Sunday, April 24, 2011

Creative Offroading: Are We There Yet?

Allow me a little offroading with this one, writers.

As I was resting from some serious Easter lunch overindulgence, I heard Dorothy in a far off room telling her valiant traveling companions, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home." Instantly I smiled, first thinking The Wizard of Oz never gets old and because my dad, who passed away about 5 years ago, dreaded watching the show his 5 daughters insisted he watch every time it aired. I can't watch Dorothy embark on her epic trek down the yellow brick road where she will make her many pit stops to pick up strangers she's met along the way without thinking of dad. I can still see his reluctant smile as he surrendered yet again to another two hours of pure technicolor happiness (he loved it, really!)

I think of my dad often as I travel down my road without him. Dad and I were best pals. He wrote columns for our local paper and we easily enjoyed sitting in the same room with one another for a few hours without saying much of anything - just read or watch TV together. As I hear Dorothy's saga wrap up in the other room, I remember the one piece of advice he gave me, the one I always come back to, "Don't get yourself into anything you can't get yourself out of."

This has kept me out of a lot of trouble in my life but probably most importantly, it's forced me to get myself out of pits I didn't think I was capable of escaping. And in the doing, I've gotten messy, scraped my knees and learned quite a bit about the absolute lows and highs of human nature along the way.

That's a writer's life, isn't it? Getting lost, messy, roughed up. And feeling the relief, wonder and joy after the journey has ended...only to begin a new one. Along this journey, writers will come to me frustrated that they're not "there" yet...always their own worst critic. Too many wrong turns, stop lights...too much road ahead of them yet.

My dears, you will never be "there"'ll always be on the road. So do yourself a favor and get into it. Get yourself deep into it and rely on your gut to find your way. Turn off your screens and use your own common sense - let's do this old school and sing the whole way there. Art is messy. Life is messy, but here you are, a living, breathing, creating being capable of getting yourself out anything.

And be thankful for all those wrong turns and extra loooong stoplights that have held you up considerably. No doubt you gained a few new friends, new skills, a broader perspective, hopefully a sense of humor and most importantly the courage it takes to keep moving forward...and something to really write about.

Happy trails, friends.



  1. Yup, there's no denying art is a messy desk can tragically attest to that. One of these days I got to do some Spring cleaning!

  2. Revision is my spring cleaning...


Leave your thoughts! Feel free to share with us your success stories or tips.