Writing creatively again after 5 years is not at all like “riding a bike” or an equally bothersome cliché that implies ease. My bike riding is akin to finally getting balance at top speed near the cliff face and have to make the split-second decision to ditch the bike or cause myself bodily harm. I always leave the bike behind, afraid to commit to going over the edge and leaping into the unknown. Yes, I remember how to type words in an order. I remember basic sentence structure. I know most of the jargon of writing, literature, and critique. I remember the authors. By looking at bindings of books I’ve read, I connect to those universes. I remember the faces, the struggles, the places I’ve gone with them. But I feel no ease in writing.
Crafting fiction for me presents a difficulty. I want to do more research. I want to find out how to make it perfect. I want to write the best sentence. Overall, I feel utterly inadequate. I’m afraid to make mistakes. I’m afraid to keep going. To write trash that I hate and keep going. I’m afraid that it will open too many doors I can’t shut. That while opening the floodgates, it will drain me and I’ll be empty after.
Also, I’m afraid to fail. I’m afraid to talk about failure. I’m afraid of not getting published when I finally stop failing to complete things. I’m afraid of never being able to complete things. I’m afraid that I will procrastinate until I’m dead. I’m also afraid that as soon as I become successful or not failing, I’ll get sick and die. I’m afraid that God will smite me for being happy or successful and I’ll be surrounded by accomplishments that I’m proud of and I’ll be struck by lightning (raised protestant, but still have a vengeful God).
So today after discovering a note in one of my books, I have decided to feel slightly better. It is a postcard or a patron note from The Wichita Art Association. On the back it has a quote:
“We want to give every man, woman and child in this broad country of ours the same opportunity which most of us have had, to gain from a knowledge and appreciation of art and the happiness that art will bring.”
-Robert W. deForest
Robert deForest lived from 1848-1931. And he was the fifth president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was elected on October 20, 1913. He also was one of the founding members of the American Federation of Arts which hoped to “bring the museum to the people“. I also found a publication that gave me a little more information from November 25, 1922. It gave me some insight into who he was and showed the first picture of the DIA (Detroit Institute of Art, which probably was the coolest thing I found — I’m in love with that place).
So share your art. Get it out. Stop being afraid (this last bit mostly for me).