The human mind is one of the few places where two opposing things can be true at the same time. The tension between opposites gives rise to what’s exciting about life.
Control – Surrender
Momentum – Stasis
Intellect – Heart
Masculine – Feminine
Strength – Flexibility
Communal – Individual
Gravity – Laughter
Life – Death
Subatomic – Cosmic
I recently returned from a miniature vacation and feel ready to tackle what’s next, which will include the next step for my novel-in-progress (more on that in a future post).
While on vacation, a few more story ideas came to me in the form of single lines or titles, as they often do. My traveling companion (more familiarly known as my husband) and I also had a chance to talk about things we haven’t talked about in a while, including my writing career. As he has in the past, he counseled me to write something for a popular genre. I again demurred. No—more than demurred: I howled in protest.
“I don’t want to!”
I can think of few things less exciting than writing strictly to appeal to a “market.” Take this idea to its absurd end and you get something like professor Philip M. Parker, who has created hundreds of thousands of books using a patented computer program.
I write because I must, not to make money. Of course, I want people to read my work, which implies selling it to a market. And therein lies the root of my lifelong struggle.
But—and here’s where the co-existence of opposites comes in—who’s to say that writing for myself and writing for profit are mutually exclusive?
I have yet to discover the precise way these two impulses will work together. Nevertheless, as I reminded my husband, my fiction has been published—and paid for—a number of times in the last year or so.
And, if I remain attuned to the forces that turn inward and those that pulse outward, to stillness and action, to reflection and work, I can encompass these seemingly opposing tendencies.
After all, this co-existence of opposites is an old, old idea.
What opposing forces co-exist in your life?
Hello Audrey. I’m here because Susie Landau sent me!! Loved this post, so interesting to read and relate about needing to write, vs writing for the masses. There is a lot of conflicting advice so I’m learning to sort the wheat from the chaff, at least what is wheat for me.
Thanks for stopping by! Not that I want others to suffer, but it is nice to know I’m not alone in wrestling with these challenges.
I just went to a writer’s conference where they said to never write for mainstream, write for yourself. I have heard that many times before.
My brain is constantly struggling with opposing ideas! Gah!
Thanks for bringing this to the party!
It’s not easy! One think I know for certain about writing (and most other pursuits): there is an abundance of conflicting advice out there! We all have to choose for ourselves what makes sense. And thanks for throwing such a fun gathering!
Great post Audrey. I stopped by because Susie sent me. I’ll try to check in again from time to time.
I’m a writer as well, with a husband who doesn’t “get it,” all the time either.
w/a Jansen Schmidt
Thanks! I will check you your blog as well.
We’re all a bit of each side. It doesn’t make a whole. There are people we know who complete us. Ideas rattling around in our heads are seeds.
I like the thought about ideas rattling around in our heads being like seeds. What else do we need to make us whole?
UnbeLIEvable. I’ve been toying with a post on this topic. The omnipresent Yin/Yang.
It is an evergreen/omnipresent topic. I’d be interested in your take on it. (And yes, the word “believable” contains its own opposite 🙂 But where does that leave the word “belie?” Sometimes my head hurts!)
Uh HoAH! He he. Fellow thinkaholic. I am backlogged on posts in the head….that one will have to take a number. But I have indeed turned it over in my head. Macrobiotics books are wonderful on the subject. Every vegetable is its own yin/yang (hard/soft parts…)
HUH. Speaking of which
Yin/yang all over the food blog. I can’t build that site as I’d planned. My Journey’s taken off and I refuse to pull back on my readers here. My Table is more a reference board. I invite you to view the pages on top (Prologue, etc).
Blessings, Kindred Spirit.
Ah, this is a timely post. the war within the self, I know it well. if art is for money then art turns into work. what is wrong with that? art is the opposite of work! oh there must be a bridge. And you keep up the good writing…follow your heart/instincts…reading your work is a pleasure.
Thank you! I had more thoughts on this today, perhaps leading to another post…
Happy alone/lonely. How fickle moods can be!
Cat – dog. Sweltering heat vs cabin fever. Stuff always seems to simmer in the summer – including thoughts about writing
Ah yes, you experience the co-existence of opposites right in your own household. I’m sure it’s often exciting. (By the way, I enjoyed RC Cat’s musings today about the boxing up of the children.)
I always like your stuff but this one seems even better, or at least for me it struck something particularly cool. Thanks for writing it (and the mentioning of the computer program and link to the article).
Christopher Wachlin The Stoneslide Corrective A bad habit for good readers
on twitter on facebook Shock to Equilibrium
Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2013 15:46:11 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks. I had this one rattling around as a draft for quite a while before it came together. I’m glad it resonated.