My Road to Creativity, Final: Writing:
I took some drawing and painting classes at the Durango Art Center. I enjoyed the classes but lost interest after a a few years.
However, I was reading voraciously, relishing historical fiction and rediscovered Hemingway and the writers on 1920s Paris. I again started to write free form poetry, writing one sometimes two a day sitting on the patio of my favorite coffee shop in downtown Durango. I filled several Moleskine journals with poetry.
I was letting my mind go, not worrying about the words, just putting them down. Some poems, I edited or rewrote, others were so bad I didn’t bother with them. What I was finally discovering after so many years was, it made no difference. Then in the spring and summer of 2014, I wrote three short stories, the first prose I had ever attempted. I liked what I had written as did some others who I shared them with.
In August of 2015, my wife and I did a four week European tour, beginning with a two week cruise from Copenhagen to Barcelona with many stops along the way such as Le Havre, France and Lisbon, Portugal. I started getting sick with a cough on the ship and saw the ships doctor before we disembarked in Barcelona.
We spent four days and nights in that city which I managed well with my increasingly heavy cough. Barcelona is a beautiful city that we spent time exploring Gaudi’s park, the Picasso Museum and strolling the Ramblas and the shops in The Gothic Quarter. My lungs were feeling like crap.
We took a high speed train to Paris to spend five days and nights. Paris was more amazing than I could ever have imagined. It was everything and more than I ever expected, there were the outdoor markets, sidewalk cafes, the Musee d’ Orsay, the Pompidou Center, the Eiffel Tower, the city itself and best of all, Shakespeare and Company Booksellers.
Shakespeare and Company, an English language bookstore, is the second permutation, the first being founded by on the Left Bank by Sylvia Beach back in 1919 and subsequently closed in 1941 during the Nazi occupation. The second was founded by ex-pat American George Whitman in 1951, who called it, “a socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore”. It is now run by his daughter, Sylvia Whitman.
I could have spent days wandering and exploring this bookstore, the mecca of so many past great writers, so many new great writers who hung out there. I could almost feel the vibes of their genius. As it was I managed to get there twice and struggled to keep my purchases to only five books. I am on their email list and have ordered several times from their eclectic selection of hard to find books.
In the meantime, my cough was getting worse and I realize in retrospect I should have gone to the hospital in Paris, but didn’t want to take the time. The upshot of all this was the second night after I got home I ended up in the emergency room. I had full blown pneumonia by then. It did subside in a few weeks, but I relapsed in Mid-December, this time I was pretty debilitated . . . for almost three months.
Being winter, I kept myself in the house and rested. Physically, I was wiped out anyway. Having to slow down from my usually active schedule, I started writing a poem that turned into a short story that turned into a novelette and finally after 96,000 words, I had written my first book, ‘San Juan Sunrise’. It was an amazing experience doing it. It was like my characters took on a life of their own and I simply had to listen to their story. Okay, I know it sounds weird. But I was able to let go and write the story without paying attention to my inner critic, not worrying about the outcome, just listening and writing.
After all these years, I felt I had finally discovered my creative voice, what creativity truly is. I can’t really describe it any other way other than it is just letting go . . . letting go of any preconceptions, letting go of criticisms (inner and outer), letting go of any worries about success or failure, just letting go and being in that creative moment . . . moment after moment after moment.
I have now finished my second book, ‘The Awakening of Russell Henderson’. Third one, I have several ideas, but am not in any hurry. I’m working now on marketing my last one.
This is my last post in this series of musings. It was interesting going back and trying to remember this history of wanting to create, to be and artist and a designer and ending up being a writer. I wish I could have discovered writing earlier in my life, but maybe Karma dictated that I was had to do this work over time. But all in all, it’s been an interesting ride. My only advice is to follow your bliss, don’t be discouraged, listen to your inner voice . . . and let go.
Both of my books are available on Amazon.
Thanks for reading this. Be well, safe, and happy . . . and just do it.