Lately my mantra has been something more along the lines of: Relax and watch TV. I hung this poster next to my desk at work, but every day when I leave work I'm thinking something along the lines of "I can't wait to go home and watch (insert latest TV show obsession here - lately it's been the Good Wife)." Or I get out from in front of one computer and sit in front of another, losing countless hours to the wonders of the Internet. And I love the Internet, you know I do, but sometimes you just need to get out and do something.
I brought a few of my books home from Vancouver with me, notably The War of Art. My friend Claire recommended this book to me a couple of summers ago, when I was back in Vancouver feeling bored and lethargic, unable to do the things I wanted to do. Mostly, write. I've always wanted to write. I've always written, actually - and still do: blogs, journals, random notes on the world. But only very rarely do I turn these notes into formal... creations. So I brought this book all about conquering your inner creative demon - resistance - back with me, and on Thursday morning I tucked it into my bag to read on the streetcar on the way to work.
When I pulled the book out of my bag, I realized something: reading about being creative is not the solution. If anything, reading about being creative is part of the problem. I've spent a long time claiming that every creator needs a fallow period, and that all of the consuming that I've been doing - the movie marathons and stacks of books and meandering paths through the Internets - has been so that ultimately I will reach a point of glorious creativity. That I will fill up the cup of my life until finally it overflows, and all of the ideas I've had will rush out, so many perfectly formed stories and screenplays and novels and songs. That eventually I will dance around huge green fields with rainbows (yes, multiple rainbows) in the sky and streams of creation shooting from my fingertips like Jubilee's fireworks.
I think I've been deluding myself.
I think that in order to create great things you might actually need to... try.
So I'm going to do something radical.
I'm going to try. I'm not giving myself a choice. I'm cutting out everything else I would otherwise be doing.
No TV. No movies. No books. No Internet (well, little bits of Internet. For specific things. Like how to cook basmati rice. But no doodling around the Internet for hours like I usually do). And no restaurants. Because I'm tired of consuming, and I want to spend some time creating. I'm allowed to do anything active - write, draw, play games, sing, dance, cook, talk... I'm still debating as to whether doing crosswords is allowed. We'll see how desperate I get.
Oh - listening to music is allowed. Because it doesn't feel the same.
I decided all of this on Thursday morning, in a burst of what some might call inspiration and others might call folly. It's not something I spent much time thinking about, and if I had I might have decided against the idea. When I got home from work that night I looked around, feeling a little bit lost. I cleaned the apartment. I made dinner. I fell asleep waiting for my roommate to get home from Vancouver late that night, because I didn't have anything to occupy my attention.
I'm on day three of my experiment. I don't think the depth of it has hit me. I have noticed that I take more time with the things I do, and that I'm listening to my body a little bit more.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I'm going to fill my days. So far I'm planning on learning how to shuffle cards properly, doing some gluten free baking (this life diet coincides with a post-Vancouver/Christmas detox), writing, finding a new craft to try, having band practices with Sally, making a stop motion fashion film, writing some haiku, and all kinds of exciting things. I'll probably blog about it (because blogging is allowed - yay). I'm currently in the hopeful, sort of excited stage, which is interspersed with moments of bewilderment.
Many moments of bewilderment.