Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for Idle

It's the A to Zed Challenge! I'll be posting the first half of the month from Ottawa where I'm staying with my youngest and his partner and their newest - a little guy who was born the end of March. Yay!

Theme? Writing and Life is what comes to me... how to balance the writing life with the other tugs you may have...

The ABCDEaria of the Writing Life -

I is for Idle 
Yep, idle! You heard me. If you are an artist - a writer, director, painter, game-creator, cook, etc... then you must learn to be idle. If it doesn't come naturally that is. Er..hem. Those of us who were brought up with folks that are of the Scottish Presbyterian persuasion might still believe that being idle is just giving the devil a free pass to mess with our souls. We will have to work hard to embrace idleness. Hope you got the weirdness in that sentence. That's how we can fool the real demons - those ancestral voices that tell us to put our heads down and be productive. We can make achieving idleness a project! 

And why do we need to be idle? Because that is where our creativity comes from.  We need to be quiet, still, and let those ideas percolate. We need to give the seeds of our creations some dark nurturing loamy earth to sprout from. That is what idleness provides. If you have folks that you live with who don't get this then you will have to improvise when caught idling. If your husband or mother or boss (agh!) enters the room where you are supposed to be 'working' and sees you upside down in the easy chair (what? you don't do this? it is essential) then you must figure out your back story. To husband saying "I was just thinking about when we can fix those storm gutters," will cause him to back out pretty quickly. To mother suggesting "I'm doing this because my doctor said it might help with the migraines," will do the trick. As for your boss - there you are on your own! Perhaps being idle at your day job isn't such a good idea.

When we are trying to balance a life of art with a family life the need for idleness can sometimes be forgotten. You MUST schedule it in that case - otherwise you'll be all hat and no cattle. You'll look busy but you won't have the necessary to create with.

There is a goal and there is a sheet of ice. One must move the puck over the empty ice to get to the goal. Okay terrible metaphor but I don't have my usual stock of photos to play with.


Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - I couldn't agree more. We need those times of healing and nurturing when we're idle. Our spirits aren't. They use that time to grow and mature. Hooray for that!

Bish Denham said...

I totally agree. Being idle is like charging a battery. It's like meditating. It's stilling the mind so that you can really hear what needs to be heard.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

With all the posts about time organization and getting busy writing, this one trumps them all. The need to be idle!! Because of course, all that busy-ness will kill creativity, while idleness brings it to the forefront.

And this sentence made me LOL: To husband saying "I was just thinking about when we can fix those storm gutters," will cause him to back out pretty quickly.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

P.S. I hadn't yet followed you with my new Blogger identity-- now remedied!

Shelagh McNally said...

I believe in creative idleness. Ideas need time to percolate. Congrats on the new nephew.