Notice her four arms–typical of artist-writers-musicians-performers. The doubled images tell the story. Can we be in two places at the same time? Maybe. See the conversation below between “Swamped” and the Creative Catalyst. –Janet Riehl
Dear Creative Catalyst: It’s only the first week of the school year, and I’m feeling swamped already! Is dancing and leading workshops in addition to teaching a dodge from my main work as a poet? Is it a secret wish for failure?
Swamped in Savannah
Dear Swamped: That depends on your motivation and how you manage time and energy. Does fear not being enough lead you toward distraction? More practically, are you over-booked?
Swamped: I think I’m in search of something, but I don’t know what.
Creative Catalyst: Wholeness, as I see it. But there is only so much of you to go around. Your quest leads to fragmentation rather than wholeness.
Swamped: I want to feel that expressing myself as a poet is enough. I want to feel worthy without having to add another layer—say, becoming a nature mystic before I can be a worthy poet.
Creative Catalyst: It’s a bitch to be an artist in our linear world! Be careful not to internalize judgments from family and friends. Sure, it’s okay to be the poet you are without another layer. You don’t have to prove yourself to feel worthy.
Layering springs from a creative impulse and is a quest for richness. Simpler is easier. But now all the richness, wholeness, and layering is a part of you and your poetry. Do not renounce an iota of the richness yet continue to focus. Do what you can without going crazy.
Swamped: How can I know if I’m sidestepping commitment?
Creative Catalyst: Ask yourself if some fear leads toward your seeking distraction.
Swamped: If were truly committed to my writing, wouldn’t I do something like go on a month-long writer’s retreat and dive deep into myself?
Creative Catalyst: Not necessarily. You don’t have to prove yourself by undertaking extraordinary steps. Staying home and doing your work is enough.
However, I love the self-guided writing retreat idea! You could even dance during your retreat! Does dancing, your secondary interest, feed your primary writing interest? If so, you’re on a path that will serve your work.
Swamped: Oh, yes. For me, the rhythms and music of dance embody the rhythms and musicality of language. I know that dance helps reduce my stress. It makes me feel alive and healthy. Plus, it’s fun to be in community with women. Even when we speak different languages, dance unites us.
Creative Catalyst: It’s rejuvenating— your personal Fountain of Youth.
Swamped: How can I tell when studying with a teacher will help me, and when it’s hiding from what I know? This is so not people-speak 🙂
Creative Catalyst: Take stock of what you know now. Do you need to know more in order to go further? Claim your authority, and give it a go. Perhaps later you’ll benefit from taking another class.
Swamped: My new resolution is to focus on my poetry collection in the coming months Instead of spinning off in so many different directions.
Creative Catalyst: Focusing your prodigious talent and energies makes perfect sense. Go easy on yourself, and let your work flow.
Pose questions about practical creativity; give ideas for future cycle themes; and join in the dialog. See the Creative Catalyst archive at http://bit.ly/9z1BQv. Learn more about our audio book “Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry and Music”at http://bit.ly/aZVd1e. Become a Riehlife Villager http://www.riehlife.com.