I dropped off to sleep in very high spirits last night. And then awoke in this sort of “not good” place.
I think it’s an energy thing.
You know how it feels when you know you are evolving past things in your life? Not just outgrowing things, but you can sense that everything around you, the reality you’ve pulled together for yourself, is shifting. Maybe morphing into the next adventure, but you can’t completely see it yet.
That’s how I feel around here. Things are changing. It’s not a bad thing but for some reason, I’m feeling blue and I’m trying to sort of tune my dial to a better feeling energy here this morning.
A really cool thing happened last night, though, as I was drifting off to sleep. You know that very early place between awake and dreaming where you can become somewhat lucid? I suddenly realized that I was in a room with about maybe 20 people and they were sitting down, talking among themselves, as well as talking to me.
I awoke slightly and then realized that this is a potential version of that writer’s retreat I’ll be giving. Perhaps the “ghost” version, or the “as yet to be filled in by physical reality” version. I was talking to an older woman and she was very passionate about something.
It was at that exact moment, while talking to her, that I became lucid and experienced myself talking to her. And quickly after that, I awoke. And I realized that this is the other side of the equation. Meaning, I want to do things in life. I have dreams or goals. I know they always involve other people but it never occurred to me in such vividness how a goal or a dream that’s in the process of manifesting brings the energies of others to you as it’s in the process of manifesting. The energies, I guess, pull together until an experience completely fills in and we then experience it as “real.”
I realized that this dream had been a gathering of potential co-creators who are all in the process of manifesting something in their lives that was going to be really joyful. And that it centered around that writer’s retreat.
Over the years, I have taught some really gifted young writers. Writers who wanted to make that transition into being professional, selling their work, getting book deals or selling a screenplay, etc. I know what they’re up against and I try to be realistic with them about rejection if only to give them some emotional armor, but overall, I try to be as encouraging as I can possibly be. Because that part where you do have to be realistic is only the beginning part, and it is completely outweighed by what comes next, when things start to click and you do start to make sales, and get readers and start to develop relationships with publishers or producers or what have you. It absolutely does happen, especially if you’re a gifted storyteller. It absolutely will happen, if you stick with it.
And there is always that moment that arrives when, as a teacher, I cut them loose, because I know I’ve taught them what I could, that they need to go out and try their own wings, and that now I’ve become more of an editor than a teacher, and frankly I charge a whole lot more to edit you than to teach you. So off they go into the world.
I know they’re gifted. I know a gifted writer when I read one. I’ve worked with hundreds of writers over the years, and I’ve been blessed to have had so many close colleagues who were or are incredibly good writers. I can tell in less than a page of reading, if someone has the gift. But as far as younger students go, I have seen so many of them let the fear of failure that comes with those early rejection letters, turn into “I have to have a job to pay the bills and I need to focus on that right now.”
And then I know, sad as it is, that it’s as good as over. I don’t ever say it, but in my heart I know that they’ve opted for safety and conservatism because of fear. And now they’re going to get bogged down in responsibilities that will make everything about having a life of art be just that much more difficult.
I’ve never been about playing it safe, ever. I’ve always been wildly at the other end of that spectrum. I have lived most of my life in fear, things having nothing to do with my writing, but stemming from physical and sexual abuse, where I learned to feel that I was utterly alone and on my own from an early age. I can look on that as a gift now because it gave me stamina, and helped me develop a relationship with my idea of God that, in turn, taught me all about faith. The depths of faith. And also the depths of beauty in this world, and the blessings of kindness. And of course, underscoring all of that, the beauty of love among people who might not even know each other.
I have a deep appreciation for all those things about humanity because I’ve seen the other side of that and it’s just horrible. And so love and beauty and kindness become sacred, you know?
I really want to be in an atmosphere again where people are already in their craft, in that understanding of what they want to put into the world, past that point of fear or uncertainty, where art can really blossom or flow. And it was beautiful last night to realize that I’m not the only one who still wants that. All I have to do is set out that beacon and the writers will come.
For most of my adult life, I had projects that involved bringing tons of talented writers and artists together. The advent of the Internet was instrumental in letting that happen so fluidly. Other-Rooms.com, MarilynsRoom.com, and certainly the EAA were incredibly successful ventures in that regard. But they took over my life. They grew to be 24/7 endeavors and I had next to no time left for me. And certainly with the EAA, I came up against the laws and censorship stuff with this country’s Government. In the past, I had worked for publishers who either literally went to prison for publishing and distributing “pornography” or who’d had to spend a fortune fighting the Government in court. I know that it can happen and that was so much more than I’d bargained for, so I began to step back.
Even though the writer’s retreats will require a huge amount of work for me, since each separate retreat will also yield the publication of a book that I have to basically “curate” from start to finish, each retreat will be bracketed by “only 2 times a year,” at most. And I’ll still have the rest of the year for my own adventures. So I feel really, really excited about that.
Plus, I’m in the process of putting together with Valerie in Brooklyn some initial cover art for 2 of the books I have in progress right now (I do this to avoid, at all costs, any more covers that feature girls in their underwear.) Here they are as they stand right now.
Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse is a book I began writing in January. This one is graphically erotic, creative nonfiction. It pretty much is exactly what the title says it is.
And of course Blessed By Light. This is a novel about an aging, successful musician, grieving the unexpected death of his 2nd wife, falling in love again, revisiting the scope of his life and his career, and the specters of success, love, loss, despair, triumph and redemption, and what that has done to his family and to himself. It’s almost finished. It has a lot of erotic elements in it, but it is literary fiction. The cover art is still in the creative process. No lettering yet.
All right. I’m gonna get going around here and try to turn the energy of this day around, posthaste. I see that there’s a Red Hand Files newsletter from Nick Cave in my inbox and those are always incredibly interesting. Perhaps it will set the tone for his Conversation tonight in Hamburg, Germany! (Lucky Duck-sters!!)
Okay. Thanks for visiting, gang. I tried really hard not to listen to The Big Jangle this morning, in my efforts to adjust to this idea that Tom Petty is in fact dead. It was depressing – that absence of sound. I’m gonna have to re-think all of it , the whole 9 yards.
But I love you guys! See ya.