Wednesday, February 03, 2010

On Substance

My friends, when you are feeling small and inconsequent, or worry that your work may be small and inconsequent, please undertake the following exercise.

Imagine lifting your own weight over your head. Do this deliberately, and in this way: Imagine that you are standing in front of yourself. Imagine you are bending at the knees--say, like a circus performer--and holding your upturned hands out toward yourself. Now: imagine your heels stepping forward and into your hands. Imagine you are slowly straightening and lifing your entire body, your own feet, in fact the weight of your complete being, from the ground up--right over your head.

Feel the heft of you? Feel the substance?

No small thing.

This is what we do every day. We carry ourselves through the world. And our work.

We flag, at times. No wonder. We feel small and baffled. Why, we ask ourselves, do we bother at all? Here is where the error lies: in thinking, because we sometimes tire and buckle, that we don't amount to much.


Take a moment today. Feel your substance.




Joni Rodgers said...


This is way better than my pre-speaking gig method, which is to look at myself in the hotel bathroom mirror and say, "Because I am JONI FU@#ING RODGERS! That's why!"

Colleen Thompson said...

Love it, Mylene.

But I don't know, Joni. Your way seems to be working pretty darned well for you.

Off to do what I thought would be a fun exercise (art fact sheet) but is in fact an exercise in minutiae. Which I may have just spelled wrong.

Kathryn Paterson said...

You all crack me up. :) I love "because I'm Joni Fu@#ing Rodgers." That's too cool. And I love how your sense of physicality informs everything you do, Mylene. That's something often missing in fiction and in discussions of fiction.

I had a great creative writing class today. They wrote some great stuff and they handled their workshop so well. I was so nervous, because it's the first workshop of the semester, but they did well and were wonderfully insightful and supportive.

Now if I could just bring all that to my own work!


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