Winter is here in its cold, icy glory and I see that my last post was in beautiful September! Wow. The last few months have been incredibly busy. I finished another class for the graduate program that I’m in, which included writing a few short assignments, a longer essay and a presentation. I tried to write a new novel for NaNoWriMo but only made it to around 20,000 words. And work was busy too – I helped to coordinate a conference, worked on a language program, and worked away at new content for a website. I also read a lot and attended the Sweetgrass Language Conference. It was a lot of things to be doing and I enjoyed doing them, but once the holidays started, I realized just how grateful I was that many of these large, intensive projects were behind me. I decided to write this post because of two very similar dreams I had a few nights ago that have since sent me for a bit of soul searching. In both of them, I was about do something without being completely ready for it and the feeling of not being ready was a terrible one.
Despite the work on the NaNoWriMo story, I haven’t been feeling like I’ve been doing enough creative writing. Those who work full-time but are also writers will understand this, I think. At times, it is a downright painful balancing act and even though I write a lot for my work - creative writing is my favourite kind of writing. It is also completely different than writing reviews, reflections, essays, proposals, or curriculum. I definitely feed that ideas and creativity are a part of all types of writing, but with creative writing, something else is happening - something very cool. You aren’t writing to guidelines or writing within parameters or highly stylized forms. You are writing for creation itself – conjuring, playing, imagining, dreaming, and feeling. It’s fantastic. It keeps my spirit alive and happy. You see, when things slow down like they do around the holidays, I have more time to read the news. And while I am aware that there are serious things happening in this world – things that I care about deeply, one of the ways that I maintain my own hope is to take this time to play and nourish my creative self. And the more my own understanding of these issues develops, the more my art evolves and grows. But time spent away from writing is not fun. This is when doubt creeps in and for the last few weeks, I feel like there has been quite a bit of doubt lurking around.
I wanted 2013 to be a year where I did the following, as much as I could all of the time:
Write. Read. Draw. Play Piano. Write Music. Sew. Imagine. Blog. Care. Tell Stories. Speak. Help. Smile. Laugh. Let Go. Eat Well. Exercise. Drink Water. Honour Treaties. Listen. Hear. Encourage. Excite. Educate. Advocate. Empower.
Most of these things, I really did do and I think that doing these things, made 2013 one of the happiest and most productive years I’ve had in a long time. Some of these activities, I still need to learn to do better. I didn’t really sew anything in 2013 and I didn’t play as much piano as I’d like, but I am grateful that there will be more time to dive into these projects. I plan to have an awesome garden and I’d really like to learn to build a greenhouse. I still want to lower my carbon footprint and I want to get educated and find my voice on issues like the Northern Gateway pipeline approval. I have always wanted to make an anthology of stories, and I finally acquired the equipment to do so in the way I imagined. I’ve spent the last few days familiarizing myself with different software and it is everything I thought it would be and more – which is awesome. Getting to this place feels like I’ve reached an important and pivotal point and it’s not the kind of time where I want to be doubting if I really want to climb the rest of the mountain.
This year, I worked away at trying to make my dreams come true and now, I am finding that I also have to think about what my dreams really are. For the longest time, I thought I knew. I thought I knew exactly what kind of company/organization I wanted to be apart of and how it would all work. Now, at the end of a year in which there was a tremendous amount of learning, I find myself wondering if I really do know exactly what my dream is. I think I know the answer to this question, but this time to reflect is welcome because it will help me hone and re-focus my energies to achieve my goals – especially if they’ve changed a little. But I have to admit that reflecting makes me a little bit nervous. I don’t want the time to reflect to open the door to fear, or some other emotion that will make me hesitate too long to take a leap of faith, to reach out, to try to fulfill my purpose or follow my passion. I see other writers talking or tweeting about this – the fear that you aren’t good enough and that your writing isn’t good enough and I always read their strategies for overcoming this fear because it’s nice to know that fear can be defeated and I’m not alone in being scared from time to time. After all, I can say without a doubt that the best things in my life have come from being painfully honest, from taking a leap of faith, from making myself vulnerable. And really, if there was a lesson of the year, it was probably that. If I can learn to extend this lesson into my writing/creative life, I think that would make a good start.
My mom always says that the biggest gift that you can give someone is your time. This is so true. Even for our selves, I think. Last night in my dreams, I realized that I was scared to be caught off guard when certain things I wanted started to materialize. But it’s okay – I can help myself get ready. I can help others get ready too, for the things they want to do with their gifts. Time. Acceptance. Patience. Love. Hope. These are the gifts that carried me through the darker days of 2013. They are the things that will help carry me through this time of reflection now. I’m grateful for that and for knowing that somehow through it all, I will find myself ready for the future. I hope everyone who may for some reason come across these words, has an awesome, peaceful and energizing holiday before 2014 dances into our lives!
Nya:weh and happy holidays!