Who were you before you were a writer?

Sage CohenThe life poetic1 Comment

Just as an acorn contains the destiny of the oak, our little pre-K or elementary-school selves knew everything we needed to know about who we are, what we love, and the lives we are best suited to live. But unlike the oak, we have a lot of influences throughout our lives that can drastically confuse the matter. By the time we’re adults, we’ve likely left behind the hula hoop or the hacky sack that occupied most of our childhood weekends. It can be tricky to translate such obsessions to a career path or family.

When I declared somewhat spontaneously a few weeks ago that I was going to choose a Song of the Year and make up a dance routine to go with it, something woke up in me. My heart started singing and dancing. Within days, my friend Lane sent me this 24 hour music video. And I’ve been dancing along ever since.

Before I was a writer, I was a very serious visual artist. And before painting and drawing came into my life, singing and dancing were my passions. By specializing in writing eventually, I left behind these joyous and vital parts of myself. As the New Year approached, I asked myself: how might my heart and my writing expand if I invited these parts of me back to center stage? Mind you, I didn’t waste one second on the fact that I barely have the space to write, let alone paint, draw, sing and dance. That would shut me right down. Instead, I opened myself up to the daydream of delight.

And because over-committing is one of my adult specialties, I very quickly upped the ante of my promise to myself this year. This is what I decided.

I won’t just choose a song of the year. I will write and record one. And I won’t just make up a dance routine, I will record a dance video. This video won’t just be a record my dance routine, I will be a weave of as many dance routines as I can possibly record. And this won’t just be any song and dance. It will be an anthem to the triumph of the heart over lost love and divided family. It will be a video of single parents dancing our broken-hearted butts off.

Will I actually be able to pull this off in 2014—or ever? I don’t know. But simply having a specific and joyful vision of how I could weave together my passions for transforming the losses of divorce into powerful medicine with the many forms of creative expression I love most has completely liberated my sense of possibility. It has let me off of my accomplishment-because-I-have-to hook and set me up for a very different kind of expectation for this year.

How might you make the stage of your life bigger, more playful, and more committed to the causes and the work that matter most to you by making space for your childhood passions? Showing up to write requires that we reach deep into every cell for the wisdom of the words that await us there. Who were you before you were a writer, and what does that person bring to the page? What is the hula hoop waiting to say? And who’s going to star in your dance video?

One Comment on “Who were you before you were a writer?”

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