For a year or two years I felt uninspired. I had submitted screenplays to competition and had done pretty well, I had already had four of my plays produced in Chicago, and I already had a bunch of my poems and short stories published in independent zines. I was still working full time and finding time for my creative pursuits was difficult. Trying to balance the creative life, work, and relationships was always a struggle. I didn’t have any ideas that I was passionate about. So I decided to try to be normal. I focused on work, going to the gym, and finding a woman I could feel serious about.
I spent a fair amount of time at the gym. I got in pretty good shape. I was doing better at work, but I would still get yelled at from time to time. When I find something that drives me I throw myself into it.
As the days and weeks turned to fall, I was in better shape than I was in High School and I was feeling good about myself. As the days got shorter I became aware that my days started in the dark, and then there was work, and the gym, and I would come home in the dark. Trying to be a normal guy. My pursuit at normalcy continued through the winter and spring. I didn’t have writerly dreams of writing the great screenplay or the great novel. I didn’t have anything to write about. This all happened some time ago and I might be getting part of the timeline mixed up, but this is the gist of how it happened.
And then I heard about a Butoh workshop that was being held in the desert.
Butoh is a form of Japanese modern dance (that’s a bit of an over simplification, but there’s the Internet if you want to find out more).
The workshop was going to be for five days and four nights in the middle of the desert. It happened at the right time for me. Years before I saw a woman perform Butoh inspired dance (there was a pineapple in the performance) and she had a workshop the next day. I tried out the workshop and afterwards she asked if I studied Butoh before. I hadn’t but I used to study Chinese martial arts.
For years after that I would occasionally try to find more information about Butoh and where I could try it.
So in 2004, I was in the desert with my tent and gear for a five day workshop. In the morning around dawn we would have breakfast, then we would do warm ups and exercises. Then around 10 am we would go to a different location in the landscape and do more exercises. After that was lunch and siesta. In the afternoon were more dance exercises. Around six was dinner and after the sun went down we did vocal exercises. Around 10 or 11pm it was bed time and the next day we did it all again.
After five days in the desert I reconnected with my feelings and after I got home I started writing again.
I broke up with a woman I was seeing at the time and that summer I found love.
I felt the old passion for writing and wrote a one woman show and eventually my second novel.
I learned that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t be normal.
Keeping the passion to write and create has been difficult with the set backs and missteps but I haven’t given up. This looks like the most promising year yet.
You will only find happiness in the creative life if you find happiness in the doing and not the results because you never know what results may come.
Keep writing keep creating.