Putting Down the Fugue

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Along with the sorry state of the world, heavy matters of life and death have left me without a soft place to land and write.  I spent several weeks just thinking, trying to pin down a faceable subject.  But I kept returning to an exhaustive rehash of other people’s criticisms of my work. What a fugue; but it provided an effective escape from the recent tragedies and losses.  Enough already, it’s time to let it go.  So please bear with me as I do.

Beginning this litany with the comments of a well-published essayist, he suggested that each subject of these latest shorts is packed enough for a whole book.  My close friend who’s a copy writer and poet has respect for the discipline of the epic-on-a-single-page.  And his preference is an original voice that includes consciousness and politics over obvious spiritual or political writing.  However, some do favor my inspirational columns, and others are most interested when my pieces hit upon today’s issues.

While the above mentioned essayist has no objection to Self as a subject, a few are of the opinion that personal writing is indulgent, possibly ugly, although no one has used that word to me.  My siblings don’t object to pieces from our collective past, but they remember events differently than the way I tell them.  And at a reading in Kansas City, one family member said: “You know, Steph, if I didn’t have to work so hard, I’d like to write a book too. ”

As much as writing is a privilege, it’s not an evening in front of the TV with a box of chocolates and a G’n’T.  The process (not complaining, just stating facts) often requires drilling through a mountain of resistance.  Yet, because life doesn’t make sense without writing, when I’m struggling in the dark to come up with a decent sentence, or trying to figure out what the piece is really about, I have no desire to escape.

Much of what I’ve learned about myself is from the commitment to this work and reading other authors brave enough to expose the foibles of humanity.  Even though it is an interior practice and I stay true to the subjects that interest me, others’ criticisms are invaluable.  But this rehashing exercise has eaten up enough time.  So I’ve cleared my slate and shall begin again.

9 thoughts on “Putting Down the Fugue

  1. All art emerges from the soul of the creator no matter which form of expression it may be. I always look forward to your incredible insights to life as viewed through your experience. I cherish and embrace what you do. Your outlook has always made my journey in this life so much better. Thank You for always giving me that glimpse of heart, soul and honesty–something we all need in this world as we work our way through the trials and tribulations of it all.

  2. Feedback and criticism have a place, but it is you who decides what that place is. As in meditation, thoughts come our way and many we send off like birds in the sky. Some we fold up and lay down to retrieve later. Easier said than done, I KNOW — but offered from the heart.

    You’ve received a lot of feedback over time and much of it serves you well. Maybe it no longer does. Who are you writing for, anyway? Only you are the decider of that.

    Though I don’t know her, I echo Dixie’s sentiment that your outlook informs mine in a very good way. You may keep or discard this bit of input: keep writing! I smile as I write that because I’m pretty sure you don’t have a lot of choice in that; I’m pretty sure you are compelled to write.

    • I agree with you Scottie! I have found that the critics are always there throughout our entire life. At times a critical point is made that makes one think at a higher level and improves the experience which is a very good thing. I think when someone is being critical of another artist’s statement, does the one doing the critique really look at what speaks to that person vs what speaks only to them? Are they looking for a replica of their own school of thought vs opening their own mind to what others are doing creatively and the forces that moved them to create?
      I am a huge fan of personal statements that artists make through their work, those are the ones I love the most.

    • Writing IS my only choice, and if I’m not trying to keep the grief down, I won’t need to use other people’s thoughts as my distraction! Your comments are always meaningful, Scottie.

  3. Dear Stephanie.

    I understand what you are going thru here. I admire your writing and your courage so much. You really live the examined life!!! This feels like it is going to lead to a transition of some sort. I am so sorry for all your recent losses .It all feels much too cruel .

    There is no question that you need to write to live and that part of you lives to write. I look forward to whatever is going to emerge . I know what hard work writing is especially when you care about expressing the depth of human experience . You search for authenticity and beauty and there is nothing easy about this even though I know at times it does flow more easily than at other times. Going where you go requires incredible effort and courage. love Saundra

    >

  4. Stephanie
    I cannot imagine the world without the lens that your eye sees through and thus express in your spoken word and your written word. i hold an image of you up in a tree, your good friend, where you have perfectly balanced among the branches a grand hard bound book full of thousands of pages in which you are filling with written word, your head and heart attentive to the wind and the birds, ever listening

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