Saturday, January 24, 2009

balancing

I suspect that all humans experience their lives as balancing acts. The only difference lies in what it is that they are balancing. For most of human existence, as foragers, horticulturalists, pastoralists and the majority of peasant folk in agricultural societies that balancing act was between the demands of nature and the needs of the human body and spirit, and losing ones balance meant death. Many humans still live that kind of balancing act in today's world. Even more, have to balance the demands of hostile, repressive, and destructive human forces, against their human needs; where again, the consequence of losing ones balance may be death -- or imprisonment.

Even in modern, industrial societies like our own, the balancing acts of some involve intense struggles against economic tides that threaten to swamp their lives; threatening the loss of homes, jobs, income and all depends upon those things.

So I count myself extraordinarily lucky, and a bit abashed that my own balancing act concerns merely trying to carve out time, space and energy for creative and social life amidst the demands of work. To spur my efforts in this area, I taken up the "Creative Every Day 2009" challenge, and enrolled in a creative writing class.

Balance, I think, depends upon accepting limitations, celebrating what can be accomplished and not becoming discouraged by what cannot be. It has become clear to me, that aside from certain creative elements that are inherent in teaching itself*, I will not be able to be "creative every day." However, by continuing to hold the challenge in front of myself, encourages me to improve the balance in my life, and engage in more creative acts.


I made time this week to continue the work on an traditional granny square afghan, piling up new squares, and thinking through how to complete the project, as the left over yarns available are not quite enough.

Creative writing class continues to provide lots of opportunities for creative growth with our free writing exercises at the beginning of each class session. This week's reading assignment introduced us to the "short short story;" and I was inspired by that to turn a fragment of a dream into my very first ever complete short story. I've started stories before, I've even gotten to the middle of stories before, but I've never completed a story before. It's a first draft, and will need many revisions and much polishing but for the first time in my life I have a whole story with a beginning, a middle and an end. It's fairly trite -- the plot lifted by my dreaming subconscious out of your typical, mundane TV cop show. But, this is more than I've ever accomplished before.

________

*like trying to figure out new ways to answer the same old questions!

10 comments:

faye said...

This is a beautiful meditation on something that I struggle with very, very much.

Regina said...

Hi Sue,
thanks for commenting on my blog. As for where I find my challenges... I'm also in Creative Every Day and sometimes I run across others who put challenges out there. You can go down a lot of rabbit trails in blog land if you don't monitor your time. But "O the places you'll go!" The current challenge I'm participating in was posed by Misty Mawn. http://mistymawn.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/01/inspired.html
I use Photo Shop Elements to edit and manipulate my images. It's a great program that is much more economical than the professional version of Photoshop.
I really like the sunflowers on your blog banner. It sounds like you've found a great class to spur your creativity. As for you granny square project. Before you totally run out of colors, you could buy more yarn in other colors and start using some of your old colors for the centers of the squares and then build out with the new colors. (I used to manage a needlework shop in the '80's).

Deborah Godin said...

Love the sunflower colors in your squares. All the best with your creative challenge!

anthonynorth said...

Writing is so rewarding, and I love short fiction. The buzz of the completed thing is as good as ...
Well, almost.

Amias said...

Very inspiring article. I do understand about balancing ones life ... living under extreme conditions even in these United States, living on a fixed income, the balance between medicine and food is critical. Without either one can die.

Indeed I love short stories, and write them from time to time ... I wish you well on your journey.

Tumblewords: said...

Well written piece. I've had the most trouble finding the balance between accepting what I can do and letting go of that which I can't do. I did make several granny square afghans, though - a long time ago! :) Yours is the color of the sun. I just read that NASA has managed to send back images of the other side of the sun - it looks a lot like the front!

Beth P. said...

Dear Sue--
Thanks for the prose...and congratulations on your story!! Bet it feels magnifico!

Take good care of your balance...

one more believer said...

a wonderful accomplishment in the light of a million granny squares...

Regina Marie said...

Hi there. Sunflowers are my fave- so I like to grow them. Lovely granny squares.
I'm glad for your accomplishment..and the inspiration you've found through your writing class.

Qaro said...

1) I'm really sorry that you can't be creative every day.

2) I bet you actually _are_!

: )