How do you know when it’s time to move on? Is it possible to know, or do you just have to hope.
Time and time again we find ourselves in the position of asking this same question; Is this over? This question is sometimes brought about organically. Then other times we feel pushed to ask it, or inclined to desire for an answer one way or another. Of course, it is entirely possible to enjoy something from its conception through to its completion without at any point pondering that conclusive query. However, that isn’t what this conversation is about. This question applies to almost everything. Relationships, careers, friendships, social functions you didn’t even want to attend in the first place. There is a myriad of reasons. The point though, is how do you know when its over?
Is there an amount of time that you dedicate specifically? Is it until you achieve something specific? Do you ride it out until you’re miserable and can’t tell whether or not its you or them? It’s probably a mix of all of those, as well as others. I think this concept applies very directly to writing a story. Lets say you felt inspired and wrote something wonderful. It is well within human instinct to try and make it more than maybe what it was meant to be. In that case you add more, and then more. Until the story you had once perceived as beautiful has overstayed its welcome.
Perhaps you added too many chapters. Broke the story into too many different sections and you lost your direction. Alternatively it could be the characters. Their purpose was muddied and now you don’t recognize them as the ones you discovered in the beginning. How does one even start to correct that? How do you find its perfect ending? More to the point, how do you prevent yourself from forcing it past its natural conclusion to begin with? I suppose that nobody has the correct answer to a question this huge and theoretical. Which in the end is probably what makes life so interesting.
There really is no way to properly mitigate this scenario. Things will start, and will go along as they are meant to until ultimately as everything does, it stops. It is the reality of all things and in that there is comfort. The same way that you can rely on your Netflix to cut you off halfway through a satisfying binge session and ask “Are you still watching?”.
The best we can do is to remain open to possibilities of adventure. Pursue the things we desire and hope that when the story has run its course we’re able to move on seamlessly to a new chapter. Without forcing the narrative past its natural conclusion. I mean really, there is nothing worse then reading a book that loses its passion halfway through. Like those Twilight books am I right? (Is that beating a dead horse? Sorry Steph Meyer)
As a writer this topic is important to me, and as a human being trying to live life, its even more important. As it is to everyone else as well. I assume anyway, maybe there are some people who love over staying their welcome out there. Regardless, I hope that my ramblings and hopeful metaphors bring possible clarity to any of you dealing with a potential end to something important.
As always, love deeply and be weird.
This past week I posted three poems on my Instagram account and wanted to share them here. I am very proud of them and hope you find something in them that moves you. If not, then I did my best and I wish you well. If you do, then stay a while and maybe we can inspire each other.
As a writer I typically always carry a pen on me regardless of whether or not I’ll actually use it, I just believe I’ll always need it, I usually have a little notepad with me too. In the days of smartphones and tablets though I find myself using my phone now more than ever to jot down story ideas or concepts and even to craft full projects. I still absolutely adore the feeling of pen/pencil to paper, but it does feel good being able to share something with you so easily.
Thanks for reading, may these find you well and may your heart beat strong. Be kind to one another, love deeply and be weird.
I feel as though something every creative person struggles with from time to time is the concept of doing it for themselves or doing it for them. The “Them” I am referring to is the clients/employers/general population. It can be easy to get caught up in the idea of producing art or otherwise creating things for a paycheck. I mean isn’t that the dream? Being able to do what you love and being financially secure from it? At the same time though, can’t that be torturous if you wind up doing something thats only a fraction of the craft you love? Something thats diluted and watered down by the interjections of an institution of some kind? I myself do freelance writing and while I do enjoy aspects of it, I find that it takes away from the time I used to have to create in the way that I love to.
With that being said, I’m not complaining, only stating that in those situations you need to make sure you find a little bit of time to do what you truly love and balance your passion with the paycheck.
Heres my effort to do that exact thing.
I present to you Chapter one of “A Bastard’s Last Dance”.
The liquid that filled my mouth was thick and tasted of metal. My jaw was clenched tight as another fist swung into and connected with the right side of my chin. The blood I had been holding onto fled the vessel of my mouth with vigour as I fell. I landed on my left side supported by my hands and knees, the blood slowly dripping from my now open mouth. I had no words for the man standing behind me though he had plenty for me. I wasn’t altogether sure anymore why I was here on the ground. Not to say that I didn’t think I deserved to be but to say that I thought I had more fight in me. While assessing my beliefs in my combat abilities I felt the business end of a steel toe boot connect with the left side of my ribs. I am ashamed to say this is when I first cried out in pain. It wasn’t the two punches to the stomach or the two to the jaw. It wasn’t even collapsing on hands and knees in an abandoned warehouse where not one of my friends could find me. It was feeling the tip of that boot connect with my ribs and hearing the loud crack that went along with it. To clarify the audible I must confess that it wasn’t my ribs that cracked, though I imagine there are fractures. No, it was what I had placed in the inner pocket of my jacket that emitted the distressing sound that caused my outcry. The item to which I was affectionately attached had initially belonged to my father. It was his favourite watch that he had left me. The last object besides the DNA within me that connected us. I knew that the destruction of a material item such as a watch could never sever the bond or dissolve the memories I had of him. Though it was the principle of the item that I had wished to remain intact. As I rolled onto my back with the pain in my ribs pulsing through my torso I clutched my jacket where the now broken watch resided. It was neither the item or my possession of it that brought me to this low of a place both literally and metaphorically. It was something else entirely that can neither be truly possessed or otherwise owned. The man was pacing around me saying words that I both understood and didn’t agree with. He made claims of trespassing and theft though to which he referred could as I mentioned, be neither owned or possessed. As I lay in pain on the ground surrounded only by emptiness and the words of my villain, I managed to retrieve the pack of cigarettes i held in my right side pocket. He didn’t seem to care as I flipped open the lid and produced what was now a half sized cigarette presumably damaged in the struggle. I lit my small but equally as appreciated saving grace and took my first drag. I was overwhelmed with an awesome wave of calm as it soothed my aches. Intent on savouring my chemical bliss I let the smoke drift slowly through my lips as I noticed his ranting had stopped. Drawing my eyes back to his presence he stood now several feet away. All was as I’d left it save for the knife now clutched tightly in his grip.
“Well alright then”
I mumbled softly. My eyes floated back to the smoke still escaping into the world. I took another long drag, this time enjoying it more as my last. As he took another step towards me the plume of smoke I exhaled reminded me of a rose. A beautiful and elegant rose, like the very flower that got me into this mess. I closed my eyes to his advancing and basked in the memory. The warmth filled me as a pot of hot water and I floated away silently. Drifting away just me and my flower.
Alice woke up at the time she had grown accustomed to. It was 8:45 in the morning and the space in the bed beside her was empty, as she had grown accustomed to. It hadn’t always been like that, and wouldn’t much longer be that way. She rolled over in bed and stared at the calendar across from her. Today was the day he came home. It was marked in a black marker and she had memorized the date. Alice hopped out of bed quickly, with a grace and elegance that could only have been rehearsed carefully. Bounding into the ensuite washroom, she leaped into the shower, and began getting ready for the day.
Continue reading “Came Back Haunted”
A trend Ive noticed for myself personally is a sort of catch and release situation. In the way of, I save money for something, spend the money and then have to save up again. Alternatively it can go more like spend a large amount on credit, then pay it off, lather rinse repeat. The thing about this seems to be that while its avoidable, its a way of life. We as humans are constantly doing it. I know I am.
With that said, whats the solutions? I feel as though its becoming the kind of thing where we as a society don’t like doing things with our time that doesn’t result in money. I myself feel that pull. Its where art can become a confliction at times. I work a full time day job, as I’m sure all of you do too, and then in my off hours i spend many of my free hours creating art. That art has made me zero dollars, but i spend as much time on it as i could on a full time job. So where on earth is the payoff?
I think for me that payoff is in finishing something that your’e proud of, creating something thats beautiful and completely your own design. Yet, at some point isn’t the point of that to make a living? If that isn’t the endgame then what is your time being used for? Im not saying that you cant do these things purely for enjoyment without any desire for fame or fortune. Im merely wondering how that spent time weighs out in comparison. That famous quote exists for a reason ‘If your’e good at something never do it for free’. I agree with that.
So then, as people who are talented and or gifted, why are we always spending our time for zero compensation? Isn’t that just doubling down on a loss? If the banks started asking you to pay $5 for every transaction you made using your card, would it be worth it in the end? I personally love spending my time on my art, and i get endless satisfaction from it. Although, I would definitely love to turn what is currently a hobby, into a career.
Also, I know not everyone wants to make money on their art. That too is acceptable.
I think that like anything, failure is something we can find ourselves accustomed to. I don’t mean to say in the way of accepting failures; but more in the sense of never reaching for something greater, because we accept that we wont succeed. I think I became incredibly comfortable in that realm of acceptance. Became the type of person who wouldn’t reach unless I knew I could fail safely. Didn’t take any risks unless I knew there was a backup plan. I don’t think this is a great way to live.
Thankfully, I’ve found myself slowly but surely digging my way out of that. Like any comfort zone it gets difficult to truly pull yourself from the depths, yet as with most things, it only gets easier the more you actually do it. Though I may seem to be preaching I’m still no daredevil, though I would argue that I’m at least making choices. That in the end is the hardest part I think. Making the choices that actively put you out of your comfort zone and force you to sink or swim.
Without that knee jerk reaction towards survival the human race itself would never have evolved to this point. Let alone me evolving to a level of actually being able to follow through on something. Heres to taking steps, may all of you push yourselves towards something outside your comfort zone. Find that place that you dream of reaching and reach, reach, reach until you grasp.
I think that one of the most precious resources we have in this world is art. I mean, how many times do you find yourself turning to art? I myself can come up with a lengthy list. I mean who can’t? With that being said, I choose to look at art as something even more precious than gold. The only difference really being that you can create it in your basement, your spare room, your friends living room and even in no room at all.
I worry that people are becoming too easily dissuaded from creating. There is such a huge amount of art circulating out there that one might find it daunting to even think about creating something and putting it out into the crowded sea of everyone else’ work. Which I understand completely. I’m pretty afraid of it too. I mean, here I sit having just finished writing my first novel, and I have no idea what to do next. It’s worse then that though, I haven’t even told that many people. Which maybe is a good thing? I don’t know.
What I do know, is that you can’t stop creating. You have to keep going and keep doing it. Treat it like the drug you cant live without, or the support structure you rely on. No matter what just do it. Thats the one thing I’ve become absolutely certain of. Will I ever become a successful author, a famous actor, or anything related to the art world? I hope so. Should the countless possible end results affect my present dedication to my passions?
I mean what do i really know though right? This is just what works for me. Find your own thing, stick to it, love it, and live it. Please. For you.