Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It's not that I have forgotten about Persist: The Blog; it's rather that I have been choosing to keep up with my posts at The Buddha Diaries. But Thanksgiving came along to remind me just how easy it is to get distracted, and how easily distraction can slip over into laziness and neglect.

It's a problem I know I share with virtually every other creative person on the planet. Oh, I know there are some writers and some artists out there whose discipline--obsession?--is such that nothing will ever distract them. They keep at it seven days a week, rain or shine, holiday or no holiday, despite family and friends. I'm not among them. Actually, the truth is that they kind of piss me off! They hold up an overly polished mirror in which I readily see all my imagined faults. There is some part of me, I confess, that's out to shame me for not sharing that dedication. The part that nags at my conscience, whispering "you should..."

Should I? I have to ask myself what I want for myself as a writer. Is there some truth in the argument that to be the true artist, the successful artist, I must abandon every other aspect of my life, including family and friends, and dedicate myself exclusively to my art? The stories of such people are legion--and legend--along with the havoc they wreak in their own lives and the lives of those they love. When I feel envious--and there are times I do--of writers whose names are better known than mine, and whose bank balances are much healthier, I ask myself if I would have met with more success had I chosen to follow their example.

And I do think that may be what it takes to achieve true greatness--the pursuit of one's vision to the exclusion of everything else. It's just not something I'm built for. Family means a great deal to me, as does the time I devote to pursuits other than my writing. For me, then, it's a balance; and like all balancing acts, it requires constant vigilance if I'm to avoid toppling over and falling off the wire. I do need awareness if I want to "persist" in the work I'm given to do; I need to watch my mind when it attaches to the distractions that inevitably come along, and bring it back gently to where it needs to be.


digitalzen said...

I think that the sacrifice of family, friends and so forth are merely signs of dysfunctional behavior in general. Those folks tend to be famous for more than art, and I believe it's a fact that many of us are drawn to it as self-therapy.

eileenS said...

You used the word 'balance' and I think that is what life is all about. We do what is in front of us at the moment, if it is drinking tea then we do it whole heartedly.. not thinking that we should be doing something else. Then we are not present and we miss the opportunity and enjoyment of the whole of life. We need not judge ourselves.