This month we’re in the middle of Mercury Retrograde. If you know the rules you might know what this means: don’t get a tattoo. Don’t sign a contract. And don’t start anything new.
This blog post is about fear and courage. So maybe you’re brave enough to ignore these rules. Maybe that works just fine for you. In that case, don’t let me sway you.
Me, though? This month, I am digging into old ideas. Mercury Retrograde is a great time to look back. Since I just finished a draft, this seems like the perfect moment to play. Right now, I am working on a short story. Doing my best to follow the heat and the joy, even as I tinker with and refine my process.
Let’s be honest: so much of this is fucking terrifying. Delving into something new. Digging into the joy. Playing. (Yes, scary as hell). Putting myself out there like this, sharing these very thoughts with you right here right now, knowing some of you might totally judge me. (Like, what kind of an artist is she? Afraid to play?)
More stuff that scares me: talking about the work in progress with you all here like this. Though I’m intentionally being as vague as possible, still, offering even the smallest detail –there’s a voice inside me freaking out, you’re letting the magic out by talking about it! Shut up!)
And, the most unnerving part of it all is … getting ready to share some of these stories with you!
I am loving my ideas. (YOU shut up, inner critic.) But will I do them justice? Who knows? And really, who cares?
My favorite singer at this moment (and always) is a legendary Soviet bard Vladimir Vysotksy. I know the world isn’t celebrating Russian culture at this moment, with good reason. But I will always be obsessed with him, also with good reason. Both a superstar and an outcast, at once a rebel and a favorite, Vysotksy’s scratchy voice and his deep, now aching, now biting, now hilarious lyrics fill me with inspiration and yearning every time I hear them. That’s how I want to create.
Vladimir Vysotsky died at the age of 42 in 1980, his body giving out from a culmination of stress and a cocktail of addictions. And just for the record, if he were alive today, there’s no way he would have been friends with his namesake wreaking havoc in the Kremlin. I wish I’d known what biting songs he would write about the horrible spectacle in the midst of which his country finds itself today.
Vysotsky is my hero for his courage, his humor, his raw talent and the purity of his art.
The other day I came across his “Song About Poets.” He prefaced it by saying when he first started writing his songs, he would only dare share them with close friends. (What? My fearless, fierce idol…scared?) As his friends received his songs, imperfections and all, they simply celebrated his work for the gift that it was. No judgement. This developed his sense of trust in his audience, something he kept even when he became a legend. Ever since then, he said, he wrote every song “just for his friends.”
This is what I’m going to do with this wild and weird-ass story I am writing.
Once its done, I can’t wait to share it with you, friends.
Wish me luck (and lots of wild, fearless play).
I am wishing you the same.