Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chapter Eight - Part Two - Starting and Finishing

My formative years were made of the bickering between my impatient father and my indecisive mother. That is essentially who I have become - an impatient and indecisive person. However, I believe that our purpose on earth is to overcome our formative years, our astrology and even sometimes our destiny to forge a new path of evolution. What I have become excruciatingly aware of about my writing is that neither impatience or indecision helps one little bit. How it effects planning the orchard of my dreams is that in my mind's eye the trees should all be planted already, mature and bearing fruit, OR I shouldn't be planting an orchard at all. Then I drift to the, "maybe I should plant dates, or maybe I should forget about the orchard and plant raspberries, or I like wine, maybe I should plant a grape orchard and build a winery, too!"

One of the amazing revelations of my current marriage is that everything takes time and effort and starting is the more important effort than is finishing. All my life I have had a voice in my head saying, "Aren't you finished yet? Come on! Let's Go! Vamanos!" I know that's my Dad's and my dear departed Grandmother's voices, in stereo. I took their words and internalized them so deeply that unless I can quickly finish something, I rarely begin it. So all of my efforts have gone to short-term results, and immediate gratification. I am certain that is not the intention of their panic about my slow-moving ways, but that is most definitely the result. I love the project I can do off the top of my head so that I'm not bogged down by research and interviewing. It is no doubt why I love a good poem, which in the right frame of mind is so easy for me to write quickly, and reading them is such a fast delight.

My mother's indecisive influence is more complicated, and perhaps, is deeper seated self-criticism. She was never sure if she really wanted to be a mother, my mother or anybody's mother. She was never fully invested in any of her relationships as an adult because all of her childhood relationships disappeared through death and addiction. Her unresolved personal tragedies led her to be all about presentation and process in her work. She rarely becomes expert at one kind of art process before she switches mediums, always looking for the "hallelujah chorus" to say that she's done, and a success, without continuing a process/medium to the point where she could be a real success, and criticizing everyone who stays with one medium for their expression as being stale and out of touch, though her green envy does show through. I've certainly taken that pill and swallowed it as I wrestle with whether to stay in the field I've been working in with limited success, screenwriting, or switch to another now.

I forgive my parents for being themselves and not being particularly helpful to me. My conclusion about parenting now is that being helpful is secondary to simply being the best example one can muster to be, so that a child can evolve from a higher point on the scale. I understand that my strengths will evolve out of my parents' weaknesses, just as my children will evolve from mine. Let's not just do a do-over then! Let's give them a higher plateau. That's how life evolves on planet earth...and my goodness it takes a long, decisive time to get on with it!

If I am to finally evolve out of these habits I picked up, then I will have to do their opposite and that is to absorb the patience and decision that I have inside, and that I've projected outside onto my lovely husband. I see in him all that I must be, as I plan out this orchard of mine with a methodical, and driven decisiveness. I must stop worrying about being finished, and simply will myself to start something that will likely frustrate me and everyone else with its slowness. I know that I lost the support of most of my family years ago as I decided to step off the path of presenting a false front that was comfortable to them, and so when I experience their panic about my apparent lack of progress these days it is much more with a shrug and a sigh. My husband is a rock even in our daily struggles to make ends meet. He never asks me to hurry up and finish. He only asks that I begin. He was first in estimating the decade-long process to become expert and successful, long before I could accept it. I have a feeling I'll be forever grateful for this one important insight that I simply lacked in all of my life's experience.

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