I spent Boxing Day reading a book by Gail Carson Levine called ‘Writing Magic’. I found it in the kids section of the bookstore. The back of the book says for ages 8 and up. I was 8 years old once. Still feel like it at Christmas. So I bought the book and the one that follows it, too, ‘Writer to Writer’.
Gail says ‘drop your idea and follow your story wherever it takes you’. And she is right.
Gail is writing about writing. When I read this, I hear it as more than that. I hear it as advice for living my life.
Drop my idea and follow my story. These words chime in me, bells singing out ‘Listen’. So I am listening. This is what I hear.
I have ideas about how my life should be. Some of these ideas help. They give me things to reach for. Like at 8 years old, I knew I was both writer and artist rolled into one. Then, some years later, I heard other ideas from other people about how artists never have money to live on and writers go crazy. So after my first year of fine arts at college, I switched to business administration. I followed someone else’s ideas instead of my story.
I know my life would be different now, if I had followed my story rather than taking a detour. I never lost the story in me. I circled back to artist and writer, carrying all kinds of other skills and experiences into my creating.
Drop my ideas—expectations, judgments, comparisons, rules, resistance, arguments. Much of this I hear from others. I take on other people’s values, judgments, expectations of me and my world, and accept them as mine. Some I create all on my own. Let that go. Yes, drop it all.
Follow my story—my intuition, what I love, what speaks to me in my heart, the words and images that ring clear for me, sending shivers across my skin and through my body. This is me. This is my story. Choose these things that ring true for me.
Resonance is what I am feeling. I could say follow my music, the song I hear. My song is different from everyone else’s. If I don’t listen and follow it, create from it, no one else will, because no one else hears this song.
What a loss for all of us when we don’t let others hear their own song and create from it. What a loss when we don’t listen to our own song and let it sing clear through to creation.
Gail is right.
Drop your idea and follow your story wherever it takes you.
Let yourself sing so we all can hear.
Mentioned in this post: