My Artist is sitting in an armchair sipping a cup of tea. Her legs are curled up under her and there is a cozy yellow blanket piled on top. She is watching her sweet Girl wriggle and writhe and fuss about.
“Goodness! Let that go. It is silliness. What are you fussing about? None of that matters. What are you losing sleep over, tossing and turning about? It is all so much simpler than you think. Such a big production you make it. Not necessary.”
All of this is said with gentle teasing, no shaming. Artist never speaks to Girl with shame or shoulds. Only love. Artist speaks only with love.
She watches the spinning, the clutching, the almost desperate reaching, for that thing, the next thing. It is so simple, but Girl doesn’t see it. Not yet. Though it is as plain as the nose on her face.
Just step, and step again. Put pen to paper and step again. Then around a corner and step again. It is nothing that is not there, waiting for you. It is nothing that has to be pulled from the ether or invented from thin air. It is already there.
Artist senses the Girl’s frustration, anxiety, even fear. There’s a taste of fear there. That there is no next. She has used up her quota of creative. Perhaps that last great outpouring of grief and pain and honesty was indeed her final offering. She has nothing left to give. She is drained dry.
Comforting kisses, mother to child. “That is no such thing, no such thing at all. It is no different than the way your body creates and recreates itself a thousand times, million times over. Cells multiply and divide endlessly, while you sleep, dream, eat, work. And so, too, does your Creative. She is in you, born and reborn, shaped and reformed, over and over again with boundless stories to tell, poems to write, characters to discover.”
True, there are times when Girl is tired and tapped out, empty. She needs the pool to be refilled. There are times when the tide is out, and inspiration needs a nap. But it never disappears. We are not the apple, we are the tree. Source is infinite.
Artist sits back and takes a bite of a fresh biscotti, this one dipped in chocolate, and another sip of tea then watches and waits.
The Girl raises her hands to the heavens, slips to her knees to pray. Where is it? My next. What is it? My next. She calls on her guides and angels and looks desperately for Red winks of inspiration. She peeks around corners and stands all tense, shoulders tight, waiting to feel the mystical nudge that is her next.
Artist wants to laugh, kindly of course. She thinks it’s a bit like Girl is constipated, trying to push it out. Trying to force ‘next’ to appear.
This is nothing new, each time we go through this. Girl is better this time, patient a little longer, more willing to trust the process. Her process.
Artist smiles at that, ‘her process.’ The Girl slows, drops her hands to her side, and sighs. It is exhausting, this pleading to the muse, to inspiration. It feels like chasing after petulant children, the harder she runs the faster they slip away, laughing as they go.
Artist watches carefully now, waiting for the moment. It is coming. She can feel the swirling of mad energy start to slow. All the chaos, the rushing about, the chasing and pleading, are coming into stillness.
The Girl takes a deep breath, remembering. We’ve been here before. This is what happens, where we go, when we lose trust and faith. She forgets that her creativity is innate. It comes to her the way breath does, eating comes. It is her blood coursing through her body strong and powerful. It is the dizzying images that appear suddenly, the way the words jump in front of the pen. It is the delicious plots that unfold on paper like cobbles on the road, like water flowing from a cup. But only when she lets go of chasing it.
She recommits to her work, shows up at the page. She still asks for a bit of guidance but with much less urgency. Trusting now.
She holds to the knowing that that for a while the earth will continue to turn, the tides will roll in and out, the seasons will come and go. And then, when she least expects it (like love!) whatever has been growing and becoming inside of her will make itself known.
So, there is no need for darts at the target, no guessing games, no picking a name from a hat. When it is time, Next will present itself, like a friend on her doorstep, hat and cane in hand. “Are you ready darling?”
Oh, what a huge grin will light up her face as she reaches for the crook of their arm, as she welcomes her Next. And then, with no small amount of relief, she will step out on this new adventure, her feet pitter-pat.
“There,” she laughs, “that wasn’t so hard.”
Artist smiles now, a deep contented smile. “There she goes, my lovely Girl, my lovely brave Girl.” Artist finishes her cookie and takes a last sip of the tea. Then she rises from the couch, uncurling herself like a giant cat.