Writing: Exploring Square Pegs In Round Holes

Heart Writing

 

That box that people put you in – the pigeon hole which satisfies their need to classify and order their experiences – you don’t quite fit, do you?

There’s that sharp edge that grabs and catches. You try to smooth it off, sand it away, for your comfort – and for theirs.

Stop. That sharp edge is your power. File it away and your unique shape is lost.

It’s tempting to force yourself into that box shape. To fit. To fit in. But, that sharp edge digs into your side and deep down you know this isn’t the shape of you. It would not be this uncomfortable if it were.

Your place is not inside any box. No pigeon hole can contain your complexity, your contradictions, and the fullness of who you are. That sharp edge? It’s your reminder that you don’t belong in any box, and it’s your sword to cut yourself free.

Dear lovely ones,

I wrote the piece above recently in a writing class with Martha Beck called Write into Light. I want to tell you that I wrote it for you, and that I am way past any feelings of doubt about my own worth and belonging in this crazy world. But I know you know that’s not the honest truth. For I can’t write or paint anything that rings true for you without it being real for me also. My own sharp edge – the part I feel unsure of, the piece that I’m certain is proof I don’t belong – is the thing I need most to embrace. I long to write and paint and share so much with the world, but recently I have found myself here staying quiet, hiding in my busy life, using it as an excuse not to be brave and bold. Jamming myself into a box that isn’t my shape.
I’m nervous about how this writing may be received – it’s not always bright and colourful like the artwork you find here. But, as more people read my book, and talk with me about the themes that resonated for them in it’s pages, about how they’ve found the reading of the book helpful, the greater need I feel to share more of this writing. To share more of the pieces of myself that dig into my side – the pieces which try to tell me I don’t quite fit. To use the sharp edges of those pieces to cut myself free of my own fears and insecurities. I hope my doing that might inspire you to find your own sharp edge and free yourself, too.
I’d love to know your reactions. Love it? Hate it? Wonder what the hell I’m on about? Share it all!

Ch Ch Ch Changes…..

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Sometimes, we need to listen to ourselves. Take our own great advice.

Since “When Your Superpower Becomes Your Kryptonite” was published, life has thrown us a curve ball or two. (Or maybe seven, but, who’s counting?) Some of those balls were pretty easy to catch and toss back. One in particular landed right on my heart with such force that I suspect it may never beat the same way again.

But it’s beating. And that’s all we need in order to show up and choose to live our precious lives with as much grace and courage as we can muster. That’s what’s happening in this picture… having reclaimed my outdoor ‘nest’, I’ve taken some time to journal, read and rest. Then get back up, and come back to the computer and once again do something I don’t really know how to do. Build a website! It’s taken a long time, but traceyhewitt.com is up and running. There are plenty of areas that can (and will) be tweaked, improved and made a little snazzier to look at, but for now, it’s good enough.

You’ll find gallery pages (which are one of those areas that need some tweaking), workshop information, and a shopping page – which currently only has my book for purchase, but some more goodies will find their way into the shop soon. Nestled in among all that and along with all the usual ‘contact’ and ‘about’ pages, is my blog.

It will look a bit different, and will probably evolve (and hopefully improve), as I learn to negotiate the new platform. For those of you who have been subscribers in the past – Thank you! From the bottom of my heart. Your comments, emails and messages on facebook have all been warmly appreciated. I’m yet to figure out how to add a subscription option on the new platform – I’ll keep you posted.

I have to confess to you that I’m nervous about this move. We’ve talked about the voice of fear here before, and moving the blog from a format and design that has been well supported is scary. But, things evolve and change and shift and it’s time. So here goes! I’d love to hear what you think of the website, and the blog living here. Let me know what you miss and what you’re happy to see. And, now that a lot of techie stuff is sorted out, I hope to be giving you more to look at and think about from now on.

Once again – my heartfelt thanks for being here. I’ve said before that art is only complete when it has an audience, and I appreciate so very much that you are that audience for me.

Do It – Even If It Scares You. Ruminations On Creativity and Fear

 

 

This post has been brewing for a while now, and I’ve found around two thousand reasons not to write it. I have just realised why, which I’ll get to in a minute, but first, I want to tell you about my friend, and a conversation we recently had.  My friend is a talented artist. Anyone who lays eyes on her work recognises her talent immediately. Yet she doubts it, and herself.

In the course of our recent conversation, I was busy trying to encourage her, and tell her she truly was worthy of recognition as an artist, and she bravely shared that she has started work on a new piece for a competition. Then she faltered, awkwardly finding it hard to articulate what she was feeling, with an “Oh, I don’t know. It’s hard to explain.”

She didn’t actually need to explain. I know.

“You’re worried that this time, it won’t work. That this time, everyone will find out you’ve been fooling them all along. That you really are no good and all that work you’ve already done was some kind of fluke and you probably can’t do it again.”

The look on her face was, I think, a combination of relief and horror. “Yes! that’s it exactly! But, how did you know?”

I knew, because it’s the exact same story I tell myself every time I begin to wade into the waters of creative endeavour. Every. Single. Time. I also – as a result of extensive investigation – have come to understand that’s it a common story many (if not most) creatives tell themselves – so thankfully, I felt a little braver sharing that than I once may have.

The act of creating something is quite a mystery, and often when I’m done, it seems a tiny miracle this thing has come through my hands to the world. From which point it is very easy to fear that when I begin my next creative attempt, the tiny miracle may not show up; and I’ll be shown up for the fraud that I surely must be.

Fear and I have been having some deep and meaningful conversations lately. Deciding it’s time to write the book I’ve been wanting to write for – oh, I don’t know, my whole adult life – got Fear’s juices good and gushing.  Thanks to the writings of Elizabeth Gilbert (whose new book Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear is about to arrive in my mailbox –  I can’t wait to inhale it), I was inspired one day to try having a chat with Fear.

What I’ve learned is this: Fear wants to keep us safe, which isn’t always a terrible thing. But it can’t distinguish between an oncoming train and the light at the end of the tunnel, so it jumps up and down and tells us to stop right there, and get off the tracks because we are in danger of meeting our mortal demise.  Predictably, the closer the oncoming train – or end of the tunnel – gets, the louder and more demanding of our attention Fear becomes. And that’s the key – it wants our attention. So, these days I have a chat with it.

“Thank you for working so hard to keep me safe. I appreciate how well you’ve done that so far – I’m still here, thanks to you. You’re right; I might make a fool of myself if I send this manuscript to a publisher, I might even get some negative feedback on what I write; but you know what? I’m OK with that, because I want to live a life of adventure and courage and boldness and authenticity, and I will survive if someone out there doesn’t like what I write. I promise that I’ll create the best thing I possibly can, and I’ll give it everything I have. I promise to acknowledge you when you tell me you see danger. I need you to come along with me, but you can’t drive the damned bus!”

It’s astonishing the extent to which Fear quiets down after that. Much like a small child – all it wants is your undivided attention for a moment, and then it’s happy to go off and pull the wings off flies for a while, during which time – if you’re smart – you can get a chunk of your creation progressing nicely. Someone once wrote a book called “Feel The Fear – And Do It Anyway.” I never read it, but the title winds its way around in my mind frequently. Because that’s what creating is all about. I know I’m going to have to meet Fear head on every time, but I also know I’m going to do it anyway. Sometimes, like this post, it might take me a while to recognise Fear is what’s stopping me; but here is this post, different from the posts I usually write here, written now. If you’re reading it, that means I felt the fear and hit publish anyway.