) and your one-in-a-lifetime brain and your one-in-a-lifetime soul — and use them to create, form, write, sing as only you can. Only you. Do you see what I’ve done here? I’ve shown you how you are the only one of your kind because I want you to see you as you are, a creation with the ability to create, and it’s not about color or creed or gender or any of the externals we use to define ourselves and others — it’s about the unique soul that you are, and I am, and each and every soul we meet is.
(Soon will be time to look back and see what I have written this morning.) — but not yet — resist the urge, Warren, turn off the editor and hang onto the creator-writer’s hand —
and run through fields of wildflowers and find the words that evoke the colors and the bright light and the warmth of the sun against your face that smiles and glows and oh my goodness gracious me it shines, the day shines, and an explosion of love and release and relief — here it is again, the need to joy.
(What does he fricking mean by that)
People want to be happy — “the pursuit of happiness,” remember how that’s a basic right? Seek joy, forget about being angry at, well, forget about being angry at anyone or anything: Just. Seek. JOY. Be happy, dammit! Pursue happiness! It’s your birthright! You got your life, you got your liberty, and you got your pursuit of happiness. Now, go! go! go! Live! Be free! Seek your bliss!
See what I mean NOW?
(Well, no, actually, I’m still sitting back here in the corner of my mind passing judgment on every little thing I write. I really otter stop dat.)
Take a deep breath and sing!
Make a great leap and be!
Release the joy! Release whatever it is that you’ve kept in a cage and be who that is.
There is meanness afoot in the land, and sickness and fear and all sorts of bad stuff, and it’s my duty to counter it. Not just a duty, it’s my, well, what is the word — it’s my fun, it’s my pleasure, it’s my happiness — because meanness melts in the face of kindness. Oh, it gets all nasty and angry and all, but meanness sooner or later melts or is revealed as the nasty and meaningless meanness that it always was, and in the final chapter no one wants mean and nasty to win the day anyway. Oh, you think there’s a big mean and nasty who purports to speak for me, for “my side,” for “my kind,” for the cubbyhole you’ve tucked me into? Well, bully for that bully, he doesn’t see life the way I do, any more than she speaks for you. I think I’m much more interesting than he is, and I think you have a lot more to say about you than she does. So, come on, lift the mean and nasty off your back and kick it into the trash bin, and show your love and your happy to the world.
And if you want to be angry and bitter and sad about it all, that’s your right, too, and more power to ya. But can I just point out to you that life is a pretty sweet and precious gift, and liberty is a mighty powerful wonder in itself, and the pursuit of happiness is just plain fun? And when you put all three together — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — oh my oh my oh my it’s more than triple the joy?
(Shall I write a book about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?)
You can if you like, but if you write your book WITH (not about) life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, everything else will take care of itself.
- Life — the spark of you
- Liberty — go and create
- The pursuit of happiness — go and put the happy in your creation
We hold these truths to be self-evident — but they’re not, are they? Or else we wouldn’t have to keep retelling the truths. No no no, we keep retelling because it’s not done once they’re told. You have to repeat the glory of the words for the next one, and the one after that, because some are hearing it for the first time and some have heard it before but the flame didn’t ignite the light of understanding and maybe this is the time it’ll be heard in a way that ignites that spark. You just keep telling the telling until it’s told to everyone, and the beauty of it all is that “everyone” is a whole lot of people, so you’re never quite done, and that’s not discouraging because it gives you something to do, and people like having something to do and a purpose, especially if it’s fun.
I did mention the importance of having fun, didn’t I?