Friday, January 18, 2008

Midnight Musings

I was over at a friend's blog, and she wrote some things that got me thinking again tonight about what I've been pondering lately. There are a lot of things I like to do, and didn't get the opportunity to pursue my dreams when I was younger. I've decided that just because I couldn't do things before I got married and had children, doesn't mean that I can't do them now. I've always had the habit of denying myself of doing things that make me truly joyful, without realizing it.

What has brought on this train of thought is that I've started writing a book. I have always enjoyed writing, but almost never wrote anything except a poem here and there. Writing anything meaningful has always been left for that elusive joy-filled day, Someday.

Someday I'll learn to sing. Someday I'll take the pottery class I've always wanted to take. Someday I'll learn how to write stories. Someday I'll start practicing the piano again. Someday, someday, someday.

Someday after James graduates from school....again.
Someday after I get the house cleaned up and organized once and for all.
Someday when I'm not so tired.
Someday when my kids are older.
Someday when I'm thin again and have more confidence.

You get the picture. Sure, there are things that won't fit into my life right now. But I decided that instead of feeling depressed about what I can't do right now, I should do some things that I can.

Last year I attended a fireside given by Janice Kapp Perry and her husband. Any woman in the LDS (Mormon) church who was a teenage girl in the last 20 or so years knows who I'm talking about. Sister Perry has written many, many songs that have uplifted and inspired many people all over the world.

Something she said really stood out. She was telling us about her dream of singing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, even though she has an average voice. I'm not going to go through the whole story here, but due to her husband's encouragement over and over, she went through the auditioning process and became a member for several years. She said that it was one of the best experiences of her life. She also told us that she would have missed it if she had let her fear get the best of her. She said, "Don't ever let fear prevent you from realizing your dreams."

I went up to her afterwards and told her that she had really touched me. She looked at me and said, "Now, don't you forget it!" I haven't.

When I was looking at the classes that the University offers the general public, I saw that they had a creative writing class. I realized that in order to prepare for a class like that, I probably had to have some actual writing done. So I've started. I won't be taking the class this semester, maybe not this year. But I've actually begun writing something that's dear to my heart.

I have a series of ongoing stories that I made up for my sons at bedtime over a few months. They loved them so much that I decided to turn them into a book. I wrote a few paragraphs last June, then didn't touch it again until now. I finished writing the 1st chapter, and I am really scared. I actually started another book before I started working on this one again. I think I did that because I really love the story I told my sons, and it's so dear to my heart that I get scared at putting those ideas on paper. What if I can't do it? But what if I don't?

That part doesn't really matter. I have made it a goal to work on my book several hours a week at least, until it gets done. I have no idea how long that will take. Then I have to edit it. The thing that will get me through it is that if I don't do it, I'll regret it for the rest of my life. My sons won't care if I have to publish it myself, but it will be our story made into a book just for them.

I'm discovering how much I've been keeping secret from myself. I love writing. I mean, I really love it. I love how I can just let my imagination go. I've let my mind open up to it, and now I can't stop it. I have storylines and ideas for other books in my brain. Sometimes it feels like my head's going to explode, then I think, "What have I done! I've unleashed the beast!"

I know that some days it will seem more like hard work and no fun, and you know what? I can stop on those days and do something else. No one is making me do this. If I get really stuck, I can pray. Heck, I'll pray as I go along anyway to ask the Lord for His help to help me say what I'm trying to.

We also brought our keyboard upstairs, and my sweet husband got some speakers so we could use it. I love music, and taught myself to play a little. I know I'm diverting from my thoughts a little more, but I realized something.

I am a person who craves creativity. I get depressed and eat more and get morose if I'm deprived of it. I need it. I thrive on it. I can get by without much, but I need just a little each day, or at least several times a week. This blog helps to fill that need. Practicing a little music fills it. Painting pictures with my kids fills it. Creativity helps to heal depression for me. I need to start turning to it more than turning to food.

The thing is, right now I should be sleeping. I should be doing more laundry, or picking up the living room. I just felt compelled to write this now, and I'm not sure why. Maybe there's someone out there who needs to read what I have discovered for myself. Creativity fills the soul. For me, it's not a luxury like I've been treating it. It's not a reward for doing my housework. It's part of me, and I need it. Trust me, my family needs it too. I think creativity is treated as unimportant in the rush of every day life. Maybe we need more of it to help us connect to God, our families, and ourselves. I'm discovering that it's helping me become more of who I really am. And as Martha Stewart says, "That's a good thing."


mindyluwho said...

I love this post. I agree that creativity is not a luxury, it is a part of our character that completes us, and without it, we are only partly living. I remember reading in a book once that our creativity is a divine gift, and our desire to create beauty in whatever form we are best at is something we need to nurture, as we are preparing ourselves for divine acts of creativity. I find that when I can sew, which is my favorite way to be creative, that I am happier, nicer and more content. And that's a very good thing! Keep at the writing, you definately have a talent for it!

Kimberly said...

This is something we hugely, hugely have in common! It makes me sad that we've both struggled in this same way...but I like the feeling of not being alone in it as well. Let's get writing!

Carrot Jello said...

I just got a blessing a week ago that said I've been given a writing talent to uplift people and make them happy, even when I'm not. Maybe you need to do it because it's a gift from God.

No Cool Story said...

Maybe you need to do it because it's a gift from God.

I vote for that :)

Rebecca said...

Mindy--I love what you said about "preparing ourselves for divine acts of creativity". Beautiful.

Kim--I feel the same. Yes, let's get writing!

Carrot--What you said has made me think a lot. Thank you.

NCS--You're a sweetheart! I think that sometimes we try to downplay or second guess our gifts, when we should be exploring them.

Dedee said...

Found you from Kiberly's site above. Awesome post. I'll be thinking about this one today as I run after kids.

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much, Dedee! It's nice to meet you! I went to check out your blog, but alas, there was no blog listed. If you get one, please let me know and I'd love to check it out!

Michal said...

rebecca, i loved this post. it was very inspiring, poignant, and struck a chord with me. fostering your creative, god-given gifts will lift both you and others, beginning with your family. you don't need to feel badly about adding some balance to your life! as long as you can keep it balanced and not have it take over everything else, i know it will bring joy into your life.
thanks for sharing the thoughts of your heart.