Friday, July 23, 2010

On Caution

By nature I'm a cautious individual.

So cautious that I talk myself out of taking risks as often as I talk myself into them. It may seem like I'm sending out queries, entering writing contests, but that's nothing compared to the contests I haven't entered, the agents I haven't queried. It may seem like I manage to do a fair amount of artwork still, compared to the free time I (don't) have, but that's nothing compared to the ideas I'm too afraid to begin because I'm not sure they're ready, not sure they've percolated in my brain long enough, not sure I can do them justice. Not sure they're worthwhile or that anyone will care.

So cautious that I tend to keep my distance in personal relationships, because I don't want to get hurt or I don't want to hurt someone else or I don't want to acquire an annoying stalker like that one ex-boyfriend back in college. (Two months of relationship, six months of stalking! What a bargain! Plus, as an added bonus, pages and pages of letters!) I'm very skilled at it. You might not even know which me you're talking to, the surface me or the one hiding underneath.

So cautious that I'm often second-guessing whatever I say, do, or even write. It's enough to drive a person nuts. Please bear that in mind the next time I say something goofy or weird...which could be any minute now.

So cautious that my blog posts sometimes never make it out of my head and onto the page, let alone onto the intertubes for posterity, for fear that they're not clever enough, or not my best work, or whatever.

All of which makes it a little counter-intuitive that I've always had my eye on vocations that include a good deal of throwing caution to the winds...

5 comments:

David T. Macknet said...

I'm always sure that I'm talking to the surface aquafortis. But I know that the surface one will communicate things to the real one, and that, eventually, the real one will realize that we like her an awful lot. And not in a stalker kind of way, either. Unless it is.

tanita davis said...

:exasperated sigh: Ignore him.

The worst thing about this is that you second-guess yourself into a standstill.

...and moments pass, the Muse moves off in a huff, and what we could see of your genius is obscured by the view of the top of your head we get whilst you examine your navel and try to figure out if you should put ink to paper and spool out the hidden treasures of your mind.

I generally resent it when people say, "I understand," because most often, no, they don't.

But in this case? Totally get it.

FEARLESS is the word of the month. I repost things like that Jones piece to our group list because even though we know all this crap, hearing it over and over is crucial.

Step off the cliff... and fly.

Sarah said...

I have a post-it attached to my computer desk, right above the monitor, with a quote from one of my art professors at Berkeley, a Mr. Dewey Crumpler (who got his MFA at Mills, incidentally)--during a critique one day, he told a student (not me) in his deep, rumbling, measured bass voice: "Do not be afraid to step into the void."

I have ALWAYS remembered that. It's good advice...

Rachel said...

This resonates with me too--I think the interesting thing is that while on one hand we may find it odd that we've chosen paths that "force" us to fight against this nature another way of looking it at is maybe there's no other path we could choose because it's about achieving a sense of balance. In any case the word "fearless" is appropriate although misleading to most people. To me "fearless" doesn't mean you live without fear, it means you learn to live through the fear and, eventually, tame it in bits and pieces...

aquafortis said...

I like that definition of fearless...it makes it seem a bit more accessible. :)