Posts Tagged ‘ art ’

Inspiration vs. Discouragement.

Lately I’ve been re-reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. I figured it’s about time, since I haven’t gone galavanting around the galaxy with Arthur and Ford since high school.

Douglas Adams is one of my favorite authors. His way of looking at the world is so pessimistically original that it resonates with my very soul, and every carefully constructed concept is seasoned heavily with his very particular sense of humor.

I find his style very inspiring, and if I could be ten percent as brilliant, clever and funny as Douglas Adams I’d be totally happy with my life.

Whenever I’m exposing myself to something I find inspiring, however, whether it’s words or art or music or anything at all, I can only absorb and consume so much before I stop being inspired and start being discouraged.

It’s like I have a inspiration quota, and anything that overflows the inspiration tanks goes immediately into the discouragement tanks.

Through the first half of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I thought “Wow, this guy is brilliant, I should read all of his stuff.”

Slowly though as I’ve read more and more of his work, my thoughts have evolved from admiration and aspiration to that level of brilliance to “Douglas Adams is so much more awesome than I could ever hope to be. Why should I even try?”

That’s the point at which I put down the book and go do something else with my life.

Unfortunately though this is my relationship with so many things– Music and the Internet in particular. If I spend a short amount of time online looking at art and then get offline, I’m much more likely to then spend time creating things than if I stay and continue seeking inspiration. (Which is part of the reason I’ve been so bad about blogging regularly lately; I’ve been seeking inspiration on the internet which is almost always like chasing after the wind.)

The same thing also goes for my newly-renewed fitness goals. I have to very consciously set my goals small, because if I dream too big I’ll only end up being disappointed in myself. The story has to go “I’ll make it to the top of this hill,” or “I’ll just do a few more,” instead of “I’m going to run a marathon this summer,” or “I have to do fifty.”

I’m trying to learn how to recognize my inspiration quota so I spend more time creating and being and doing and less time wishing I were better at creating and being and doing.

That’s all.

Writing as Therapy

In case you haven’t already noticed, I pretty much love writing.

My relationship with writing has been an interesting one. When I was a kid, I hated writing. I did everything I could to avoid school writing, and I harbored a bias against it through most of my teenage life. It wasn’t until I took writing 121 that I realized how valuable the writing my mom had required of me had given me a foundation to succeed at literary pursuits, and once I got the nudge from writing class, that was it.

I’ve been hooked ever since.

Recently I’ve been mulling over the therapeutic powers of writing. Last Friday night, when I was writing about my dance journey, I discovered some conclusions that I didn’t know needed to be reached.

And last night when I was trying to draft a blog about some of the conclusions I discovered, it turned into page after page of me just letting some thoughts out into the open (most of which I’ll never publish, that’s for sure.)

I’ve decided that writing is such effective therapy for me because I have difficulty opening up and talking to people about difficult times. The issues I was journaling through last night were leftover from about two years ago, and at the time I wouldn’t talk to anyone about them– I only talked to my brother, once, and that reluctantly. He and my sister encouraged me to find someone to talk to, but was so self-conscious about burdening other people with my issues, and I was prideful enough to think I could deal with this hard time by myself.

I thought I had long ago made peace with these ghosts, but while I was mulling over the message from church last night I realized there were some pretty dire sins I had committed during that phase that I had to release from my mind. The redemption is already received, but the sins had never been confessed or even acknowledged.

Surprisingly, I feel an intellectual freedom about these issues and neuroses from that time of my life that I’ve never felt before. Suddenly, if someone asked I could talk about them– and this just from writing about them. I wrote my story, remembered some painful memories, acknowledged wrongdoing and stupidity, and suddenly they don’t matter.

All of these were things I vaguely mentioned last week when I was talking about time travel, and now even more than then I would not go back to change a thing.

I’m mostly just glad that I’ve finally and concretely figured out why writing is such a release for me.

Is writing, art, or music a form of therapy for you? Do they at all measure up to actual counseling? I want your opinions– let me know in the comments.

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