Hi folks, I'm starting my series on Golden Advice. I like to spend the month of February digging into the wisdom that has come my way, and that guides my art, my craft and my life. I find having some wise stuff in the soul helps me write stories with purpose.
One thing that has always dogged me is insecurity as a person and a writer. I struggle to trust myself and believe in my vision as something of worth. Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay Self-Reliance has throttled me, and I really believe has brought me to a better version of myself.
So his advice starts simply. Cultivate awareness of the light within. Stop the inward self talk that dismisses your work as derivative. You blather about the work of others around you and dismiss your own. Stop it now.
Here's the deal. The stuff that will really move others is the stuff that you have thought about but have been too scared, too worried, and/or too fearful "what others might think" to share. The gist of Ralph's advice is this: form your own opinions. YOUR OWN! I find this one of the dang hardest things in the universe to do, but I am trying.
Great art will teach others to trust the light within themselves and to ignore a sea of people who cry false at them. The tricky part is understanding the light within in. This is what I know about it. It doesn't upset you. It doesn't make you do anything stupid. It blesses you with happy accidents and still water in the soul. It is never imposed upon you. It makes you a better person. This is the art I am striving to share.
Ralph goes on to share the heart of the problem: You think you are a mouse and are always apologizing for it. Stop cowering in the corner. And don't be sorry. You are a thinking person. You are, just like the saints and sages of old. What are you going to add to the verses of history? Take a lesson from nature. A rose blooms. It is beautiful and doesn't worry about the roses before or after. It simply takes it moment to bloom, to exist in God today.
At the end of the day. Stop apologizing. Again freaking hard for me. Be original. Again, makes me want to cry. Be brave. Share your inner light. And finally, bloom.
I will be back next week with more Golden Advice.
Here is a doodle: Roses.
Here is a quote for your pocket:
Man is his own star; and the soul that can
Render an honest and a perfect
Commands all light, all influence, all fate;
Nothing to him falls
early or too late.
Our acts our angels are, or good or ill,
shadows that walk by us still.
Epilogue to Beaumont and Fletcher's Honest Man's Fortune