Okay, maybe not the devil. More like my husband and two good friends, all creative people who let their creativity sit on a shelf most of 2012. Once purposeful and fulfilling, creativity became a forlorn knickknack, one of those pieces you fear to toss because there is so much history behind the piece, an incredible story to be shared when someone new to your home gazes upon it, a feeling of familiarity and strength when you hold it in your hand. Dusty, immobile, useless. Shame on us.
So, the weekend before Christmas, before a roaring fire and with holiday cocktails in hand, we made a pact. Each one of us responsible for saving our talents from the cobwebbed shadows of those shelves and returning to palette and canvas, sketch pads, laptops, journals and notebooks.
I’ve missed it. I’ve longed for it. And yet, I have found excuse after excuse for placing my creativity back on the shelf after a quick dusting. After all, in one year I changed jobs twice and with each change came added responsibilities, major time conflicts, brain overload and exhaustion. The last thing I wanted to do was to sit at my desk or with a laptop and force my tired brain to expand, to fire, to create. I realize now that was my biggest mistake.
While I’ve enjoyed the career change, each position bringing with it incredible experiences and learning opportunities, something has been amiss. I’m not happy. Even though my most recent position is the meshing of both of my worlds, my 14+ years experience working in the dental field and my seven years with the university, a perfect fit. But, I’ve been struggling. I’ve been doubting my decision, rethinking my place with the university. Something is still not right.
Then, mid-December my MFA faculty advisor retired. Dr. Richard Spilman was my fearless leader during the pursuit of my master’s, but more importantly, as he guided me through the creation of my short story collection, he taught me what it means to be a writer. Somehow, I’d forgotten all of his words of wisdom until I sat at the back of the room in the lower level of Ablah Library and listened to him read from his own published works. After the reading, he accepted well-wishes, signed copies of his book, The Estate Sale, and said goodbye. I waited to be one of the last in line. After I congratulated him on his retirement and asked what he planned to do now that he was leaving WSU, he inquired if I was writing. Oh, imagine my embarrassment when I replied, no. He was direct in his response. Write.
Write. This is what is missing from my life, the sharing of stories whether in the creation of a new short story, adding a new chapter to my novel, or blogging about my favorite sports team or why I love Kansas, I need to write. My new career with the university is not who I am, it’s a part of me, but it is not the fabric of who I am, it is merely a thread. Sure, it’s important, but it is not the best of me, the truest of me. It’s time to write.
Thus begins the pact. Each of us will give our creativity a good dusting and place it where it belongs at the center of our lives, the focus of the room, so to speak. Wish us luck.
“It’s a wonderful thing to write. You can reclaim the things you lost.” -Jeremy Page, Sea Change.