My apologies for such an extended absence. As you will see, I’ve been a bit busy…
“Leave to your opinions their own quiet undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be pressed or hurried by anything. Everything is gestation and then bringing forth. To let each impression and each germ of a feeling come to completion wholly in itself, in the dark, in the inexpressible, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one’s own intelligence, and await with deep humility and patience the birth-hour of a new clarity: that alone is living the artist’s life: in understanding as in creating.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
I read this quote this past week in an article about the solitude of creativity, something I’ve been feeling a lot recently. And I truly feel nothing speaks more to my life right now than these words by Rilke. My life is currently one mass of gestation. In the very literal sense, I am in the middle of the most important gestation of my life. I have just a few months to go carrying this small bundle of wonder inside me and I have to remind myself every day to slow down and enjoy it. The little (and sometimes not so little) kicks let me know that something incredible is growing and I must have patience (something I am not naturally prone to). But patience and trust in the process has become a necessity in my days now as I wait for this new person’s arrival.
Secondly, my first novel is in the gestation process of publication. Another call for patience (ugh!). For nearly seven years, this story was mine. Something that has been this close to me for so long, my project and my project alone, is now out of my hands. And that is somewhat terrifying. And exhilarating. And nerve-racking. And all I can do is wait (and strategically plan every aspect of the release and marketing). Wait for the process to happen. Wait for drafts and cover designs. Wait for all the little details to come together. And trust that those that I’ve handed my precious project over to know what they’re doing and will come back with the best representation of my years of quiet labor. So, while I let that “come to completion wholly in itself”, I try to move on to the next thing.
And here we arrive at my third current gestation. The one where I most closely lie to Rilke’s thoughts, as I am in a period of creative gestation in the formation of a new project. Every day it seems like new ideas come to me, those little germs of inspiration, and I struggle to find a focus for them. I understand, as he warned, the process “cannot be pressed or hurried by anything”, yet I find myself anxious to take the next step and move forward. My first book has been my focus for so long that, now completed, I feel somewhat overwhelmed by the endless possibilities of the next. I am back to square one and trying to remember how to begin again. It’s exhilarating and terribly daunting. But I continue to take those baby steps that are necessary in the sparking of this process.
So, I “await with deep humility and patience the birth-hour of a new clarity” in more ways than one. This is a time of great physical, mental, and creative growth for me and while it can often be so overwhelming that it grinds to a complete halt, I am taking it day by day. Trusting in the process of each individual gestation and working towards those moments of Rilke’s promised clarity. For that is “living the artist’s life”.