“… no other Vessel but small Boats could pass…”

“…there was but one way to enter, and that like a Labyrinth, so winding and turning among the Rocks, that no other Vessels but small Boats, could pass, carrying not above three passengers at a time (The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish)”.

What is it about struggle before getting to Paradise that we are all so enamoured with? Is it simply the Christian duplicity of telling the poor slobs of the world to suck it up because their hard efforts will eventually be rewarded after they die… a la William Blake? Or is it a true thing – we cannot escape struggle, and indeed wouldn’t appreciate Paradise anyway if it were just handed to us — probably wouldn’t even recognize it.

Writing is very much a “winding and turning among the Rocks” for me. Usually when I begin a project I have a sense of where I want to go even if I can’t see the final destination, but often the journey is a tumultuous one. Torn between
absolute faith in my vision, and absolute conviction of failure, in the end, I have to trust to the process and believe (as so many other writers and artists have) that the thing that I am creating has a right to exist. The lesson here, I think, is that you have to create for the pure sake of creating, for the sheer pleasure of putting words together, and for the sense of fulfillment that comes with saying, “I did that.”

Too often, we place a pressure upon ourselves to make money  or gain fame by what we do, and forget that the cash/fame is a by-product of the art and not the art, itself. Not to say that I wouldn’t like to sell a book ,or a painting, or a sculpture for a million dollars –  who wouldn’t? – but  if that is my only ruler by which I measure success then I am missing out on so much more that is out there. Although a simple realization, this lesson has been one of the most difficult ones for me to learn, and I still struggle to turn off the inner critic that vetoes a project even before it makes it onto the page.


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