Monday, June 15, 2015

you own the copyright on your life

a scene much more serene than i feel on the inside
"you own the copyright on your life." what a powerful thought that is. i just read it here. i'm not familiar with ntozake shange otherwise, but that thought is precisely what i needed to hear. i think it resonates with me in the same way that elizabeth gilbert's "own your shit" did some time ago. it gives me a dose of courage that i've been lacking, making me think that all of the multitude of things i've been holding back from writing about should be allowed to come out, because i own them - they are me and my life and my story and even my copyright, with the emphasis on the latter syllable. but at the same time, i have to wonder how interesting they would be to anyone else. maybe it doesn't matter, i am, as always, blogging first and foremost for myself, to work out what i think and feel about things (it's cheaper than therapy after all). and with the state of blogs these days, perhaps it doesn't matter much what anyone else thinks as no one is reading anyway (i'm much less bitter about that than it may sound). but it is also daunting and it feels impossible to truly write something that encompasses all of the minutiae that make up the complexity of a life, even if i did attempt to write it all out.

i say this because i have, of late, fallen in love with norwegian writer karl ove knausgaard's writing and recently tried to read volume 1 of his six volume autobiographical novel-esque opus, my struggle. i say tried because i just couldn't finish it, despite really and truly loving his writing. it's a bit proustian in its level of detail and i never could finish proust either. but i just read a review of volume 4 in the new york review of books and i think i'll have to give that volume a whirl. he is fearless in his truth telling, and in his examination of the minutiae of life and when he began, he was nobody, so why shouldn't i be equally fearless?

there are many good reasons i've held back. no one wants to read a bunch of sad whining. i don't want to hang anyone out to dry (well maybe a little). i don't want to hurt anyone's feelings (and the fact is that sometimes the truth hurts). it might get in the way of whatever is next. writing it out will make it all that much more real. life is painful and hard at times and getting older is no fun, but who wants to hear that? and who wants to admit it? this all makes it sound like something much bigger than the regular disappointments and sorrows that life throws our way and it's not that. but sometimes when those small sorrows and disappointments accumulate, it can seem like too much. and so i've put off and put off writing about them. and i suppose that's why i don't feel particularly light-hearted and funny in this space anymore.

i think it's time to start owning the copyright on my life. i recently saw a quote on pinterest that went something like, "you own everything that happened to you. tell your stories. if people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better."


celkalee said...

The blog community has changed, that is true. Most of us are still reading but rarely commenting unless the subject is provocative and engaging. And even then the backlash of opinion sometimes gets a bit too polarizing. I have recently adjusted my readings with the intent of better using my online time. At least for a while. I hope you find that spark again, I miss it. With life complications etc. we all need to step back and regroup now and then. It will come.

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Of course you write for you, first and foremost, but I'd be willing to bet that some of your readers would not only read the whining, the true, the sad, but also be emboldened to tell their own stories because of it. Sometimes people need someone else to go first when things are scary.

I'm not going to say that I hope you feel better soon (though of course I hope that) so I'll say that I hope you get what you need out of this less-than-sunny time.

will said...

I’ve never believed our synapses fire with precision or orderliness …

We are both victims and perpetrators of our own chaos, our own timeline … and then we die.

You and me and most everyone we meet has agreed to behave as if not agreeing to behave within boundaries will produce the downfall of civilizations and a spate of crabgrass in everyone’s window boxes.

We accept norms of behavior, organization or minutia and future planning as if our lives depend upon the reality of hopes and dreams.

And yet … a few individuals ignore prescribed rituals and predetermined lives and they create … art and science, being, in my estimation, the two grandest of human endeavors.

But there’s a pratfall … a quicksand … a nemesis to individual creativeness… that despicable noun and/or adjective … the word is, of course, derivative.

To search within one’s psyche to fine the non-derivative and the unique is truly a life-long chase. A lucky few find it early in their life. Sadly, I suspect, there are far too many that discover their own uniqueness and creativity when their journey is ending.

That quest for non-derivative creativity is beguiling … it and love are the only two things I think and believe are important.

Sure, sure, it’s important to feed the dog, to vote, bathe regularly, to brush your teeth, to quest after knowledge, to search out the best and brightness and/or find kindred souls … nonetheless, all these secondary elements are but kindling and energy bars for the internal fires of creativity.

That’s it; we can do nothing else of importance.

Feisty Harriet said...

I've had this post up all day and I keep going back to it to re-read. There are so many things to think about here, but the thing that I keep coming back to is that my life is made up of my stories, and I can and should own them. Good, bad, ugly, awesome, terrible, thrilling, inspiring, and soul-crushing. They are mine. And have made and continue to shape me into who I am and will become.

Thank you for this,