Do I dare disturb the universe?

In August, I was fortunate enough to hear Laurie Halse Anderson give the closing address at the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles. She titled her talk, “Do I dare disturb the universe?” and she told us that living our dreams is revolutionary. That the job of the artist is to disturb. That we are world shakers.

I don’t feel much like a world shaker. Do you?

October was a busy month around my house, full of adventures with the kids and guests from out-of-town. There were plenty of creative things going on (old school screen printing with my kids, for example), but I had zero time to write. Ugh!

In her address, Laurie explained that “the seed of art in your soul spins and keeps you discontent until you submit.”

Well, that seed just about drove me crazy last month. Even as I enjoyed good, quality time with my family and friends, I felt frustrated with my lack of availability to sit and write. That frustration turned out to be good, though. It taught me a few things.

1. My calling is to create.

More than ever, I am sure that each day I want to bring beauty into this world. Every day I want to try something new. Every day I want to ponder and wonder and reflect. And every day I want to cause others to do the same.

2. I take my creative time for granted.

Spending so much time away from writing last month made me see how much time I waste on things that don’t matter. I need to be a better steward of my time. Laurie said, the “creative life demands discipline. It’s hard.” Her advice? “Exercise control over yourself to have the richest life possible.”

3. Creative work can be scary!

I’ve been trying to complete a couple of projects, and every time I sit to work on them, my brain cramps up. These projects will require me to step out of my comfort zones. Eeek. I like being comfortable. I know my fear is holding me back.

Laurie addressed this in her talk as well. She said, “living your dreams is revolutionary.” That “writing forces you to be alive, and being alive can hurt.” But, she also said that “to stop writing, to walk away, is to succumb to despair” and “death of the spirit.”

I think October’s lack of writing took me to the edge of that despair. It’s not a place I want to return to any time soon.

Which means I need to respond to the call of that seed. I want to finish out this year on a high. This month, despite my fears, I need to wage my own revolution, on myself.

Do I dare disturb the universe?

Do you?

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