Holy shit, it is 2018. And I haven’t written anything for my alchemy of words blog in a really, really long time. Forgive me, I’ve been working on a bunch of other things. Really. Namely, shopping around my second novel, Painted Oxen, and working on other avenues of platform-building and tribe-gathering.
Also, last year was a tough one for me, like I know it was for many of you. First there was the perpetual disappointment of the political news, with its daily heartbreak and outrage and no time to recover before the next day’s atrocity was splattered on the sidewalk in front of us.
There were also numerous creative disappointments in my life. In the last year or more, my second novel was either rejected or ignored by approximately 40 literary agents and at least a dozen small publishers. A video project I had nurtured for more than a year and was co-developing for television lost its momentum and fell apart. A substantial funding proposal for my son’s wonderful little school — that I worked on for nearly a year — has also gone unanswered. And I decided to take a break from my monthly essay column in Reno Tahoe Tonight Magazine – a bridge that kept me connected to you every month for the last 6 years.
And so, truthfully, I find myself at the beginning of 2018 a little bit lost. The blank page can be a bit terrifying. I know what I need to do, break out the colors and start painting my new year. Otherwise, instead of living into the year I’ve created, the year will just happen to me. And it may not look anything like I want.
A new year always gives us the opportunity to hit the giant reset button. We’re supposed to be excited about wiping the slate clean and starting fresh. But I can’t seem to get rid of the virtual hangover from the mess that was the last twelve months. So instead of eagerly reaching for the metaphoric paints and brushes, I’m doubting myself, my voice, and my creative vision.
I’m not saying that so you’ll break out the streamers for my pity party. I know it happens to most of us from time to time. I’m just saying that’s my jump-off point for 2018. So, what to do from here?
The one point of clarity I have is that I need to remix my world. And though I’m not sure of all the sounds and colors yet, it will look something like this: (1) Write more, whether I share it or not; (2) Find a vehicle to bring Painted Oxen to life for you, even if it looks like self-publishing; (3) Build my tribe; (4) Stop talking and reading about mindfulness and start living it; (5) Stop doing the same thing every day and expecting a different result; and (6) Make the choice to be happy. Every day.
And yes, I am not there right now. And I could have waited to write this until I was there. But that wouldn’t help those of you in the same place as me right now. Our words are bridges to each other. And I want to continue to build those bridges.
Those of you who wish to join me, let’s resolve to remember this: The world is a messy place. A sometimes dark and daunting place. And we will all sometimes feel like giving up is all there is left to do. But just don’t. Remember that the world is also beautiful, and kind, and sublime. Even if we can’t see or feel or believe any of those things. Just know that it is.
Have the courage to sit down at the blank page, the white canvas, the lump of clay. Be brave enough to spill some ink on the paper, to touch the brush to the canvas, to get your hands in that messy clay. And to just keep doing it, no matter what happens at first. If you show up often enough, your world will start to change. Because you will start to change.
I invite you to join me. And like the great man said, let’s be the change.