This past December, I went to two major exhibitions here in the Boston, MA area – Alexander Calder at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA and Fransisco Goya at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. My intent was to attend these exhibits, pick a piece that spoke to me, then write about what I learned. I was not prepared for what happened next.
Days, weeks, months plodded by with no inkling of what to write, nor the desire to do so. This is a new feeling for me. If writing is my oxygen, what happened to my supply? What was wrong with me? Was I fooling myself when I laid claim to the title Writer? An overwhelming sense of failure and of having disappointed people took over which kept me frozen, lifeless in the lands of the blank page and empty mind.
Through the love and caring of a dear friend, he freed me from these frozen wastelands by reminding me of my own words when he uttered that fateful word Excuses.
How many times have I chided others for choosing to be overwhelmed? How many times have I repeated with disdain my catch-phrase, “Being overwhelmed is a choice. Stop moaning and tackle the pile from the top. It’ll be cleared away in no time,”? How blind are those who refuse to see as I have been.
The choice to be overwhelmed stems from a fear of some kind. In this instance, mine was the fear of imperfection. I am a writer after all. I can’t have improper sentences, misspelled words, and unsavory slang riddling my thoughts and permanently engraved in cyberspace. Surprise, Cathleen! Writers are here to record and re-tell the stories of Humanity in all its imperfection.
Goya and Calder have taught me many things, of which I will write later. Those I am most grateful for are the lessons that there is beauty in imperfection, imbalance – the good, the bad, and the ugly as it were -, and that the only way I can fail as a writer, indeed as a Human Being, is not to express that beauty, to remain silent in fear of misunderstanding or misspeaking. As my friend so adeptly showed me by example, if I don’t say anything, I am not loving those I proclaim to care about.
So, kind readers, I place my thoughts before you. Incomplete. Imperfect. In love. Thank you, Kevin.