Tuesday 5:11pm 26Sept06
When the world is Topsy turvy an artist should still do their art, a writer should still write. Especially then.
When my mother died in 1996, through the worst part of my grief and grieving process, I kept a journal. I started from the beginning, when I'd woken up that morning and wasn't feeling well. Felt like I could throw up, maybe I could have a fever, maybe I was coming down with a cold. I didn't know what was wrong except that I wasn't feeling right. Lying in bed, trying to decide how I could call in sick at the Science Centre knowing full well that it was the opening day for the Omnimax theatre and no one could call in sick, my phone rang. My call display said Mom and her phone number. And in my childish, I feel sick voice, I said, "it's mommy!" before i answered the phone with a Hello.
A strange man's voice asked if I was Shelley and told me that he was Dave's brother (my mom's boyfriend) and told me he had some bad news. I kept thinking, "just tell me what hospital she's in."
Instead he told me that she was dead. No one in my family had enough guts to make the call so I had to hear it from a complete stranger. Needless to say I had the reason to call in sick at the Science Centre. I wasn't sick, my mother was dead.
My mother was dead.
I've been reading the War of Art and the differences between a professional and an amateur. And surprisingly enough it's not about the money. It's not about being published or how many times you've been published. It's about whether you show up every day come rain or shine, fever or happiness, falling in love or getting fired. No matter what's going on, it's showing up to do what you have to do.
So I made the commitment last week, that I would be an apprentice first. The apprenticeship is my ten year goal. No thoughts of publication but to honestly, wholeheartedly learn my craft, practicing, reading, studying. And in ten years time work toward the next goal - something tangible. The thing about commitment is sometimes that commitment is going to be tested. It's almost as if the cosmos or God or something is asking is this a true commitment? Prove it!
We were never guaranteed Happiness. We were never guaranteed success. We were never guaranteed that anything would be easy. The only thing we're pretty much guaranteed is work, pain and death. Today there was that noticeable balance. That balance between the yucky stuff that stressed me out that my obsessive thinking focused on for far too long and then there was the magical appearances by three men that either snapped me out of it, made me feel warm and fuzzy or just plain made me laugh. It's almost as if God was asking me, "so which one are you going to choose to focus on? Will you focus on the diabolical or the inspirational?"
And in my writing I have to ask, "what do I want to focus on? Will I focus on the stress, my fatigue and the pain or will I focus on what it is I really want to do?" Knowing full well that I'll have to ask the same question again tomorrow.
Ant and I had lunch again today and it was kind of funny because we were both in similar types of moods. I'm discovering that we are actually similar types of people. Except he's with a more calmer edge than I am. We were in similar types of moods, partially stressed, wanting to be present to each other, for each other.
He said, "I'm the listening Ant today, I'm not the talking Ant."
And I said, "As am I. I don't want to rant. I've ranted enough about this. Besides we don't spend nearly enough time together that I'm going to waste it on ranting. I just want to laugh."
And we did the laugh dance.
He cracked a comment, I laughed. I cracked a comment to outdo his comment and so it went for our whole lunch.
We got away from serious and diabolical and stressful and made a connection.
Now, I'm going to go and work on my commitment.