The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something. — Kurt Vonnegut
I don’t know if you’ve noticed lately, but I’ve been hit with a bit of writer’s block. Fiction isn’t coming easily, the words of others are easier to latch onto than my own, and I go days without attempting to write at all. Even the feel of pen to paper is exhausting to me. In times like this, there are certain personalities and inspirations I always look to. The music of Matthew Bellemy and 이루마 (in English: Yiruma, my favorite South Korean pianist of all time – possibly just plain my favorite pianist, actually); the character work of Billy Crudup, and the words of Vonnegut, Rilke, Rowling, or Rossetti.
I find that no matter how energetic or motivated I am, when my creative output is on the skids, my social energy goes right out the window along with it. I want nothing more than to stay at home indulging in epic-length fanfiction, listening to really loud music and cleaning the apartment in my pajamas, or worst of all giving up entirely and curling up in bed with reruns of Family Guy or The Vampire Diaries.
And so this weekend I’m trying everything I can to get myself writing again. Taking angry stabs at poetry (something I haven’t attempted since moving North – there’s just something about the hazy heat of the South that brings it out in me, I think); trying new versions of prose I’ve never taken too seriously before (yes, I wrote fanfiction this week for the fun of it for the first time since… college?); tasting new movies and old glamour (with a no-movie-made-after-1970 challenge spanning three cities to take place this summer). I am going to be social if it kills me and have been collecting the stories of others the characters that surround me like a greedy little Gollum wannabe.
I’m not sure how it will go, if I’m honest, but even this piece took me ages to put together and I’m now incredibly grateful to be meeting a friend for drinks immediately post-work. Writing… When you make feel like work, when it’s something you haveto do because it’s become so much more than a hobby to you, when writing is as essential as breathing and perhaps far less enjoyable – it becomes a bit of a soul sucker. It soul sucking in a good way (like an all consuming love affair, in my mind), but a way that leaves you drained and wanting for more, too.