Eventually we all look up and understand that the only thing that matters to us is how we feel. How we feel is more important than where we are or what we’re doing. It’s more important than who we’re with or how much money we have. It’s more important than rejection letters or acceptance letters, sales or reviews, friends or enemies. In fact, it is not even accurate to say it’s more important, because that would imply that those other things have importance, which in fact they do not. Like so much that has been useful to me, this understanding runs in exact contrast to the narrative by which I have lived much of my life. All that stuff has to matter. These are the ingredients that make up the soup of my life. Good ingredients make up a good life. This would be true if how that soup tasted didn’t change as my own thoughts changed. One moment my house is a lovely haven, the next a stale prison. The soup means nothing.
Which is to say, I remember and forget, remember and forget. Writing is a very good reminder. To write, I must care about how I feel. Does writing this sentence feel like me, or like me trying to be someone smarter or funnier or cooler than me? Does writing this sentence fit with this story, does it build upon this story’s mysterious integrity, or I am forcing it into the story because I doubt that with a little patience a truer sentence will come? Does this sentence feel like a new thought, or me rewording an old thought?
To answer these questions honestly is to be guided home, where I am both content and curious, peaceful and energetic, receptive and creative. The moment I find this place I want nothing other than for that feeling to continue. Which it will, until I think its continuance is dependent on someone agreeing with me, or that deal coming through. Then I am lost again, sifting through ingredient after ingredient, having mistaken all those things for me.
Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.