Goals and Balance

Yesterday when I got up to do my morning writing, I opened Gmail and sent some long overdue emails to several friends. It was a complete and total breaking of the rules. That quiet hour is sacred - no email, no twitter, no facebook. Just get out of bed and put words (blog words, fiction words, essay words - not email words) on the page (or screen).

I set certain creative goals for myself - I am meeting them, and this is the path. Determination and commitment, sacrifice, early mornings, and following the rules.

There is this image of the crazed writer - romantic and laudable - slaving away at his (always a him) typewriter in the rented room in the attic (always an attic) to finish the manuscript or the play or the essay that will seal his fate as one of the greats. He will forego sleep, food, comfort, haircuts, company, everything just to get those words on paper. That image calls to me with a sweet, syrupy voice. It promises fame and fortune and, most importantly, a singularity of purpose that avoids all of life's confusion and messiness. If only I could be as strong as that writer, it could all be mine.

But I am weak.

Thank the sweet lord. I am weak.

I need sleep and food and the company of good friends. I forget sometimes. I follow the voice a little too far down the path, and I start to see a frenzied look in the eyes in the mirror, a sure sign of commitment to the image, to the rules, instead of commitment to the creativity.

Yesterday I woke up early. I opened my computer, and I wrote to my friends instead.

p.s. A friend told me once that the Universe gives us the same lesson over and over again until we learn it. This is clearly part of my curriculum.