The Pen is Mightier than the Toothpick

The dentist was late. Again. And I was thankful. The eighteen minutes gave me space to awaken and assure my soul. As the dental nurse sorted and trimmed dental x-rays she asked me what I do for a living. I tend to hesitate at questions like these. They present me with two options: fob someone off with the standard “I work for a church” reply or answer in a way that invites engagement. This morning I opted for the latter.

“I work for a church, mainly with students, also with artists, musicians and messy people. Oh and I’ve also started to write.” She came to life as I mentioned writing,
“I’ve always wanted to do that! But I’m afraid of failing.”

We began a brief and lively discussion on deliberate practice, she brought up the concept of morning pages, a three page brain-dump you do first thing in the morning to get stagnant thoughts out of your system before you move onto the more creative stuff. I’ve been struggling with placing healthy boundaries between public and private writing so this got me very excited! She continued,
“I used to do it regularly, but, well, it’s hard to turn something into a habit and life just gets in the way sometimes.”

Later, as the dentist hacked at my teeth with a pick axe and ground them with an electric whetstone (it was a brutal morning), I reflected that the cost of nurturing your artistic soul to life is expensive; but neglecting to do so is unthinkable.

“If we are inherently spiritual creatures, we are by our nature creative beings, yet we live in the fear that if we aspire to be more we will discover ourselves to be less. We live in fear of failure, convinced that failure will prove us to be frauds. We have bought into the life that creative people never fail and hence failure is proof that we are not creative. So we get back in line, our dreams in check, and condemn our souls to a slow and painful death.
“Fear is the shadow of creativity. When we choose to create, we bring light to our fears. The darkness does not prevail over us. The creative act is inherently an act of courage.” Erwin Raphael McManus, “The Artisan Soul”

Failure is inevitable; but I want to fail gloriously.

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