‘Artists are magical helpers. Evoking symbols and motifs that connect us to our deeper selves, they can help us along the heroic journey of our own lives. [...]
The artist is meant to put the objects of this world together in such a way that through them you will experience that light, that radiance which is the light of our consciousness and which all things both hide and, when properly looked upon, reveal. The hero journey is one of the universal patterns through which that radiance shows brightly. What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulﬁllment or the ﬁasco. There’s always the possibility of a ﬁasco. But there’s also the possibility of bliss’ – Joseph Campbell
This. THIS. I need to re-read this so many times. He’s talking about writing, of course, as well as visual art. And this project is totally a hero journey for me. I’m a little bit stuck in the Slough of Despond at the moment. Can I do it?
Part of my angst is that the more time I waste, the less time I have to make my stories good, and so the less I feel like writing them at all. Because of the time I’ve already wasted, this project will already be less good than it could have been.
I so, so need that skill of going, ‘Oh. Okay. This has happened. And this is what I’ve got left. Well, I’m going to do the best I can and have the most fun I can with what I’ve got left.’
I need to focus on the fact that I’m doing this first for the dogs and only second for myself, so if I write 1000 bad stories (and that won’t happen, because I’ve already written some I like) and I raise £1000 doing it, I’ll still have reached my first and most important goal.
It’s incredible the amount of embarrassment you have to face doing anything creative in public. With almost every story I write, I go through a phase of thinking it’s humiliatingly bad, it flows wrong, it’s so clearly written by someone with no music in their soul, no taste, no understanding of human nature, a small mind and a shallow heart, and everyone who reads it can see that. This phase usually passes, but man, when you’re in it you’re in it.
I know that to catch back up, I need to just burble out lots of bad stories, but what if someone I really admire sees them and thinks I’m a bad writer?
There’s one friend I haven’t told about this project yet, because she’s someone I look up to, and she’s so talented and such a hard worker, I’d be gutted if she didn’t like my stories, or if I told her about it and then failed to finish the project.
I think right now, I need to reassure myself that I never have to tell her.
Even though she’d be really proud of me.
Even though she’d encourage me, and inspire me, and ask me about it every time we met.
Even though she’s the kind of person who’d probably love my stories.
Even though she’d love the idea of what I’m doing, the wish, the origami birds. Totally her sort of thing.
Even though she loves dogs, and would probably want to sponsor me.
Even though she would totally understand and give me a big hug if I failed to finish.
Even though she believes in me as a writer.
Even though she’d be sad that I didn’t feel I could tell her about something so important to me.
If it makes it easier for me to do this project, I don’t ever have to tell her that I’m doing it. And I don’t have to beat myself up about that. Showing your stuff to people is hard, and I’m only just beginning.
The trouble is that if she asks me how the writing is going, I’m going to blurt it out. I just know I am.
Realistically, I know it’s not that big a deal if she thinks I’m a bad writer. But aargh, this is my thing. It matters to me.
I just need to remember that this is for the dogs and not for my ego, and that even bad writing can be good if it saves dogs’ lives!