By Deborah Baudoin
Warning: This is a very long post. If you wish, feel free to use Instapaper to save this to your Kindle or other device for offline reading.
A Blog In Search of Itself
Yesterday I posted that I was planning on making some changes on this blog. I’ll be honest–in the years since starting Ten Thousand Soapboxes, I’ve struggled with the nature of this blog. It began as a platform for me to discuss current issues, particularly those of a political or activist nature. And during the High Holy Election Season, I tend to do this a lot.
But drogging through U.S. and world politics, while invigorating, is problematic. For one thing, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of great blogs that offer better insight into the complexity and challenges of human governance (I would strongly suggest the great Bill Moyers‘ site or Robert Reich, if you’re in the market for intelligent discussion). My political views, while valid and strong, are hardly adding to the conversation in a meaningful way.
Another problem of focusing specifically on political issues is the wear and tear it places on my psyche. There is no way to look at today’s society without acknowledging the mistakes, abuses, and general dysfunction of it all. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to avoid adding my voice to the growing negativity that is shadowing our world.
So I decided to lay off the politics, and let wiser voices take the lead.
Which left the problem of an empty blog to fill. I tried posting about my writing, my life, my Day Job™, etc. This led to a horrible realization – I’m fairly boring. My life is fairly boring. Why on Earth would anybody want to read about the tedium of my days?
Fast forward a year or so, and you have the current status of Ten Thousand Soapboxes.
Collapsing Into Meaning
Do you want to know how to drive a person crazy? Stop up their creative flow. Whether they are an artist, a musician, a builder, a cook, no matter. We humans are a creative lot, and we do not fare well as mere consumers of life. (Which would account for a lot of the problems Western society is having, but that’s a blog topic for another day…)
How does a writer act when they cannot write? What fills their free time when nothing fills the page? Well, in this writer’s case, not a whole lot besides depression and junk food. I’ve spent much of the last year completely down on myself–my latest novel is dead in the water, every attempt at a short story dies in vitro, and even my blogging-for-hire ideas have dried up.
My life, outside of the Day Job™, has been watching documentaries, crashing on the couch, and cruising Facebook for adorable cat videos.
At least, that’s how I tell it in my darkest moments. In truth, I made my first professional sale this year, an article for Sage Woman Magazine. I surpassed a milestone of 125 posted blog sales with Blogmutt. I started publishing very short fiction at Medium. And with my partner Fey, I started a small tarot reading business called Two Ladies Tarot.
Not exactly a dead tuna, but my inability to get traction with my writing made it feel that way.
The Voice of Reason
About a week ago, Fortune placed a phone number in my hand. It was, in fact, the number for a free conference call with acclaimed artist/author Sark, whose work I have admired for years. The name of the conference call was “The Power of Creating and Collapsing with SARK.” I figured, the call was free and nothing else was working with the writing.
On the day of the call, though, I found myself on the couch, not wanting to participate. My depression was pretty high, and my energy was low. Somehow, though, I dragged myself to the call and dialed the number.
I got a lot from the 90 minute call I won’t go into here – tools for writers, ideas for dealing with disheartening emotions, etc. But the one thing that helped the most was the idea of the “I See You” letter, written through you from your Inner Wise Self. The free-writing technique simply gets you out of the way for your Higher Self to talk to you, through you. My first attempt at this was good, and I even got to read it for the group.
Then the call ended and i went back to my old bad habits…until yesterday.
Yesterday was a bad day. Yesterday was a black day, full of self-hate and recriminations and all those horrible things writers do to beat up on themselves when they’re not writing.
Then I remembered the “I See You” letter and decided, “what the hell?”
So I got out of my way and started writing.
Hello. I see you. You remember I’m here, from time to time. It doesn’t matter what you call me. It doesn’t matter how you see me. I’m here. Every single moment of every single day. I’m here. There’s nothing to fear.
So you’ve been lifting weights again? Picking up burdens, flexing your muscles, proving how self-sufficient you can be. Are you exhausted yet, carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? I’m tired just watching you. But it’s your choice. You can do it the hard way…you often do.
And writing some more.
So. Here we are-where we always are-faced with a choice. To choose suffering or to choose joy. Both have contstructive and destructive aspects. Ah, heavens! Construction! Destruction! One the good, one the bad!
Stop assigning value, Sweetie Face! Or don’t stop. It’s all good (and bad).
And it occurred to me–my Inner Wise Self was a much better writer than I am.
The Crux of the Problem
Finally, in the course of writing this meandering journal entry, it came to me. The source of all the problem. The source of all my struggles with this blog.
So back to the Big Question – to suffer or not to suffer? Big Picture – Peace, Joy and Healthy Snacks. Little Picture – Crazy Making.
How can I stay with the Big Picture, you ask, when I am So Small™?
Are you small? What is small? Where does big end and small begin? Where does any anything end and something else begin?
Big. Small. Good. Bad. Joy. Suffering. None of these words have meaning to me, not on this level.
The world is such a huge place. The cosmos, huger still. We are such tiny, tiny things in the face of this reality. What possible impact could a single voice have on the world?
And then it hit me.
Something. I can’t do much, but I can do something. I can send a bit of that Inner Wise Self (IWS, for short) out in to the cosmos, hoping against hope it might collide with another human consciousness and give it a little nudge. And maybe that nudge might start a chain reaction.
We are inundated with negativity. We are pounded by it, every waking hour.
My voice, in any way possible, needs to act as a counter agent.
Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It
So here’s what I’d like to ask of you, my readers. Look to your right. There’s a “Share” button. It’s small, but you really can’t miss it if you try. If you like what I write on this blog, click that button and share it on your favorite social media site. Email it to your friends. Not to make me some Big Famous Writer™, but to be a part of a wave standing up to the hatred and negativity.
If you’re of the writerly bent, create your own “I See You” letter. Check in with your own Inner Wise Self and see what they have to tell you. Post anything you want to share in the comments. Start your own Inner Wise Blog. Send me the link, and I will follow you.
I challenge you, as I am challenging myself, not to stand helpless, depressed, and powerless in the face of today’s world. Wake up, speak up, and make a difference (even if it’s a small one).
We are all tiny parts of a huge, ginormous whole. We have power. We can choose what we are, what we do, and how we influence the world.
Will you join me?
Blessings to you all–Deborah