Thank You

I usually think of summer as the laid back season, but not this year.  The last few weeks have been a blur of major construction projects around the home, remedial training for our two rescue dogs, and unwanted interuptions such as the seeming immanent failure of Mary’s hard drive.  There hasn’t been a lot of time for quiet reflection, so I was all the more surprised and grateful when the good people at WordPress chose a recent post of mine to be Freshly Pressed:  https://thefirstgates.com/2011/06/27/a-year-of-blogging/.  I appreciate everyone who stopped by to look and those who left a comment.  I spent some wonderful hours reading and responding to comments and looking at blogs I had never seen before.

The comments that moved me most came from other bloggers, some just starting out, who said they found encouragement in what I had written.  No feedback I have ever gotten for writing means more to me than that.  A few said they were dipping their toes in the water, afraid their writing wasn’t good enough.  I think every writer feels like that on occasion.  Here is what T.S. Eliot, my favorite 20th century poet, had to say on the matter:

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty-years –
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of
l’entre deux guerres
Trying to learn to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it.

But Eliot doesn’t stop there, and neither should we.  He goes on to say,  For us, there is only the trying.  The rest is not our business.  Elsewhere he said, Take no thought for the harvest, but only for the proper sowing. 

 At 18, in my first semester of college, I saw a phrase that has never left me:  the invocation at the start of Homer’s OdysseySing in me muse, and through me tell the story…  I remember and sometimes use that phrase because it reminds me that the ego, the small self of “me” and “mine” that worries about results is not the self that can bring them about.

Does anyone else find there is something impersonal about creativity?  It feels very much as if a muse or spirit of inspiration is there to take over the keyboard, if I can just get “me” out of the chair.  Carl Jung said it another way:  “I realized my thoughts were not really my own, but were more like animals I encountered on a walk through the forest.”

One summer when I did some freewriting every day I made a startling discovery – if I allow myself to be lousy, I seldom am.  This doesn’t mean there won’t be editing afterward if I find that one of my seed ideas is worth expanding.  It just means that while I am writing, everything goes better if I’m not looking over my own shoulder.

Several people who commented here said the same thing – their blogging took off when they realized they didn’t need to be perfect.  Thanks again to everyone who stopped by to encourage my imperfect progress!

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9 Responses to Thank You

  1. I have read only a few of your posts, but I already know that I will be subscribing and visiting you a lot.

    “Take no thought for the harvest, but only for the proper sowing.” I like that. I think it captures the reason why I started blogging and why I like to read posts. I celebrate my 1 year this July, too.

    I am not a creative writer, but my work requires me to write a lot. So much so that it was killing my love for words. Blogging gives me the chance to create without worrying about what my superior, research adviser or anyone else will think and I find pleasure reading posts by people who just love to put words together.

    Thanks for sharing. Happy writing. 🙂

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  2. chopinslut says:

    A really nice interpretation you have of the start of the Odyssey. Although not in the Greek, it’s pretty clear it’s what Homer means.

    Trying hard not to be pedantic, since I do classical antiquity as my day job!

    Would love to know your take on Hesiod’s encounter with the Muses (Theogony, line 22 ff.). Hesiod was Homer’s contemporary, although whether they knew each other is…disputed.

    cordially,

    %%robert

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  3. You were very much deserving of being freshly pressed, and again thank you for offering such a wonderful post of encouragement to those of us just starting out. I look forward to reading much more in the future!

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  4. Bravo! Again a beautifully inspired post..”Oh Muse, sing on through me..” was superb. Egolessness is the key of creativity. Your writing is your sadhana. Stick to it, Morgan. You really write so well.

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  5. Hi Morgan. I am new to your blog and to blogging in general. I struggle with looking over my own shoulder when I write. I love this: “if I allow myself to be lousy, I seldom am.” Thanks for the good advice. I’ll be back.

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    • Hi Dory. I just took a quick trip over to your blog and I wouldn’t have known you were anything other than confident if your title and comments didn’t make that clear. As for the title – if I were brave – I have a quote for you I came upon recently.

      Late to the party, I finally started reading George R.R. Martin’s, “A Game of Thrones.” In it, a seven year old boy asks his father, “Can you be scared and brave at the same time?”

      The father says, “That is the only time you can be brave.” Keep up the good work!

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  6. I love you blog…I love to write and I lvoe the way blogs bring people and writers together from all walks of life…I will definitely be staying tuned to read on…Nothing brings together the people like the written word…there is strength there…

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  7. ceciliag says:

    Yes, yes and yes.. and scared and brave at the same time describes a hero.. and we are surrounded in little quiet heros.

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