What makes me think I can write? Why do I even dare call myself an artist of any kind (the label is a badge; oh yes it is, and one of the main ingredients of coolness which is why I covet it so)? There are days (like today) when everything I jot down is quite simply, just painfully awful. And I just want to curl up in a little ball and make Alternative Life Plans that have less to do with creative pursuits, and more to do with raising eight cats, or watching other people’s children.
Many years ago, a musician friend and I were fantasizing about our future fantastic rockstar selves over really bad coffee while the entire In Uteroalbum played softly in the background. I rambled on and on about the plot of my pending Great Breakthrough Novel; he rambled on and on about his ideas for The Great Breakthrough Indie Film he would write, produce, and direct.
“Dude. You have a muse,” he said, squinting as he sucked deeply on his cigarette. (He said it in the same way someone might say “Dude, you have a flake of dandruff on your shoulder.” Matter-of-factly with a touch of gentle concern. Or warning, even.)
“Seriously. Dude. If you don’t listen to what she says, she’ll go find someone else.”
I believed him. Still do. And then I stumbled upon this video. Elizabeth Gilbert shares her theory about creativity, which came to her as she pondered what she calls the “freakish” success of her novel Eat Pray Love.
What goes around once comes back again, and then kicks you right in the butt.