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Art is Scary

cowr2d.gifWriting is elemental. Once you have tasted its essential life, you cannot turn from it without some deep denial and depression. It would be like turning down water. Water is in your blood. You can't go without it. ~ Natalie Goldberg

When a dark thought or a growing insecurity wakes me in the middle of the night or too early in the morning, I make note and then try to ignore it. I know it's an exaggeration that won't loom so large in daylight. It might even push me to clarify or deepen an aspect of my life.

I was recently nudged awake before daybreak with a gnawing doubt about my writing: blogging, facebooking, and the published stories I do for the local paper. Questions began to surface: What am I doing? Where is it leading? Why do I put myself out there, give so much when I know that most of what I write will be forgotten by tomorrow by most people? I felt exposed.

A few days later, in the bright sun of midday and with the cold wind howling through window panes, an answer came: Art is scary.

Whether one is a painter, a writer, a potter, a photographer, an actor, or a musician, the nature of art is to go out on a limb even at the risk of falling. I've watched my artist son drive himself to the point of getting sick. I have artist friends, and I personally know the compulsion of immersing myself in a creative project to the point of losing track of time and forgetting bodily needs.

At first glance most people would think that my blog is a personal one. But I don't see it that way. For me, it's all about the writing, or as Robert Frost so aptly put it: "All the fun is in how you say a thing." I'm no more interested in writing about what I did or ate today than a reader is to hear it. But I do like to cull the gems of everyday detail. I like to touch on our human commonality and tell the back story of life.

Blog, book, or paper, they're all variations of my writer's canvas, ways to express what I think, whether through prose, poetry, or photography. I remind myself how phobic I was in the past about public speaking, but how I didn't let it keep me from doing poetry readings. By not caving into my fear, performing on stage became more manageable, over time.

Writers are like mountain climbers exploring the inner landscape. Climbers say they climb because they have to, because the mountain is there. Writers write for the same reason. We think our way to the top. The path for us is through story. Sometimes the path is scary.


I write to clarify my thinking - it helps me make sense of what I read.

Yes, Colleen, I resonate with this and as you know just jumped off the cliff! I'm afraid of heights, but have jumped before. And, I'm jumping again. The day came and went as I was creating, and "what's on my things to do list?" Exploring and Exposing.
And I see you have managed to move quite a bit to eblogger!

I don't categorize your blog in my reader as a "personal blog." I have you categorized as "everyday reflections." Because that is what you put out there. Keep reflecting. Every day.

I'm with Jeff, and I think you're right, Colleen. I write because I have to communicate, and this is the best way for me to do it.

I have written journals. I write to relive the memory of something so it isn't forgotten........even if it is a bad memory. xoxo
PS Keep writing and we the readers are your support.

Colleen, this is such a well timed post for me...thanks for sharing your thoughts.

This post made me think of two things. First, my own fears that wake me in the night. They are usually about my job, or not ever becoming the person I want to be. Second, it made me think about what a rescue creative writing has always been for me. Happy Monday!

the path for me is more therapeutic than drs at high prices, I loose myself in your art , and I need it . It's my fix..sandy

indeed. it's process and product, not paper and purchase and approval for funding that makes it art.

if it wasn't hard, if it wasn't pushing what needed pushing, if it didn't push back, then it wouldn't be done.

glad you keep at at.

and as far as night dreams, yes, they are trying to say something but it may not be literal and as desiderata reminds, many fears are born and loneliness and fatigue. others of literal thirst. we keep going, forgetting the body and remembering it, back and forth so body nor spirit perish.

I've been blogging now for over two years, but I still have a little panic attack every time I click "Publish." It's so hard putting yourself out there for any and all to see, but so rewarding when you feel like you've touched even one person.

Anyway, I'm so glad you keep putting yourself out there, Colleen. Thank you!

I think my best writing is the stuff that scares me to say.

Wonderful post, Colleen...And I think everything you say can be applied, (as you said) to each "Art", whether it is writing or painting or composing or acting or photography, etc., etc....I LOVE that feeling of being so possessed that I lose all track of time---it is very exciting! I remember my first Art Show was sooo soooooo scary...and it was because I felt incredibly exposed for all to see. As the years went on, I got over that incredibly scary feeling and just thought, "let the chips fall where they may"...And that was true of my Plays, too---incredibly scary at the beginning....Not so scary as I exposed more and more through my writing....
"Art" is so wonderful, isn't it?

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