Living with Intention: A Work in Progress

“The writing life isn’t just filled with predictable uncertainties but with the awareness that we are always starting over again. That everything we ever write will be flawed. We may have written one book, or many, but all we know — if we know anything at all — is how to write the book we’re writing. All novels are failures. Perfection itself would be a failure. All we can hope is that we will fail better. That we won’t succumb to fear of the unknown. That we will not fall prey to the easy enchantments of repeating what may have worked in the past. I try to remember that the job — as well as the plight, and the unexpected joy — of the artist is to embrace uncertainty, to be sharpened and honed by it. To be birthed by it. Each time we come to the end of a piece of work, we have failed as we have leapt — spectacularly, brazenly — into the unknown.”

—Dani Shapiro*

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Two weeks ago I wrote about how I’m trying to practice mindfulness to revive my creative self and I’m doing so by spending my time intentionally. However the goal as expanded and evolved into a process of becoming the best person I can be. It sounds trite but I am really pushing myself more than I ever have. I’m running 5k three times a week, I’m learning accounting when I’ve never thought of myself as a “math/numbers person” and I am also rekindling my affair with literary giants, by which I mean I’ve started voraciously reading fiction again. I just finished Walter Mosley’s Devil in A Blue Dress and am now reading Samuel Beckett’s Three Novels: Malloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable with a side of Sylvia Plath’s Ariel. 

It’s going well, but it’s also challenging, especially working full-time and maintaining a social life. Nevertheless, I feel capable, clear headed and motivated to keep going. It’s exciting being on the brink of potential and I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can from the experience.

As for creativity specifically, I’ve been planning a photography series and I’ve also started writing fiction and poetry in short bursts. I’d like to work toward writing more consistently but fear of failure has always been a hindrance to my creativity, which is why I introduced this post with the Dani Shapiro quote (I love the quote so much, I think I might print it out or write it somewhere to keep it with me as a pre-during-and-post-writing pep talk).

By pushing myself to do things I’ve never done, I am learning that I am greater than my fear and that limitations are just starting points toward greatness.

I’ll let you know how the rest goes.

*Quote Source: I found this quote on the wonderful, Brain Pickings, which, in addition to the quote, shares an interview Dani Shapiro has with Design Matters on writing, living a creative life, and living with presence. Click through the link to listen. It’s well worth your while. 

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