PSA: adding the words “in the middle of a pandemic” to random recounting of what’s going on in our lives is not mandatory. Possibly not helpful, either.
We get to decide how much more power we give to the stories of our life. What we amp up, what become the main features.
What else is going on, in your life?
The creative process is a funny one. One thing for sure: it does not show up on command, nor does it go away just because the time is not convenient.
Exactly three years ago, I had isolated myself in a hilly medieval village in Italy, to write. On my first morning in the tiny house I had rented, I set up "my writing table," facing the Mediterranean. I was going to write... something. I did not know what, but it was going to be good. For the first time in three decades, I had no one to take care of but myself, no one to interrupt me, and by golly, there was finally room for whatever was inside of me - surely it would be brilliant - to come out.
Nothing came out. Day after day, I would walk past the little table on my way to the market, to the beach, or to my bed for yet another nap.
By the time I moved out and picked up my backpack (and my laptop) a month later, I had written a couple of blog posts and slept a whole lot. It was a humbling and soothing reminder that I am not in charge, that I only get to co-pilot this thing, and that most likely, my plans are nowhere near as good as what Life has in mind for me. God knows I needed the rest.
As time passes, I am learning that projects and ideas have a personality of their own. If we pay attention, they will tell us just what they need, and how they need it.
Some projects flutter by and just tu du du du du ... plant a little seed, lightly, innocently, just leaving it there, you know? Then saunter away while the seed remains slowly germinating, sometimes for years.
There's nothing inherently wrong with that as long as we can allow ourselves to cohabitate with it peacefully and kindly. Without itching, without name-calling. Without making it an incomplete either, but rather an open invitation. It's tricky business.
I have a couple of book-seeds that are doing just that, some of them quieter than others.
And then, there is the other kind.
The kind that whisks by us, throws us a seed and demands that it be planted, watered, harvested, AND shared ... now.
When that happens, I find it best to surrender, to get out of the way. To not wait for the perfect table overlooking the sea.
I am also learning that when that happens, resistance is futile - as is perfectionism. Excuses don't really work either.
"The Disease" is this kind of book.
It showed up pretty much exactly when I had decided that I was not going to work for ten days. When I had made a conscious decision to leave my laptop at home as I got on a plane, not even having access to my email.
It showed up, and I knew instantly that it would not go away.
It first spoke to me as I was hiking in the jungle. It had that little quality, kind of hard to explain, that distinguishes it from a "me" thought. Yes, it's in my mind, but it's not "of me." There is a distance, there. A familiarity but not a melding. I know that some of you will know exactly what I mean.
So I took dictation on my phone recorder. First in the jungle, then on buses, in tiny restaurants. Wherever I was when it showed up.
It lasted five days.
Then I got home to a bunch of other projects - and lots of emails - and thought that it could sit there for a while.
Not so. It asked for a couple more days. Just enough time to package it and send it out into the world. Which I am now doing.
Here you go: The Disease. I did not choose the title. I don't think I would have chosen this title, right now. But that's what it is.
I did choose (I think) the cover, though. It is a rendition of the view from one of the places where I slept during this trip. A small bustling village where the river meets the sea. I really love this view.
In a nutshell, The Disease is a series of very short sentences describing specifically the way in which an ailment that seems to operate in a whole lot of our minds affects us - followed by two antidotes.
I am releasing this baby into the world so that I may go back to painting and doing "my" projects. I trust that it will go exactly where it needs to go. It seems to have done a good job of this, so far.
With a virtual hug,
PS: For the sake of Ease and expediency, I have put it in Amazon's hands. I can't say that I feel 100% good about it but I just don't have it in me to order prints and ship them individually, right now. If you'd like, you can order it HERE, in Kindle or in print. If you do, I would love for you to take the time to leave a review. It will help get it into more hands and hearts.
Our gut knows.
We can argue with it, fight it, ignore it, reason with it.
It still knows.
what is your gut telling you?