Several months ago I finished my first play. I don’t know what possessed me to do it, but the storyline was rambling around inside me for a couple of years, and I kept feeling it calling me to write it down. It just kept speaking to me. Characters would emerge, and then, after mulling for a time, they’d start speaking to each other in my head.love
I’d jot a few notes down here and there, and then write them up in a folder on my desktop and walk away. Then one day I sat down. I don’t know why I knew it was time, but I did. There was no logical progression inside or outside of me that told me, “Hey, you’ve got to sit down and write this thing now.”
I didn’t know where the story line was going. I didn’t know who all of the characters were. I had a vague idea of a location, but had no idea how to get all of my ideas into one geographic space. I had no reason to think it would go anywhere or do anything (though I wanted it to, surely.) But it was calling me to write it, and I have learned—the hard way—that to not answer the call is just asking for trouble. Not obeying what’s pressing me artistically is a way, in my life, to court misery.
So I sat down.
And I absolutely and completely fell in love. I adored writing this thing. Every waking, free moment I had I gave over to it. I thought it would take six months; it took two. I had to peel myself off of the couch when it was time to go teach yoga.
When I write non-fiction, it lives in me like a puzzle. I craft what I want to say—the point I’m trying to make—and then set out to arrange the words for rhythm, good content, humanness, and music. It’s like building a piece of furniture that’s going to stand solidly after I’m done constructing it. I want it to help people and serve them. That means that the process of writing it can be slow, as I craft the point of view that will reach the readers who need it. It certainly feels slow. (I often write non-fiction one to two hours a day, four days a week, by the timer.)
But writing fiction was an entirely different world. The play flew out of me. It felt like cream on my heart—sweet and luscious and rich. Every time I stepped away from it, I was longing to get back to it. I stopped answering emails, stopped making phone calls, didn’t make any appointments or dates. I wanted every delicious moment for my play.
For me—different from non-fiction—fiction tells the stories of human hearts: unravelling hearts for sure, but ones that illuminate how falling down brings an opening; how conflict can help us grow and then find peace.
But describing what fiction is for me is not really my point. What I want to share is that I believe that it’s worth it to fall in love, that it’s meaningful to keep discovering things that I can fall head-over-heels for. It gives my life genuine meaning. It makes me grateful for my experience on the planet. And more than that, it can thrill me, kick-starting my joy to be alive in ways that I never knew it could.
If I’m willing to listen, and then act, on what’s calling me, sometimes I will get a luscious surprise. I may actually lose myself in something I adore doing, and then a whole new world of creativity shows up at my door, just waiting to be let in.
If falling in love is like opening a door, then I want to open it. If it is listening for the call of promise, then I want to obey. Sure, sometimes it takes me a while to get focused enough to open up. But so what? I’m not going anywhere. I’m right here on earth, with years of creativity to live out.
So why not fall in love, again and again and again? I’ll sign up for that.