Many people tell me I should write a book. Well, folks, I've written several. Some are published; some are not (yet). But lately I've been refocusing my purpose, as I tend to do periodically, especially when life gets so challenging it forces me to stop and ask, "why am I doing this?" Whatever the "this" may be.
I'm refocusing on what I write, and why I write, and, at some deep level, who I am and what makes me happy. I'm a lawyer. I'm a pianist. I'm a mustanger. I'm an animal activist. I'm a farm chic. I'm a baker. I'm a businesswoman. I run and walk and shoot and dance and drum and pray and think - too much. And write.
I am a writer.
I am a unique creative spirit trying to survive in a "it's easier to ID everyone by stuffing them in one box, thank you very much, so please PICK ONE THING and DO IT FOREVER" world.
And so are you, fellow unique creative spirit.
I have a love-hate relationship with social media. Facebook is an incredible platform for helping folks in times of need, a la, "a natural disaster occurs and everyone can share out who needs what, where" and that sort of thing. It's also a wonderful resource for animal welfare. Yay, FB. "Like" and "Share." It is also a huge reality drain. People can sit outdoors on a perfect spring morning - and not even hear the birds singing. Their entire consciousness is drawn into a backlit screen, absorbed in the drama of other lives in other places. "Virtual" reality. Virtual, indeed.
Ignored is the symphony of the soloist mockingbird as he serenades with his stolen songbook. The brilliance of the rising sun filtering through the tree line. The nudge of a barn cat, gently asking for a warm lap that is, at present, balancing the electronic otherworld.
Modern life can be a challenge.
Not too many years ago, a writer could work in peace and leave the marketing to her publishing house. These days, artists of all types - writers, musicians, painters, etc., - are expected to "maintain a robust social media presence" which translates loosely into, "artist, market thyself." Connectedness to one's fans is a good thing, on the one hand. On the other hand, however, is the fact that the publishing machine apparently doesn't realize that every minute a writer spends "maintaining a robust social media presence" is a minute LOST in the creative process. Don't make me come up with pandering prose to try and induce someone to buy my creative works. Let me use that time, instead, to write something that will inspire those who read it.
Mockingbirds singing a dozen different songs inspire me. Scrolling past political posts and Uber ads does not inspire me. I rescue animals, and that inspires me. Struggling to find the minutes to update a sanctuary website is no fun at all. I'm an old-fashioned writer trying to survive in a modern world, and it ain't easy, friends.
They say (whoever "they" may be) that the only way to get better as a writer is to write. Daily. One sentence or a hundred. Just write.
Do you hear the mockingbird sing?