Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 250

William Blake's accuser is my accuser too. The Accuser the guardian of the gate. He bars the way forward by diminishing us, throwing a blanket of contempt over our visions. I know this, because he's here now, barring my way into the direction I've chosen. I don't flatter myself by saying Blake's demon is my demon too. The accuser gets around. I'll bet you know him too.

I start my day by jumping that particular hurdle, even though I may not be aware of doing so. These are not necessarily conscious thoughts. The accuser is skilled, can weigh us down with invisible baggage, words whispered that only we can understand.
And comrades, he knows what scares us.
The accuser tells me first of all that my work, and therefore I, am not essential. Art is not important. How do I feel otherwise when all around us libraries and galleries are closing, school programs are losing funding and the arts are the first items struck from household budgets.
Art is supremely important in the longer run, the larger picture, but not so much for the short term, leaner, getting-through-the-week times.

Although I'm working, mostly functional, the accuser has taken a toll this week. No indeed, I'm not flattered by his attentions. The best thing I can do is to learn to face him, recognize him, ridicule him and try to send him away. Possibly he's like any other bully, if I don't react, he'll get bored and move on. Demons often do.
So far, no good. But I find strength here. Because I know you know him too. That puts me in excellent company.
Let's compare notes. Maybe we can help each other. What does your accuser tell you, what voice does it use and how do you fight back?

I'm ready to push back today, starting with reminding myself that you're here with me. If I figure something out, you'll be the first to know.


Jen said...

My accuser tells me I laugh too loudly, I weigh too much, and I won't amount to anything so why try. If I am able to shrug off this smothering thing, I remind myself that my mother once told me, upon telling her I had gotten a rather large tattoo, that no one would ever love me. And I know how that story ended --- I fell in love with my best friend, and he with me, and we've been married almost 11 years now.

That gives me power to reduce the accuser to about the size of a small snail. Most of the time.

Stacy Hurt said...

I hate that bitch! As I'm female my accuser is also female. She tells me (as Jo said) I'm fat, my work is great for a 'hobby'. That every other person on the planet who works a regular day job has the weekends and evenings off. They watch TV, they bike ride, they r.e.l.a.x. and I should just go have a lie down with my cats who are so comfy on the bed, lying there in the breeze, etc. because I've earned it.

Whatever the distraction she flashes up to me I tell her to 'Shut the F up'. (when I'm feeling particularly nasty I say the whole f word)

But most times Lisa, I ignore her. Instead, I put in my mind the peace I feel when creating my art. Ultimately, I create because I need to, the fact that my work sells, is in shows, published, etc... I keep those thoughts in the front, that pushes that inner skinny bitch outta the way.

And if all else fails, and I truly mean this, I tell myself now that I've nearly crested what will most likely be the halfway point of my life, that THIS, THIS creating, playing, doodling, beading, whatever it is...Is. What. I. Am. Here. For.

Sure, my day job fulfills the bank account (sort of), I help people. But my art makes my heart and soul sing and I won't tolerate her negativism. period.

It obviously makes me happy, makes others happy and this icky economy too shall all pass. Meantime since I'm broke and since the kitchen is sort clean... I'm gonna go play.

All the best fishes to you!

...and I can't wait to get my wee poppet with the bunny to sit next to my happy face poppet. Someday I may hot glue gun them to the top of my sewing machine! They can help guide the thread and help me stitch into everything just something a little bit extra!

Thank you for your gift. I am always inspired by your work. All parts of your work, not just the adorable poppets. :)

Stacy Hurt said...


Mélanie said...

"Art is supremely important in the longer run, the larger picture, but not so much for the short term, leaner, getting-through-the-week times."

I'm not so sure about that. To me, art is *definitely* something that helps you get through the week. Not necessarily in a grand, overwhelming way - sometimes it will just make you smile, and that will be enough to make the day worthwhile. Life is worth nothing without a little bit of art.
(And your art has often brought that particular smile to my lips.)

As for accusers - strangely enough, mine never attacks me as a writer. I'm kind of confident that what I write is of interest to at least a few people. My attacker tells me that I might be a decent writer, but that I'm a terrible person - and therefore a kind of fraud, because I deceive people who know me through my writing. That I'm stupid and selfish and terrible at human relationships and at keeping friends.

Some days, I don't know how to deal with that. And someday, things happen that just kind of prove it wrong.

Mélanie said...

Sorry about the typo, I wrote "attacker" instead of "accuser".

Rosie said...

My accuser tells me that I should be learning to be content with where I am now. That my worries are middle-class worries, and I am being ungrateful for the luck I already have. My accuser is at least partly right.

I wrote the following for myself - it may be a little trite, but it was what I needed to hear, and it may be useful to others too:

"You're feeling this crap because you've used up all your resources and it feels like you haven't got anywhere. You have - you just haven't realised it yet. Just because you have not reached your destination, it does not mean you haven't taken a valuable step along the way."

Stacy Hurt said...

Rosie, I don't think that is trite at all. It is incredibly insightful and well timed!


Stacey said...

Thanks for writing this, and the comments too. The accuser voice has been particularly loud lately, and I'm a little worn out from fighting with her. She hasn't won yet, and I don't intend to let her.

Unknown said...

My accuser tells me that if I were a "real " writer, I would have several things published by now, rather than starting a new work at nearly forty and falling asleep during the stolen hours late at night when I try to sneak in my writing time. My accuser tells me that even if I finish, the story will never "really" be a told because no one will ever read it, and that if I somehow manage to get published it will never find an audience. My accuser tried to steal my ideas, my value, my...hope. But you are right, I am in good company, and there is strength in numbers!

lisa said...

Jo: It is smothering, isn't it? That seems like an effective exercise; recalling a very wrong accusation. They're all wrong. They're lies. Thank you.

lisa said...

Stacey Hurt: Hate away, because she's not you. My accuser tries to pose as me. Could that be? I've said some angry things in my time, things I'm not proud of. But those things don't even touch what she says to me. Don't respect the bitch. She's not that smart. She's a bully. I know that 'zone' during creativity, where the universe seems right. If I know anything, I know they can't bother us when we're in there. Thank you.

lisa said...

Melanie: Of course art is important to you and to me. I can't look out of my window without appreciating how the light falls on a fence post. My accuser tells me that the rest of humanity feels differently. Today,for most people, dinner on the table is a higher priority than the feeding of their minds. That's the short term. I have to look past that and remind myself that art is a human language and is vital to everyone.

Syd said...

Let's just change that to "Art is important." Because it is. The thing is that it's easy to think it's not important in the short term because its effects--the way it entertains, informs, educates, and causes its experiencers (if you will) to actually think, among other things--aren't necessarily visible in the short term.

This is unfortunate. When the world appears to be falling apart is EXACTLY the time when art can be a positive force.

My accuser is, at the moment, trying to make me feel responsible for the fact that the clinic I've worked at for the last year or so closed down yesterday. "If you'd been a better marketer, you could have brought in enough new clients to keep the place afloat. At the very least, you'd have a book of massage clients you could approach as an independent, which would maybe help you keep your house."

And don't even get me started on the little love notes it leaves in my mind about whether I have enough talent to copyedit other people's work, let alone write anything of my own. Because my own art winds up on the back burner 98 times out of 100.

Stupid accuser is stupid. But all too hard to ignore sometimes.

Stacey said...

Syd! you're a fellow LMT? really? I had no idea!

Stacey said...

Jo @ 2:50pm - Does your accuser have your mother's voice?

Mine does. I wonder about the correlation...

Shonna said...

My accuser tells me that everything that someone else has done wrong is my fault. And at times ensures that the fear of being wrong or blamed paralyses me. I know I am capable, I know that I can make a difference, and I reframe its mutterings and tell myself that I need to believe in what I can and have achieved (the old 'make it so/fake it 'til you make it' approach) but there are still some days when my accuser rides my shoulder and casts its shadow over everything I do.

And your art IS important because it makes people think and laugh and cry and BE!

Mélanie said...

Art is not on the same level as struggling to get food on the table, but I still think that it matters a lot in many people's lives. Most of the people I know (including at least one whose family did struggle for food when she was a kid) have been deeply shaped by books/films/music/etc. At the very least, they helped us get through teenage years and other painful times. They can brighten your day in big and small ways alike.

One example I have in mind for your own art is a girl I know who wanted to give a present to a friend to thank her for something she'd done. She'd seen my photos of poppets and thought it would be an appropriate gift. The other girl was aware of poppets but didn't have any. The one she got as a gift was the transparent one that lights up, I'm not sure how to describe it - and I know she was really moved by the gesture.

What makes life enjoyable on a daily basis is made of small but meaningful gestures like this one. And I really do think that art is important in that matter.

Drinne said...

My accuser is a yellow piece of carbon paper in a flimsy cheap envelope slipped through the front mail slot.

"Adrienne is not living up to her potential. She fails to apply herself.

There is always a mail slot and there are stacks of yellow slips. Every other accuser is just a reflection of the first paper, the UberPaper announcing itself when I was seven.

It doesn't even need to update, just waft by when anything else refers my incredible potential with the disregard of anything I've actually accomplished. It's the most internalized external thing in my life.

Carl V. Anderson said...

My accuser never has to work that hard. He points out the half-finished projects, the set aside scraps or the saved websites gathered initially with a fond idea of it being "inspiration".

He points out the overgrown yard and reminds me of how immaculate my parent's yard is and how in so many ways I am not their son (although my parents don't make those accusations. They don't have to, my accuser has it covered).

He points out that I am not in my early 40's and there are things I dreamed of doing in my early 20's that I still have not attempted. He points out the rush of time.

Most of the time my accuser is quiet. He bides his time and then in a rush brings out all these things and the cumulative effect is that I feel like the wind has been knocked out of me.

More often than not my "solution" is to pretend to turn a deaf ear until he goes away or his voice is drowned out by the white noise of everyday life.

That approach has got to change.

lisa said...

everyone: I like that you're talking to each other. I'm reading all of your comments. We're all different, with different accusers. Still, the accusations seem all to center around expectations.
Whose expectations are we not meeting? Do we hold others so close to the fire?

I gained a bit more experience this week---I'll continue on the next post carry some of the comments over to that.
Thanks for your insights!