The Gifts of Restlessness

Apollo Launch

“Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I’ll show you a failure.” ~ Thomas Edison

“No, it’s not dissatisfaction that inspires me to tinker with my songs, it’s just restlessness.” ~ Andrew Bird

“I believe that curiosity, wonder and passion are defining qualities of imaginative minds and great teachers; that restlessness and discontent are vital things; and that intense experience and suffering instruct us in ways that less intense emotions can never do. ~ Kay Redfield Jamison

I once heard a poet tell of her writing process. She’d be out gardening, or maybe doing housework when suddenly she could feel a poem galloping toward her. To capture the poem, she’d have to stop what she was doing and run to get pen and paper before the poem passed her by. Sometimes she wouldn’t get to the paper fast enough to catch the poem and it would gallop on never to return. At other times she would miss the beginning of the poem, so she’d have to catch the tail and drag it back. In those cases, she’d have to write the poem down backwards. I wish I could remember her name. I’d love to read her poems.

This story stuck with me because that’s how I know change is coming. I can feel it coming long before it arrives at my doorstep. A mild restlessness and dissatisfaction with the way things are going in my life are the first indications that big changes are on their way.

This feeling of restlessness applies to all aspects of my life, even writing. I can feel that there is something I’m supposed to write about, but sometimes the horse has stopped to snack on luscious grass and I feel frustrated that I have to wait until the horse is ready to continue the journey. No amount of coaxing works. I have to wait to be able to grasp the entire idea.

Or sometimes I feel restless, like now, because I’m waiting on others to do their part so I can publish my work. Then, just when I’m about to explode with frustration, something will happen and I’ll read an article with a writing tip that I can use to improve my work, and that sends me to do another round of revisions. That happened to me last week. So, while my husband is creating the cover art for The Space Between Time, I’m making minor changes to my manuscript.

The thing about restlessness is that it’s not random. When it sneaks in to my life, it’s telling me something important. It appears when I’ve gotten too comfortable and am about to stagnate, which is never a good thing for any of us. We’re meant to grow and evolve and we can’t do that if we cling to our routines and never venture to try anything new.

Maybe our trip to Portland intensified my current restless feelings. I mean for a couple of years, I’ve been examining my belief systems and attitudes, and working to open myself to new ways of thinking and being. Just these past few months, I’ve decided it’s time for some new experiences. But when we went back to a place we had lived for fifteen years, after being away for nearly twenty-one years, I saw how much the city had changed. I didn’t fit there any longer and that shook something loose in me. I think it shook something loose in Barry too because it feels like our horizons have been expanded.

I’m not quite sure how all these feelings will manifest yet, but I know that for the first time, my dreams for the future are far larger than I’ve ever dared hope for and I’m excited for what comes next.

By the way, I hope to reveal the cover art for my novel soon. The restlessness is fading. I don’t think I’ll have to wait long for the changes that have been germinating to appear.

If you’re feeling restless, take that as a sign that better things are on their way and look for new and exciting things to be presented to you.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

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Miscellaneous Thoughts on Creativity

Daffodils serenading the sun.
Daffodils serenading the sun.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” ~ Michael Jordan

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.” ~ Albert Einstein

“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.” ~ Joseph Campbell

I’ve been reading some nonfiction books for a change and as they always do, they make me think about my life. I wrote about reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert last week. This week, I’m reading Rising Strong by Brené Brown. Both books have stirred the pot of my well of creativity. All of a sudden I’ve got ideas about new projects coming at me. In one way, that’s fantastic. In another, I don’t feel like I’ve got enough time to write them all down. I guess the ideas that are meant for me will stick around. The others will float off and land in another writer’s lap.

One idea I got about a week ago has taken hold. It’s a story about a young girl in an as yet unnamed kingdom who is secretly taught to be a warrior by her father. The young women of the villages in her kingdom must submit to a lottery during their sixteenth year to be sacrificed to a dragon who terrorizes the countryside. Or at least that’s the rumor. No one has seen the dragon for many years. However, the girls who are sacrificed never return, so everyone believes the rumor. The girl’s father teaches her to fight, which is forbidden, in an attempt to save her life. His reasoning is that if she can fight and strategize she might be able to slay the dragon and save the kingdom. I have some ideas about what really happens to the girls, and the discoveries the main character makes because, of course, she is chosen to be the sacrifice. But I have to let those ideas sit on the back burner for awhile before I write them down. The cool thing is that every day I get new ideas about the world in which the girl lives and what might happen to her after she meets the dragon.

It’s fun to have a new project in the works, however, I’m on another round of revisions on my novel, The Space Between Time and I want to get through it a couple more times before sending it off to my writer friends for more comments and possible corrections. Sometimes ideas flow too readily, yet, I’m grateful that they are flowing at all. I want to take a shot at writing them down and to see if the stories take shape.

Something else rumbling around in my head is that it’s almost eight years since I quit teaching full-time to become a writer, and at this juncture, I feel like it’s time to take some classes, or submit some work, do some research for my sequel novel, or do something different with all these ideas.

The bottom line is I’m restless, and yet I crave solitude. Kind of a strange combination of emotions. I think what this all means is that a big change is on its way to me, and that is exciting. I’ve got the summer off. Maybe the changes will happen then. In any case, no teaching for me this summer for the first time in seven or eight years. My mouth almost waters at the thought of eleven or twelve weeks to concentrate on my work with fewer distractions. So, if you ask me to meet for lunch or go for a walk, or some other outing during the day. I may refuse not because I don’t like you, but because I’m focusing on finishing my manuscript, and putting all the new ideas floating around in my head into the computer. How about dinner?

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2016

Restless Anticipation

Tarantula Nebula
Tarantula Nebula

“I could not help it: the restlessness was in my nature; it agitated me to pain sometimes.” ~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“There are times when a feeling of expectancy comes to me, as if something is there, beneath the surface of my understanding, waiting for me to grasp it … Oh, something is there, waiting for me. Perhaps someday the revelation will burst in upon me and I will see the other side of this monumental grotesque joke. And then I’ll laugh. And then I’ll know what life is.” ~ Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

“Dreams and restless thoughts came flowing to him from the river, from the twinkling stars at night, from the sun’s melting rays. Dreams and a restlessness of the soul came to him.” ~ Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.” ~ Thomas A. Edison

Twenty years ago my husband and I sold our house and took a three month trip around the world. Some people thought we were crazy, mostly family members. But most people admired our daring and supported us. I will never regret taking that trip. It changed me in ways that are still hard to define and as the anniversary of leaving the country approaches, I’m hungry for a bold new adventure.

I’m not sure what has caused my restlessness now after so many years of living in a kind of cocoon. Maybe it’s because last year I dedicated myself to doing some intense personal work. Because of that work, I’m a new person and see the world in new ways. Whatever the reason it feels like it’s time for a change but I’m not sure what form it will take yet. All I know is that I feel great anticipation like I did when Barry and I decided to do whatever it to took to take the trip.

A couple of weeks ago something extraordinary happened during one of my meditations. I saw myself swimming and playing with whales and dolphins. They were singing to me and I understood their song. They were telling me that I needed to embrace play and I need to allow all the great things the universe has to offer to come to me. When that happened it was like the whales and dolphins accepted me as one of them and they gave me the key to a door that I’d locked long ago. I opened that door and my inner landscape hasn’t been the same since. When that happened, I wanted to say “Yes!” to all kinds of new things.

Almost as soon as I thought about something I’d like to try, an opportunity came to me. I love watching and talking about movies and a few days after my meditation experience, I was invited by Turner Classic Movies to be a member of their Inner Circle, to make suggestions on programing and the like. What could be more fun? Then I found an opportunity to submit a story or essay about identity for publication in a yearly journal. I also got an invitation to submit a short story to a contest. The prize is a trip to Greece, one of my favorite places on earth. I’m going to say yes to those opportunities. My work may be rejected. I don’t care. I want to stretch myself and try something new.

Those opportunities, though small, have sparked my desire to again experience new places. Barry and I have dreamed of living in New Mexico for quite some time but we thought making the move impossible, until recently. Being open to possibilities is often all that’s needed to experiences something new and wonderful. In any case Barry and I have started creating new dreams and that in itself is a welcome adventure. Creating new dreams keeps us young.

Who knows where these explorations will lead, but it’s so nice to be in a state of restless anticipation again. In my estimation living in the status quo is boring. That’s why I’m always looking for the next new thing to stimulate my desire to keep expanding.

I’ll keep you posted on any new and exciting things that come my way.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2016