Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Can Mourning Encourage Productivity?

I started last week as usual...

...continuing to think about starting a blog, procrastinating on the book I am theoretically writing, reading motivational Writer Forums to encourage me to write (as an excuse not to do so), and, you know. Feeling vaguely guilty.

Truth is, I'm quite comfortable with my life, working extremely part-time as a radio host, telling people about the book I'm theoretically writing, and calling myself an artist.

The way I say it is convincing enough – “I'm an artist” – that I manage, again and again, to convince myself (and others) that it's true, despite my not actually getting anything done ever!

Then, last week: boom! Two things happened.

One, my grandfather on my father's side died. Two, my grandmother on my mother's side died (three days later).

This odd sequence of events hit me very hard, as you might expect, and I spent my days either in cheery-eyed denial or torturous, moody acceptance (if you could call it that).

But here's the strange thing: in this week, alongside anti-social behaviour and emotional trauma, I got much, much more done than I have in ages.

I wrote an article for the radio station – granted I was in too much of a state to actually submit until it was already old news – but the point was, I was writing. Again. I wrote in my book (text! on a page! real-time!!), I wrote about my feelings, I wrote two eulogies (sigh), and I, er, wrote this.

Is mourning actually somehow responsible for my beginning to write again? (Not like I'd encourage anyone to seek it out.) The answer is yes, I think, for a number of reasons.

Of course I'm eager for any excuse to not dwell on the people I have just lost. That's one thing.

But this also brought to mind the simple fact: even if I am not moving, time is. In one year, I won't be very happy if I'm still standing in place. (If you don't grow, you only rot.)

On that note...

Has loss played a role in your creative progress? If so, how?

1 comment:

jeff said...

In the past I would've said, "yes, absolutely, loss encourages you to create." This was true for me for years. I would go through horrible times, things in retrospect now seem like real juvenille drama shit. This would make me want to write. But now that Ive gone through a tragedy that my mind can barely fathom, I find myself not creating at all. I feel like anything I create couldn't possibly do justice to what Im feeling. What I thought in the past was tragedy now pales to the memory of what's been lost to me now. This is a pain that cannot be expressed creatively, at least not in any way I know how. Any attempt to express just comes across as cheap and explotative. - Jeff Gutman