Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sounds of Silence Abandoned

Now the piece I wrote on the loss of my cannon has generated a full featured article in our local newspaper.

It was my wish that such publicity might appeal to the guilty parties and bring about the return of the heirloom in my sleep, but I submitted the words with little expectation. In light of the NPR story, it was actually forgotten.

A good friend, meanwhile, confronted me the other day around my revitalized energy towards creativity. Observing me from our relationship with many angles, he probed my enthusiasm with pointed questions that uncovered points of tenderness.

Likening my movements to a cool cat, a cartoonish feline with whiskers, a beret and long cigarette holder, he sensed a façade that really masks a tar-pit of ugly soulful work still to be done. Complimenting my intellect and eloquence, still he challenged me to ask more of myself. Dare to go to places that feel like certain death, he encouraged, and explore the revelations discovered that will eventually fulfill your longings for prosperity and celebration.

Blinded by an emotional exhaustion, I retreated from his doorstep, unwilling to accept this challenge. I have worked too hard in these last months, in these many years. I would rather relish these small victories beginning to come my way.

But the seed once planted...

Another friend agreed that given all the losses, my grief has only partially been exposed and expressed. My external façade shines forth as one of hope, optimism and good cheer, while deeper inside, the murky blood of grief reaches a boiling point and must be stirred to be truly released.

Soon after, I was cheered by an email unsolicited from my sister, saying while she knows I have more emotional work to be done, I am just where I should be right now (loving praise so like my mother's!). My creative energy had flowed freely 30 years ago, a portfolio of successes beginning to thicken. Truth be told, however, how much veracity and depth could realistically be found in the fingertips of one so young, with so little Real Life experience? A firm believer that all happens the way it should, she congratulated me on now speaking with more clarity and knowledge, having lived and suffered some.

I am beginning to understand that this many years of creative retreat cannot actually be blamed on marriage, children and the relentless demand of a construction business. Although legitimate cause for attention, these would not have to be impediments to creativity.

Fear rears its ugly head, caught momentarily dead center in the searching light.

Years ago, in another marriage, with as much distraction, I was still producing stories and songs with a fervor, and risking judgment from editors and promoters with mixed results. Articles were published and I played on the radio and sizable stages back then.

There was, in fact, enough success to make encouragement begin to feel like a Demand. There began to be expectations around the quality. I had deadlines and pieces were returned covered with red ink (literally red!). I was tender, sensitive and gullible enough to read the criticism as if it were an attack. Praised so much as a child, the exposure to these hurts was enough to make me stop dead mid-sentence. Like any child once burned, I chose to not go any closer to the fire.

But the real truth is that I could handle that external criticism. It was my own voice that struck such fear in my soul, fear of its unmined power and depth. Not believing in myself, I silenced myself.

So today, I sing with a voice revitalized, and write with a pen and keyboard that can no longer concentrate on spreadsheets that do not add up, or sign checks with no money. Lessons have been learned. I have loved and lost.

Forgive me, then Dear Reader, if I seem to bask in the pleasure I receive from your generous comments. I use them to arm myself against my own very palpable and ever-present fear that I have nothing worthwhile to say.

Please share with your friends


Rita said...

WOW! I read your comment on Tom's blog, and had to come over and read the story.
You write so beautifully, and thoughtfully. Your harsh words about yourself make it seem that you are in a far more heightened state of awareness than one might believe.
Thank you for sharing your story - and yourself.

Pauline said...

I remember reading once that if only one other person in the whole world loved you, then you were well-loved. That idea has stood me in good stead when I felt like what I was writing was worth something only to me. I've since decided that if what I say is worthwhile to me, then that's a good beginning. After all, I count.

Kip de Moll said...

You're very kind to visit, Rita. I appreciate the compliment. My "harsh words" are really about the stark reality that we hold ourselves back, fearful to share, fearful of making fools of ourselves, and, yes, we deny our gifts to others and then we are blinded to theirs in return.

Pauline, I agree. If we cannot feel good about what we are doing, there is nothing really to share with others. It all begins internally. Let the floodgates open and enjoy the ride. That others might follow is only a bonus.

thomaspcavanaughatgmaildotcom said...

hearing your story today with so many of the perilous shadows of my own, but mine 15 years old now, got my head in my hands quickly while the pot of chicken soup simmered on the stove. dick gordon is quite a gentle-man, to get that story out of you the way he did, without touching the blame game.

and that's what im here to mention, kip. im sorry for what you've lost. but take it easy on yourself. you never know sometimes, you cannot know until its over, whether you are on the path to success or financial ruin. such is the life of the small business-man.

pick it up again in some form, tho, find a place to apply this experience, and this time you WILL know what's going to happen, you WILL be valuable somehow, somehwere . . .