The pain of art, the joy of living

NS June 14th, 2010

You know how some artists (whatever their medium; painting, music, writing, what have you) depend on being miserable, sad, angry, depressed, lonely, frustrated, misunderstood, tired, undervalued or oppressed (or all of the above) to create their art? And how when they’re happy, busy, valued, surrounded by people, encouraged and clear-headed, with a joyful, fulfilling and healthy personal, professional and social life, they sort of lose their edge?

That feels like me right now. I’m flailing. I’m losing my ‘art’. I’m losing my blogging mojo. I’m losing interest in fighting the fights I’ve been fighting for so long. I feel less and less inclined to come up with topics to write about, things to get incensed about, news to devour and dissect. I haven’t read the papers but one time since the British elections on the 6th of May. I have read articles that would normally have me writing lengthy screeds in opposition or approval and felt nothing but the briefest glimmers of interest. I log in then I log out. I stay up late trying to figure out why I’m drawing such blanks and get less and less sleep. I become more irritable.

But then one day I just stopped for awhile. I had other things going on and didn’t have time. Normally I’m itching to get back to my ‘online life’ after a brief spell away; this time I had to force myself to log in. I felt bored. I felt restless.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve recently taken up running. I’m doing a 5k at the end of next month and have been going three times a week fairly faithfully. Yesterday my regimen notched itself up from 8 minutes at a time to 20. I looked at what the running app on my iPhone screen was commanding me to do  and gaped. Go from an 8-minute run to 20 with nothing in between? No gentle breaking-in, no gradual increase over a long period of time? Who the hell did this running app think it was, bloody Richard Simmons?! I gave it a wary eye and told myself that if I couldn’t make it, so be it. It was too much to ask, anyway! It would be a miracle if I didn’t need to stop due to bursting lungs or cramping calves or some other such affliction.

But it turns out, I did it. I did it and it wasn’t even that difficult. I could do that run all along but I was holding myself back. I didn’t think I could do it so I didn’t even try.

For the last few years, ever since I had my daughter, I’ve been waiting for my life to find its niche, its groove, its upward trajectory towards success and happiness. But it turns out that you can’t wait for this shit to happen; you have to make it happen. You have to pour your heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into it and then wade head-first, eyes open, into the mix instead of standing on the sidelines feebly throwing cups of water at those racing past you.

Right now I am going through some intense transformations; from couch potato into runner, from a frustrated writer and stay-at-home mum to an independent businesswoman and running-three-websites mum, from distant, grumpy wife to more engaged partner and from a mother unhappy with her parenting practices and interactions with her children to one taking control and doing things to rectify those negative practices, ones that stem mainly from that discontent I spoke of earlier.

Needless to say, something has got to give.

So while I love my art and I love my little corner of cyberspace and the friends, opportunities, emotional and intellectual growth it has provided me, I am beginning to feel that I may be done with Noble Savage. I’ve been going for over five years and I’m not sure what else I can say, really. I’ve poured my heart out, written my fingers to the bone, researched, read, reported, raged, ranted, laughed, cried and gone a little bit loopy in the process.

Maybe I’m not going to get that book deal or journalism job or freelance gig after all. Maybe all I was ever destined to do was write this blog to meet the people and read the things that grew my mind and fed my soul enough to get me on my life’s true path, one that will make me happier, more fulfilled, more at ease and successful than my years-long dream of being a published author or  respected hack ever would have afforded me.

Maybe I just need a break, with no defined return. Maybe  a complete release from the pressure of a blank screen and a full RSS reader will do the trick and when things have settled down with the doula business and the running and getting my marriage back on track, I will have more to say, and better. Hell, maybe tomorrow I will wake up having completely changed my mind and be ready to tear the shit out of some article in the Times or wax lyrical about the highs and lows of parenthood.

But for now, the joy of living is overriding the gut-wrenching pain and time involved in creating my art. And this time, I’m going to let it.

15 Responses to “The pain of art, the joy of living”

  1. BoozleBox says:

    Tryed to comnent last night but weirdness ensued. Trying again.

    So my initial (and very selfish) ‘Oh bugger – no more Noble Savage’ was (almost) immediately follow by ‘Hallelujah- what a fantastic, joyful post!’
    It’s weird isn’t it that I am genuinely sitting here grinning from ear to ear that someone I don’t know at all has found some answers? God bless the Internet! And whatever it is that’s given you the motivation can I have some please? Bon Voyage!
    BoozleBox´s last blog ..I’m writing this instead of packing…My ComLuv Profile

  2. Dan says:

    I think 5 years amy be a natural ending point for blogs.

    Certainly i’ve been feeling it.

    Good luck, and I’ll keep you in my google reader just in case :)

  3. I felt some of all this recently and took a break from blogging and tweeting and all that and have come back much more refreshed and a lot calmer about it all. I write when I have something interesting to say – not because I think I should because it’s a Tuesday and I haven’t posted since Friday and am enjoying it much more. Good luck with everything. x
    Hot Cross Mum´s last blog ..How to be the perfect mumMy ComLuv Profile

  4. TheMadHouse says:

    I wish you the best in anything you chose to do and yes i will miss reading your blog, but RL is much more important
    TheMadHouse´s last blog ..Saturday Story WorkshopMy ComLuv Profile

  5. Potty Mummy says:

    I think a lot of us are feeling that. Best of luck with it, in any case – will miss you (and envy you, too…)
    Potty Mummy´s last blog ..Stupid is as stupid says…My ComLuv Profile

  6. Liz says:

    I’ll definitely say this about running: it gives you a whole new outlook on life, spurs you on, gives you more energy and makes you more excited about the world and your place in it. Good luck, enjoy your happiness and don’t forget how awesome running can make you feel :D

  7. jen says:

    as you know, i’ve come to similar conclusions not so long ago.

    real life should always be fuller and richer than spending hours sitting in front of a screen.

    and getting wound up about news or situations, while often entirely necessary and appropriate, has an impact on your overall mood. it takes energy and time to maintain a state of righteous indignation. time and energy taken away from enjoying the here and now.

    someone once said to me, “life is as good as you make it. so make it better.” don’t ever feel guilty for making and enjoying happiness, wherever you find it. life is far too short.

  8. Anji says:

    I’d miss you if you stopped blogging,

  9. Anji says:

    Damn, hit return too early. I was going to say “I’d miss you if you stopped blogging, but I trust that you’re making the best decision for you. Will you still be around in other places?”

  10. A blogging break. It’s all the rage, you know.

    Lovely to read you so full of vim and vigour and oomph and whatever else it’s called.
    Iota Manhattan´s last blog ..Taking a breakMy ComLuv Profile

  11. geekymummy says:

    Running can be transformative. Good luck and go go go, with everything.
    I have to say I’m hoping you still feel the need to write to us too.
    geekymummy´s last blog ..On LanguageMy ComLuv Profile

  12. [...] just hit me, sitting here in a coffee shop, why I might be feeling so fed up with blogging. It’s not because I have nothing left to say or don’t have the desire to write any more [...]

  13. Capital Mom says:

    Do it! Go forth and live life! I will wish you well.
    Capital Mom´s last blog ..TenMy ComLuv Profile

  14. blues says:

    I get it, I’m sputtering along half-heartedly myself and just can’t find the time anymore. I’m running too, and doing yoga, and cooking more, and wanting to improve my marriage and (gasp) read books! It’s making my little hobby diminish every day, but I just can’t let go all the way because I have my days where I just need to put something down in writing and I think the same will happen to you.

    The thing is, my blog is there for me when I have something to say, and when I don’t, I no longer worry about feeding it. I don’t have as many readers as I used to, but I no longer care and know now that it’s more about the words I put down than the reaction I get, whereas before I was fueled by it.

    One thing is for sure – I’m never giving up my google reader, and you’ll always be in there, so even if you pop up in there every couple months, whenever you just HAVE to get something out, you’ll have a reader out of me.
    blues´s last blog ..I’m fine, really, I just needed to go for a jog and to say the fuck-word ten hundred timesMy ComLuv Profile