"I regard monks and poets
as the best degenerates...
Both have a finely developed sense
of the sacred potential in all things;
both value image and symbol
over utilitarian purpose or the bottom line;
they recognize the transformative power
hiding in the simplest things,
and it leads them to commit absurd acts:
the poem! the prayer! what nonsense!
In a culture that excels at creating artificial,
tightly controlled environments...
the art of monks and poets is use-less...
remaining out of reach of
and ideological justification."
- Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
I am a writer. There is nothing and everything special about that. Yes, it's both. I don't have to win a big award or have my words featured in a magazine to know that I am meant to speak and write down truth. I simply know I have to do this, and I do. That makes me a writer. The sheer number of people claiming that title makes me a drop in the ocean- the "nothing special" of which I speak. The inner burning to tell truth and keep a record of telling truth; the confirmation inside that tells me this is right because it is fulfilling- that is the everything.
Some days I am on fire. I speak words as if they are not even my own, they come from a place so deep within, a sacred place where ideas and dreams and hopes are born. I love these days. It is at these times I do not question my calling. I am walking on the water of my crystal clear life-purpose. On these days, I have no drive to seek affirmation. I just do what I am meant, weaving with the golden threads I am given. My heart speaks to me. Nature speaks to me. Truth speaks to me through the mystery of other dimensions. (You know there are other dimensions, right? We wouldn't ever talk about them or imagine them or get caught up in their stories if they didn't exist- somewhere. But it is a mystery.)
Other days, lots of days- today for instance- (just this morning in fact,) can find me battling a heartless inner critic. Look at all those blogs linked on social media. Which ones do I read? They are all pulling to me and I have to make decisions on which ones, (if any!) I spend my sacred hours. And then I think, oh yeah, this is exactly how my own blog posts look to all my fellow worshipers of The One Click. Cue WE-ARE-ALL-DROPS-IN-THE-OCEAN despair. I look at all the waves lapping around me, and my crystal clear purpose becomes a muddy, churning, vicious sea I must fight not to drown within.
I begin to sink. Slowly. Into the waves. I am a drop and I will not be remembered. The end.
While on the subject of insanity, are you wondering why I quoted what I quoted above? It was my epiphany for today. (If you're not a monk or a poet, insert writer or artist into one of those spots and it will do nicely.) When I begin to look around at the vast sea of writers, bloggers, authors, many with a following much larger than mine, I could say "what's the point?" along with the rest of the make-sense world. Or... I can choose to be a degenerate and commit the absurd act of doing my thing anyway. Even if it doesn't make money. Even if it doesn't make me influential. Even if The Best Mom in the World becomes my only reader.
I do my best work, my very best work, when I am Nobody Important because I am not caring about being Important, I am too busy absurdly splashing ink around into odd little characters that say things that maybe the make-sense world can't use. But the hungry hearts and grief-drifting souls can recognize it as something to fill again what has long stood empty- a life made hollow by the demands of productivity. So, thanks for the occasional wave, big boats. I love you and wouldn't want to do this life without you. But personally, I'd rather be a degenerate.