Monday, January 11, 2010

more gurus from the past

There's something in the air right now—people from my past are showing up in my present. Not to actually be here, with me, but I'm thinking it's a kick in the ass from the universe about acknowledging how far I've come.

This morning I saw another mentor, guru, teacher who's every word I took as truth from a higher source. Ok, that's more than a slight exaggeration, but for a long time I truly looked up to this guy. He's a fellow NYC parent, a successful author, had boundless creativity and we bonded, in a big way, when I was just starting out on this writing path.

He knew it all far better than me. The rush of having a new idea pop into your head and the immediate brainstorming that ensues. Light bulbs flashing, energy flowing. How hard it is to wait after something's been sent out. Knowing people are picking apart your art and most likely it'll end with a polite rejection. Waiting for the phone call, email, contact. How slow time can go when an answer looms in the future. How terrifying it is to start something you've never done before.

We talked a lot about how other people don't know what it's like. That it seems so glamorous from the outside, but that it's so often lonely and anxiety-ridden. There's no one to go to for advice or guidance. It's your ideas that people are buying and you have to own them and be the confident expert, even (and especially) when you're not feeling it deep in your soul.

We shared the sense of emptiness that comes after your book is published. It's hard to explain, even having been through it a bunch of times now and it was reassuring to know it wasn't just me. It's like sending a child out into the world that will never call or stay in touch. Seeing my creation on a shelf in Barnes and Noble invariably looking small and lonely, bleeds out all the energy and thoughtfulness I'd poured into it. Nestled tightly between other writer's dreams, it's lost to me.

He knew. He's been doing it much longer than I had and I borderline hero-worshipped him. I ignored his severe anxiety. I threw myself whole-heartedly into becoming part of his emotional support. He was in a lull after tremendous success and I relished being part of his life raft.

And then it was over. I never knew why. Part of me wondered if it was that I got a book signing, replete with huge color posters of me, at a Barnes and Noble in the hood, when he'd never had one. Part of me thinks I got too close—hoping some of his success and vision would rub off on me. I was barely on my road and filled with endless doubt. That I tried too hard, that he thought I'd turn psycho, that he'd lost interest.

I saw him this morning. He pretended I wasn't there, as he'd been doing for the past 5 years. And I just walked by, as I always do. But today, I took a moment to acknowledge how far I've come. From that insecure, floundering neophyte, just barely having a clue, I've published 7 projects since then. I still go through the angst and doubt, but know it'll be all right. The difference is that now I own who I am, or at least I'm working hard on it.

It's not just about mentors, teachers, gurus. They can shine a light, be support, help when moments are bleak. But you have to absorb, engage, take it on yourself, make it a part of you.

Day 8 is owning what I've done. At least in this moment.

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