I had an interesting albeit painful experience this
week. I’ve been working on a book
proposal for the past 6 months with my colleague, Jackie. It has been simultaneously an agonizing and
rewarding process. For example, the title has gone through several incarnations
morphing into the present – Be Brave. Lose the Beige, A “Coloring” Book for Living Outside the Lines title. We are hoping
that this will be a must have manual for Lady Boomers (women of the Baby Boomer
generation) for creative living.
My husband dubbed me a “Clay Writer” because I like to think
I write with clay and sculpt with words.
And that is how this book, and its companion book proposal, has evolved.
It has been a process of sculpting each word as if it were made from the
colorful polymer clay I use to create the illustrations for the book. Needless to say, there is more than a bit of
ego involvement in this endeavor.
Prior to submitting the proposal to a potential publisher we
asked a few people to review the proposal.
I failed to anticipate how vulnerable I was making myself by subjecting
this work to public scrutiny. Our first
reviewer (whose opinion mattered a great deal to me) was surgeon-like with
their editing scalpel. I’m not sure what
I expected from these reviewers. I
naively assumed the response would be praise and applause, not necessarily a
critique of academic proportions. Despite
the fact the criticisms were spot on and will help to make the proposal a more
effective document, I was crushed. I even
felt a measure of shame. You see I spend
an inordinate amount of time researching, writing, and sculpting. I have often hidden these endeavors from my
linear lawyer friends out of fear they may think it’s silly or a waste of
time. (You see, even at 60 I still care
what others think) But creativity is funny.
It’s kind of like breathing. I
can’t fathom living without it.
After a day of self-doubt I shared the critique with my very
creative 34 year old writer daughter. Having experienced this on a few occasions,
she rushed to reassure me. “Mom, would
you trust a child you created to just anyone? Your art work and words are your
creations and should be entrusted to people who will nurture and encourage
these ideas .” Unless I’m being paid for
future creative efforts I’m going to choose my audience carefully. My daughter said to send future comments her
way and she will act as my filter as to what to keep and what to delete. I like that idea. Creative expression, though fun and
fulfilling, is really nerve wracking.
I’m a journal writer and I noted this experience in a
journal entry. As I listened to this
interior monologue it occurred to me this creative quest of mine is no less
than a spiritual one. Perhaps God is an
essential truth within ourselves. To
deny this part of myself to pursue something more linear, is to deny the God
within, what we are called to become in this life. Pretty lofty, huh? Or maybe just a rationalization to permit
myself to do what I really want to do.