Falling in Love with the Creative Process
It begins, on a Friday at about five in the evening. My phone buzzes. Life is happening, and I am fortunate to have friends who want to share it with me. My texts have been predictable the past year: an apology followed by, "I'm staying in to write."
When I get home, the ritual unravels. First it's a vanilla cappuccino, (on bolder days an Americano). Then I stretch. If I'm feeling particularly elastic, my stretches segue into lunges and squats across the long hallway of my bedroom. After my blood circulates, I meditate, shower, and sit myself in my little blue office chair. The first thirty minutes are the toughest. The monkey in my mind swings on its wooden trapeze, back and forth, back and forth: Does Elsa want a snack?
I now have a plate of celery and a bowl of lupine beans with cumin powder in front of me. This was a good snack choice. I'm glad I'm not eating junk. Speaking of which, I wonder what the health benefits of celery and lupine beans are...Wow, now that I've read on article about this, I feel even more informed about my food choices. Let's start writing. But as I'm munching on my celery sticks, my mind drifts...I should research what to do incase I choke and there's no one else at home (you never know).
Once the monkey is finally tired of swinging, there is a serenity that begins to settle in. When the music in the background is good (I don't settle until it is), my chest vibrates with each letter I type. Stories spill. I laugh at the funny parts, pause at the more distressing ones, and labor over the slow details that I must turn into juice people will want to drink.
Meanwhile, life is still happening. I can see the tingling tree leaves sway in winter wind. I can hear heels trotting outside my front door as neighbors tend to their exciting weekend plans. My phone is out of site and on airplane mode, but there's an entire existence being uploaded every second on each of my social media platforms. And I'm melting in my little blue chair, in Byblos circa 2015 or maybe I'm writing about something more recent, straining the pulp, leaving only smooth sailing sentences.
When I wrote my first book, writing felt more like a chore than a passion. I was very disciplined, but in the way that a child who goes to Sunday school is. I never wanted to be there, but I showed up anyway because I had to. With this book, something in me has shifted. I don't think it's got as much to do with the topic as it does with my work ethic, which I've sharpened like a blade over time.
I used to want to prove something with my work–to hold a finished project up to those who doubted me and shout: "See, I had it in me! I'm not just potential, I'm credential."
But lately, I don't feel that strive anymore. I'm not angry. What pushes me is little aside of the self-satisfaction I get out of meeting my own expectations. I am rediscovering my love for solidarity, a love I'd forgotten about when I graduated high school. College life was all about socializing–the parties, the people. Always the people.
But I am falling in love with a different kind of experience now. It is very much internal. Writing isn't as thrilling or as sexy as making YouTube videos or playing music, per se. It's a private activity that doesn't get nearly as much buzz as other mediums. But that makes me love it all the more; for its low-key nuances and raw emotion. For its ability to transport me to the past, to the future, or to an era of my own making.
Like a snake shedding its skin, I feel renewed whenever I empty out an idea inside me. Regardless of who reads it, seeing it reflected back to me in the form of a poem, an article, or a book draft, feels inexplicably transcendental. Sometimes I don't see the sun for an entire day. Sometimes I don't feel the wind on my skin for forty eight hours. Sometimes I don't see a soul for seventy two hours.
But the more time you spend honing your craft, the deeper you fall in love with it. So frankly, it doesn't even matter.