Freedom to Explore and Rejuvenate the Creative Spirit

Subtle demands. Is that an oxymoron?

Lately, two things have been popping up in my everyday life. Each occurrence is subtle, but on the whole they grab my attention. I’m wondering why? What is it about these two things that require my attention? Today I’ll share one of those things with you and reveal my conclusions as to why it’s important.

Extravehicular affair. Astronaut Ed White outside his Gemini 4 spacecraft in 1965, in America's first "space walk". www.history.nasa.gov

Extravehicular affair.
Astronaut Ed White outside his Gemini 4 spacecraft in 1965, in America’s first “space walk”. www.history.nasa.gov

It’s no secret that I’m a space junkie. The Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs fascinate me and I try to keep up with the happenings of our (now limited) space program. Discoveries made through direct and indirect methods fire the imagination. When the Kepler telescope discovered 715 planets* in one day, nearly doubling the amount of planets known to humanity, I was awed. But I don’t want to let my enthusiasm for a subject bore you into un-following me.

However, I’ve been struggling with blog topics recently. Usually when this problem arises I pick up one of the writing magazines to which I subscribe and something grabs my attention. When I tried this tactic for today’s post the subject of outer space slapped me in the face.

You see, Catherine Barnett was asked, “What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?” Her answer was to quote the lyrics of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ and acknowledged “how essential it is to get out of earth’s orbit so you can explore the orbits of your own mind and see the familiar with new eyes when you return.” She also mentions Ed White, the first American to walk in space.**

Her words were exactly what I needed to hear. My mind had been running through a maze of plots and characters and like a frightened child I became lost. The more I tried to focus the farther I drifted from my purpose. So I let myself step out of that maze and into the vastness of space (along with Ed White) and I took in the wonder around me. My novels, short stories and poetry faded while peace washed over me.

My sojourn made me realize I was writing for the wrong reasons. I’d lost my way, pinning hopes on my words instead of letting my words create hope. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be published and I want to make money writing but when all is said and done those things don’t really matter. It’s enough to write well and feel comfortable sharing my stories and poems. The value others place on my words comes second.

So you see, the influx of space related topics that bombarded me recently were leading somewhere. It just took Catherine Barnett to spell it out for me.

* “Planet bonanza: NASA announces discovery of 715 new worlds.” Fox News. Fox News, 27 Feb 2014. Web. 19 Mar 2014. .

** Packard, Gabriel. “Take Note: Writers on Writing Catherine Barnett.” The Writer March 2014: 8-9.

  • I thought I was the only one who managed to tie space into writing before. Glad to see I’m not the only one. I did a space-and-writing post in August. It took a different angle than yours, but in the end of your post and mine, my take away is this: space is vast. We can’t begin to comprehend what all is out there. It’s going to speak to us in so many different ways. And so does our writing. It’s okay that we have different messages, different methods, different processes, and different reasons for why we write. All those things might change every day. As long as we’re true to ourselves while we’re writing, that’s all that matters. We probably are looking at things with new eyes every day. We’re new people every day. That’s what makes our art so amazing.

    • I’ve written several posts about space, hence the category ‘Our Universe.’ Stepping back and acknowledging how miniscule we are in the universe is awe inspiring and certainly puts things into perspective.

  • staci troilo

    I thought I was the only one who managed to tie space into writing before. Glad to see I’m not the only one. I did a space-and-writing post in August. It took a different angle than yours, but in the end of your post and mine, my take away is this: space is vast. We can’t begin to comprehend what all is out there. It’s going to speak to us in so many different ways. And so does our writing. It’s okay that we have different messages, different methods, different processes, and different reasons for why we write. All those things might change every day. As long as we’re true to ourselves while we’re writing, that’s all that matters. We probably are looking at things with new eyes every day. We’re new people every day. That’s what makes our art so amazing.

    • I’ve written several posts about space, hence the category ‘Our Universe.’ Stepping back and acknowledging how miniscule we are in the universe is awe inspiring and certainly puts things into perspective.

  • mooderino

    Very helpful post. I’ve been feeling a bit lost in the maze myself. Missing the big picture altogether. Thanks for the reminder.

    mood
    Moody Writing

    • Glad I could help. It’s always comforting to know you’re not alone even if you don’t want folks to feel as lost as you do.

  • mooderino

    Very helpful post. I’ve been feeling a bit lost in the maze myself. Missing the big picture altogether. Thanks for the reminder.

    mood
    Moody Writing

    • Glad I could help. It’s always comforting to know you’re not alone even if you don’t want folks to feel as lost as you do.