My ugliness, my solitude, my experiences have built a protective wall

Diary entry April 17, 2017

Once I have reached my energy limit- my body/mind/spirit experiences a type of fatigue migraine– it comes on when I finally relax and have a day to stop- and seemingly ALL threatens to stop.  My eyes can’t stay open in the tub, my heart feels tender, my to-do list seems unfriendly.  But I know this is my pattern, my rollercoaster of creative process.

Remedy: on with the sweatpants, old tee, old cardigan, thick socks, clogs, rain coat, tote bag full of books and head out to the lagoon.

That is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,
For in my way it lies.

I walk around the lagoon in absolute solitude- despite the crowds.  I may smile at someone if they smile, but generally I only care about nature and the birds, the raccoons, squirrels.  I have no interest in people on days like this; I have no interest in speaking.

My mind does not churn with angst but processes and there is a strange sensation of an impending cry.  A cry never comes.  I know this is the rubber band pulling back during creative process.  The entire body fatigues.

Once around the lagoon, I stumble my way to the grocery store and more shyness takes over.  I sweat.  My hair is greasy.  I really don’t care because I am protected by my age.  My ugliness, my solitude, my experiences have built a protective wall and inside I am content.  On the outside not so much- but inside.

And in that strange bubble of clumsy solitude and shyness and recoil and disdain for crowds, I feel strangely FREE.

Now I am sitting at a coffee shop, head down, writing- blissful in my ugliness- that same girl who spat at herself in the mirror in Grade 8 but who at the same time had a secret place deep in her heart that was free and loved and powerful.

I had my family.  I had my art.

I have my family.  I have my art.

There are days I have countless hours of energy for output.  Then it dips when I rest and I get that fatigue migraine again.  I am safe here at this table.  Surrounded by others in their solitude bubble.  The muse sits with me.  She reaches out to touch my hand and inaudibly whispers- time to write.  She guides.

The energy comes back.  The body lightens.  And the comfort of ugliness in old shitty clothes envelop me.  I am safe in here.

Gas mask

What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue. – Henri Matisse

It is important now for me to honor this call for retreat. #creativeprocess

I sense it is time to really retreat in between work schedules and ensure cave time to focus on my passion project: Molly, a true crime analysis.  Seek solitude, writes Delacroix.  I hear you.  I am in a fantastic place regarding the project- she feels ripe, ready, eager.  Through a tear in the fabric of time and space, Molly, long dead, guides, revealing more and more.  It astounds and humbles me.

“Murder, though it hath no tongue, will speak with most miraculous organ.”
— Shakespeare, “Hamlet”


Creative process includes allowing for gestation, gathering resources, paying the rent.  But it also requires intense dedication.  And obedience.  So it is important now for me to honor this new call for retreat.

We need quiet time to figure things out, to emerge with new discoveries, to unearth original answers. – Ester Buchholz


And having allowed the project to gather even more evidence of late, it seems very much like gathering supplies in order to build.  To sculpt.


Writing non-fiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing. – Joan Didion

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Twyla Tharp, chinamarker on newsprint

Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. That’s it in a nutshell. ― Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life