I only started writing this blog a few posts ago, and I already have cold sweats thinking I will run short of ideas to write about. It’s a rather childish thought. Rationally, there is no reason to worry: I started this blog because I like to write, therefore I enjoy being triggered in this sense. Not having ideas creates ideas. I guess my fear is more in the long-run, how to keep on, sustain interest and energy.
Recently, I read “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami, where he makes parallels between being a marathon runner and a novelist. Murakami finds that, in order to keep energy and enthusiasm as a writer, he needs to work on his physical stamina and endurance. For him, both practices are complementary. Training physically helps him to create energy and to balance with the long and anti-social enterprise of writing large volume books. I like to think that in a way, Murakami creates his own inspiration.
Like athletes, artists like to give themselves tasks in order to build a practice. This may go against the assumption that artists are free as birds, therefore have no structures or schedules. Obviously this is a myth, in reality it’s rather the contrary — most artists I met are quite organised and attentive to their working rhythm. It’s a lot about creating routines… and breaking them (from time to time). Personally, I had some periods where I would be scared to go to the studio not knowing what to do next or how, so I found a trick: to leave “unfinished things” the night before so that I could always continue with them first. Needless to say that the next morning I’d had new ideas that I was eager to try before anything else.
Similarly, we are living in an insecure time. Here in Tel Aviv, we just entered our second lockdown, and I think that setting ourselves some tasks or finding tricks can only help us cope better with the stressful atmosphere. This is why I was quite enthusiastic with my partner’s idea, that she borrowed from a friend. The idea is simple: we give each other a word as a guideline for the week — a gift or a wish of sorts. This word can resonate with us, be an inspiration, a reflection, a goal, a thought, or anything that we want it to be.
For our first week of the one-word-for-a-week adventure, I gave the word MAGIC to my partner. I had hesitated with TRUST, but realising that the latter was more for me, I changed. Magically though, I received the word TRUST. I can already trust that I found the right person! Now, what do I do with this one word that means so much? What can I possibly trust in this period of lockdown, when we don’t know what awaits us: the outside is dangerous, the other is contaminating, we wear masks to avoid any contact, and what we do is not considered ‘essential’. In such a worrisome and distressing context, I feel the answer should come from a more caring source.
The lockdown reminds me of these French summer days when the rain blocked us in our holiday caravan. We would say goodbye to our plans of playing badminton, going swimming in the lake or messing around with other kids and not only that, we would find ourselves stuck in a tiny space with our family. After a moment of stagnation and staring at the pouring rain hoping for a miracle, someone would propose a game, a riddle, or an activity. Something to take us out of our melancholy and transform the situation into a rather exciting moment together.
Along the same lines, my partner told me about her African dance teacher saying in class: “You can trust the floor”. It’s a simple, yet beautiful image that can now take on its full meaning. These little ‘leads’ appear here and there, we just need to catch them. As Ernest Hemingway said: “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
I guess my best option is to trust myself, to trust that I will have ideas for my next posts, to trust that I will continue creating pieces, to trust that I’ll never stop learning since it’s such a powerful engine in my life, to trust that I’ll find inspiring books to read, to trust that my partner will find the best words for me, to trust that I’ll be healthy and kicking. I also decided to trust magic.