Who knew I’d be around in this strange and wondrous future? It’s not quite what the Jetson’s predicted, but there’s a lot of technological and medical advances that I never could have imagined in the 1960s, when I was watching that cartoon.
Time is going by at an amazing pace, but because of what we can record and share, I can listen to any music ever recorded pretty much on demand. I can read books that are out of print on the Gutenburg Project and other websites dedicated to preserving as much history and human culture as possible. I can see art from all over the world.
Time moves forward and backwards. As I age, my memory strains to remember all it needs to. Memories swirl around in a sequence all their own. Regrets and delights from decades ago return in vivid loops. More and more I feel the need to write these old memories down, to breathe life into them, to make stories of them.
I’ve been intimidated for a long time because my memory isn’t accurate at all. I spent a lot my childhood lost in daydreams, creating an alternative world to the chaotic and abusive family life that was my reality. For years, I had epilepsy, so my memory took another hit, electric currents knocking the edges and details off of my story.
But this past year, I began working on the idea that my weaknesses may, in fact, be my strengths. Without any faith in my memory, I can indulge my imagination. The things I want to write about are based in my reality, but that reality is only a skeleton. It’s my imagination that will flesh out those old bones.
This past year, I did a lot of writing. I wrote every morning except when I was very ill or in a very foul mood. I also kept a visual journal that I carried around with me. I filled 6 composition books with writing, and 7 visual journals:
I completed a very very rough draft of a novel.
I completed one short story which I’m submitting to rejection at various literary magazines. I’ve drafted a few more stories, but have not finished revising them.
Revising is my goal for 2016. I need to spend more time at the computer and less time in the notebooks. I want to get the novel revised enough that others can read it and give feedback. After that, I want to finish a short story a month. (Working on short stories is a way to combat writer’s block with the novel.)
I don’t want to put my visual art – drawing, collage, painting – on the back burner. I want to have two front burners. We’ll see how it goes.
I know that one of my biggest enemies is fear. Fear and resistance are constant hindrances in my work. I’m going to go back and read Art and Fear, and try to move through that.
I wonder if I’m setting unreasonable goals, but I don’t think so. And if I have, I don’t care. My firm New Year’s resolution is to be unreasonable and compulsive about my creative endeavors.
I let so many things get in the way of what I want to do. If I just focus on my artistic goals, treat them like a job, I might, in fact, reach them. I feel that writing and art are important in everyone’s life. You don’t have to have publications and art shows as goals. Creating is its own reward. It deepens your life and helps you process the confusion of this strange thing we call civilization. It helps you define yourself – or at least realize that definitions are slippery and evolving things.
Earlier in my life, though, sharing stories and art were main goals. Life, finances, health changes, and fear have all gotten in the way of that. For a while, I just told stories, but I kept being enchanted by the turn of a phrase, the metaphor of a story, the way a line is written. I also need to tell stories in color, shapes and pictures.
So here I am, ready to hatch dreams and send them flying out into the world. I have to make the time to do the work – after that, whatever happens, is up to fate.
Thanks to everyone for reading my blog and leaving great comments. I hope this year brings you closer to your own goals and that you honor your stories every day.