I met with a blogger/author friend today. Within the last year, she’s become relatively famous due to her blog and subsequent book, selling ten thousand copies within just a few short months of publishing. She told me that her fame is bittersweet; that although she’s thrilled with its success, it’s also brought a backlash of hate mail from people she’ll never meet and jealousy disguised as interest or concern from those close to her. She blogged with a sort of free unawareness in the beginning, but now she feels she is plagued with the burden of pleasing her fans and publisher. She’s human, after all.
We talked about Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk on what it’s like to live in the shadow of her astounding success with Eat, Pray, Love, and how she also dealt with snide remarks about the challenge of topping her original brilliance. In thinking this experience over, Gilbert postulates that creative inspiration in the form of “genius” is actually a separate thing entirely from the mind, which kind of takes a load off. It’s like a creature that lurks in the room when it feels it’s met a receptive recipient of its brilliance, and if you can grab its tail and wrangle it into a chair, you can sometimes get it to tell you its story. Geniuses are not people, she said, but a thing that moves about in the world and settles on the right person at the right time. It blows through our minds like the wind, and if we don’t dictate those words/pictures/ideas at that precise moment, it can just as easily blow on to the next willing host.
Although I myself cannot claim an inkling of genius factor (to date, hardy har), I like that this theory sort of gets you off the hook. Inspiration does not come from our egos, but from a sort of mobile inspiration that travels around seeking artists.
I thought of my own blogging adventures, and why I stopped after steadily posting for nearly 1.5 years. At the time of my last post, there was no genius lurking that I could see, and maybe my genuine nature wasn’t even at the party. Only my increasingly frantic ego was showing up with glittered eyelids, getting all hot and bothered by the modest attention this humble little blog was accruing.
It was getting a little ridiculous up in here.
It’s been about three months since my last post. I’ve spent this time reading books, taking long walks on the beach and sitting in cafes doing absolutely nothing but watching people stroll by. I’ve planted myself in my own and other’s gardens to weed weeds and sow seeds. I’ve meditated, travelled a bit, and I’ve met friends for too many shots of whisky that ended with me spectacularly crashing on my bike and then passing out in my back garden, planking my deck at three in the morning (how I avoided bruising my face is a sheer miracle, however I did end up with an assortment of bruises on my legs and a whopper on my right hand).
I’ve also had major bouts of snooping around in the muddy bottom of my overactive mind, getting down and dirty with my darker thought patterns. Life of the unemployed, for me, has been filled with a sort of beautiful mundaneness filled with magical coincidences that could have only realized through my increased present-ness combined with the time on my unemployed hands.
The days have collected to result in another chapter of my life that encourages me to turn the page to the next chapter. It’s helped me decipher what has made me, what will make me, and then feeling out that sweet spot right in the midst of it.
All this being rambled, this morning I made a comment to a fellow blogger who’s posts I could not resist reading during my media hiatus. His posts are not particularly intriguing and express that he feels downright sad about life in many respects; in fact, they drive me to spout nutty, self-help advice, much of which is likely in vain, but they bring out in me this motherly instinct to nurture him; to reach out and shake him out of his depression, as if I have a clue myself. But maybe just maybe I do…I’ve promised him to extend upon my ranting comments here, and soon.
So, “the end” of this post. I write this to break the seal and the silence, and I will post soon regarding my personal tricks on how to climb out of hell, for him but also anyone else willing to read. Because to me, hell is on earth. Hell is in our minds. We create our own hell, and together we work diligently and with great cooperation to ever-create our collective hell.
Thanks to those of you who read my blog. 🙂