#29: You do not have to be good
Week 11/12 of the Artist's Way
This week has eaten me alive like a beautiful woman on a warm summer night. Like a snake lurking in the shadows and gobbling up a gerbil. Like a tornado ripping my home: unlucky and ruthless.
I started it with last week’s divine power , and yet end it feeling like a spineless sack of bones. I did one of the Artist’s Way last exercises: Reading my morning pages from the past few months. It was fucking hell.
These notes, and the agony I have experienced this year, somehow took me back to my own wringer of pain, fears and insecurities. My depression swallowed me, and pushed me out the way a cow releases dung and never looks back.
Will my suffering ever end, or is it just my destiny to continue going through these cycles? Is it really fuel for my creativity, or is it going to be the end of me? Can I really be a writer? Will I ever be in or sustain a healthy relationship? Why do I have so many friends and yet feel so lonely and abandoned?
What is it that wants to heal?
Then my brain tried to understand. Classic brain move.
There was a full moon and a lunar eclipse…
There are the midterm elections…
Even things back home in Egypt feel tense…
I am still grieving a relationship…
Life is suffering…and other inspirational quotes like that.
At some point I stopped thinking, and started cooking.
I cooked a whole chicken with butternut squash. I was so hungry I downed a piece of squash while it was still sizzling hot.
It was too late.
That cube of soft spiced up squash, washed down my throat, oesophagus and stomach like napalm in a narrow tube.
I felt like it was ripping my abdomen in half, it was so painful and stupid that I thought that I will (and deserve to) die. I was surprised to still be alive.
I realized two things that night:
1- If physical pain can supersede my emotional pain, then maybe bodily pleasure can directly calm the emotional beavers that eat at me.
2- All fears really boil down to just one: the fear of dying alone.
Luckily, there was another task in Artist's fucking Way: Do something good for myself each day of the week.
Jeez. Well thanks Miz Julia Cameron. After all this demon grappling, at least I get to treat myself to a little somethin' somethin' huh?
Sun: Special breakfast with my friend Laura/ Mon: Got a haircut for the first time in months / Tues: Put on some gay ass cream that smells like pie/ Wed: Bought myself some new shirts/ Thurs: Printed out a paper draft of my poetry collection! / Fri: Stared at the ceiling for a very long time/ Sat: Went on a hike and sauna.
Anyways, enjoy Mary Oliver’s poem below, and I’ll see you next Sunday for the final chapter of this fucking whirlwind journey with The Artist’s Way. See where I started here for my beautifully naive Week 1 start.
Introducing Gumpchat Beta!
Substack has a new CHAT feature which is only available for Apple users so far. I honestly feel like this is just a way to get people to download the substack app.
However, that is not a bad thing to do. I do want to connect with you more directly and want to see if substack's solution can get us to do that.
Try it out if you have an iPhone or iPad. Android brothers and sisters, the app is available for you as well, and the chat is coming soon.
I'll let you know.
Do not buy Apple everything.
Sunday Gratitude 🙏
Much gratitude to my new friend Kristen Many Rivers who has introduced me to Mary Oliver and many other sufi poets. You are such a blessing in my life.
The Artist's Way - Week 11/12
Morning Pages ❌
I did not write my morning pages this week. I just couldn’t anymore. Reading them was too much.
I think I'm gonna throw up.
Artist's Date ☑️
I went shopping for the first time in a long time. I don’t miss consumerism. It actually sickens me.
Craft Updates ☑️
Not much crafting this week, wrote a few shitty poems.
After writing the above bullet point, I wrote 2 good poems.
I did print out my book of poems though. Still have not submitted it to any publisher. Not ready.
I can’t talk anymore, here is Mary Oliver
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your bodylove what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rainare moving across the landscapes,over the prairies and the deep trees,the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -over and over announcing your place in the family of things. Mary Oliver Wild Geese
Thank God for poets,