Thursday, April 27, 2017

Inspiration

As a writer, it's often difficult to find time to write. When I do have that rare nugget of time to write, it's often completely devoid of inspiration. Sometimes I'll sit down with an empty notebook (one of my favorite things in the world) and just stare at the page and the pen, willing something to come of them. One time I wrote random words and then, on the corner of the page, "Inspiration WILL come. Anytime now, clown." There are days when I want to get that quote made into a t-shirt so I can hide under my covers wearing it and waiting.

I don't feel particularly inspired right now. The baby is napping (after a bottle, Curious George, singing, and a drive around three subdivisions in our area.) The little dog is incessantly scraping at the back door and barking to be let in, which I can't do because then he will bark inside and wake the baby and then I will have to murder the dog. (What is that, caninicide? Is that a thing?) I'm eating pistachios and looking around the room trying to force something that isn't there.

These are the times when I question EVERYTHING. I've never wanted to be anything other than a writer in my real, grown-up life. Sure, I wanted to be a Scarecrow when I was four, a Solid Gold Dancer, a lawyer, a radio DJ, a singer, an actress... but there was one point at which I knew, beyond all shadows of all doubts, exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. And then I grew up and realized that I had to do a hundred other jobs to pay the bills while I wrote as a 'hobby'. I ask myself, is this what you WANT to do, or what you're MEANT to do? Are those things the same, or different?

There is an ember inside of me, gradually charring its way out. The idea is one that will help people and that, I feel, is what my ultimate purpose in life is. Writing is the medium through which I will likely achieve that purpose, if I do indeed achieve it. It's the most fleshed out in relation to my other abilities and it's the thing I enjoy most out of everything I can do. To what end, however? How will I measure that success? It certainly won't be monetary. I can't imagine a life in which I don't have to weigh the pros and cons of Walmart versus Aldi when it comes to groceries because I've spent that much of my adulthood trying to save money and build a better life. All the while, the better life is around me just waiting to be grasped and it has nothing to do with how much money I can or cannot save for the future.

The success, in my opinion, will be measured in a life well-lived.

But what does that look like, exactly? Well, there is no precise picture. I imagine that helping people will be its own reward. Seeing a smile on the face of someone I care about or, especially, on the face of someone I don't even know. Having someone ask me to help them write something or to edit their work. Having someone come to me with a problem they feel safe talking with me about. Thinking about money as 'just money' and giving it when I have it to give.

A life well-lived is a life focused on others.
My husband, my children, my parents, my siblings, my friends.
Strangers. Prisoners. Homeless. Hungry. Violated. Addicts.
Anyone. Everyone.

I think it's time to get started.
Stephanie Jean

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