When something bugs you, you have a couple of choices: bitch and whine about it, or deal with it constructively.
It’s easiest, of course, to bitch and whine. Who doesn’t love to complain loudly about how rotten things are, how you’ve been wronged, how unfair life is, what an asshole that person is? The longer you carry on, the more righteous you feel.
Unfortunately, with this strategy the irritant only grows more irritating and you may lose some friends; most of us don’t like whiners.
The alternative is to deal with the irritant. Who knows? In the process you might create something much better.
The oyster takes this route. A piece of sand gets between his two shells (and nowadays a human being actually places the piece of sand there – how cruel is that?). This no doubt scratches or pinches most uncomfortably, so he exudes a smooth shiny material called nacre to cover it up and round out the rough edges.
Et voilà! A pearl. Something of beauty and value.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” I say, “Irritation is the mother of the pearl.” We’re both saying the same thing.
It’s not easy to greet the obstacle as an opportunity to create a pearl. But every day I’m offered countless such opportunities, some tiny, some big.
Right now my kitchen counter is an irritant of minor consequence but major annoyance. The counter is covered with crap, even though I’ve complained loudly to the cleanup crew (me). My kitchen, when buffed up, is such a lustrous pearl I wonder why I don’t do it every night.
A scratchier problem with greater consequences is that I promised myself yearss ago that I would write a book. At my last astrology readying, Ginny (my astrologer – a great one if you need one) said if I didn’t do it soon I’d be on to other things. The stars were right for writing NOW, she said.
Over the years possible subjects on which I could have written a best-seller for sure came and went with regularity. I won’t bore you with all the brilliant ideas I’ve had that died still-born. Some were just a concept, others went as far as a couple dozen neatly labeled (but mostly empty) file folders.
The closest I got to a full book was one about my trip across America in my minivan with my standard poodle, Molly. You know — Travels with Molly — just like Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley. Except instead of being written by one of America’s greatest writers, it would be written by me, freshly separated from my husband of 20 years.
I had already laid down the spine of the story in the form of the 30 chatty field dispatches I emailed home every couple of nights during that 9-week journey. But once I got home I bought a house and began remodeling it. By the time the house project was done, the trip book felt stale, stale, stale.
So. Here I am again. How to create a Pearl around this irritant of the Promise I made to myself to Publish a book? Perseverance is a Problem for me. Procrastination is another. I’ve got my standard of Perfection. How do I share my ideas for Posterity without Pontificating? Finally, a book requires a writer to have a daily writing Practice.
Maybe you can see where I’m going with this. I said to myself, why don’t I blog about my blocks? The responsibility of daily Posting, even if nobody reads it, is what I need.
See you tomorrow.