Sometime back in February, Claire posted about this extraordinary experience she had with her own, personal Clarence (of the guardian angel variety), who told her exactly what she needed to hear, exactly when she needed to hear it.
Susan’s been on a kick about messages from the Universe.
And me, I’ve just been on a jaunt of self discovery, fumbling toward some new path because the old one–that I’d be quitting my day jobs by the end of this year to devote myself to writing because my ship should have COME IN (yeah, that one)–isn’t happening.
But anyway, because of all these kinds of things, I’ve been trying to pay attention more to the signs of kismet or fate or karma or whatever you want to call it that are thrown in my direction. Or perhaps that beat me upside the head like a Gibbs slap (because, let’s face it, I am not a woman of subtlety…I require pretty big signs). And even I’ve been forced to admit that I’ve been getting a lot of them in the last 24 hours.
It all started yesterday when I began reading Holly Lisle’s Create A Plot Clinic, in which she notes “You’ll learn more from every mistake than you ever would from getting it perfect the first time.”
Which has really been knocking around my brain like a pinball since I read it because, HELLO, my END GOAL is to get it as close to perfect the first time as possible so that I’m not wasting time on other stuff since I have so little time to write in the first place. The whole idea of screwing it up offends my sensibilities both as an overachiever and a person who believes in efficiency.
So I mentioned this to Claire yesterday and she observed “I think part of growing as a writer for you (and I hope this doesn’t sound condescending because of course we ALL have growing to do) will entail separating your writer self from your efficient get-all-the-things-done self.” See how smart she is? Because, yo, this is SO FREAKING TRUE. And on a completely intellectual level, I get that. And I figure that will be a whole lot easier to swallow when I someday have more TIME to write and my life isn’t automatically ruled by the concept of efficiency simply because its necessary to Get All The Things done.
Oh, but the Universe didn’t stop there.
Later last night, Susan and Andrew and I were having a confab over some stuff we’ve all been reading–this idea of looking at mistakes or problems as opportunities (more wisdom from Holly Lisle). My interpretation of that was “I think it’s more that crap is going to happen. That’s life. And you should look at whatever the crap is to find the gold nugget of opportunity hidden within.” To which Andrew added:
“We’re all at different skill levels which come with different limitations. In order to get past them, it’s probably better to find the nugget of knowledge AND said nugget might be easier for a someone else to find because they’ve either been through it or have a different perspective on the subject. And sometimes the nugget might be harder to find and/or might take additional failures to find. So, over analyzation: bad. Light contemplation with continued forward momentum: good.” [emphasis mine]
I have really smart friends.
So I go to bed kinda mellow and pondering what I’m supposed to be learning from my present failure (i.e. the 10k I whacked last weekend from Riven) [To which I've added back a little over 800 this week--see, there is actually an update in here].
And THEN this morning, in my inbox, I get a copy of this essay, which starts off, aptly enough with:
THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF MY APOCALYPSE are called Efficiency, Convenience, Profitability, and Security, and in their names, crimes against poetry, pleasure, sociability, and the very largeness of the world are daily, hourly, constantly carried out. These marauding horsemen are deployed by technophiles, advertisers, and profiteers to assault the nameless pleasures and meanings that knit together our lives and expand our horizons.
Which is…kinda angry, now that I read it again.
The author goes on to say:
…the same problem applies to most of the technological changes we embrace and many of the material and spatial ones. The gains are simple and we know the adjectives: convenient, efficient, safe, fast, predictable, productive. All good things for a machine, but lost in the list is the language to argue that we are not machines and our lives include all sorts of subtleties—epiphanies, alliances, associations, meanings, purposes, pleasures—that engineers cannot design, factories cannot build, computers cannot measure, and marketers will not sell. [Emphasis mine]
Efficient. Fast. Productive.
All things I’m trying to be in the name of maximizing my output in the limited time I have available.
When did I turn into a machine, y’all? When did I forget that at the end of the day, I’m making art? At some point, I’ve let this become about product and profitability and marketing–which is understandable as I won’t be able to quit my day jobs without all of that…but that’s not WHY I’m doing it. Or it shouldn’t be. It didn’t USED to be.
So…yeah, I’ve got a lot to think about and I’m pretty sure I really needed to hear all of this just now.