Stories that Matter

Make Your Art – And Be Satisfied…

The weeks are running away from me. Summer is almost over and I’m out of breath. Not because of all I’ve done, I suppose, but more because of what I’ve learned. What I’m still learning. What I’m trying desperately to get a handle on and hold fast to.

This being still. This knowing.

This trusting.

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This making of art and simply letting it be… It’s not an easy concept for me. For someone who has spent the last 2o or so years in constant ‘do’ mode – do read these 50 books on craft, do attend these conferences, do take this online course, do learn how to write a synopsis without the snore factor….don’t get me wrong, the doing is part of the becoming, but sometimes it overtakes us and shapes us into something we are not.

Doing it right, getting it right…that can muscle in and really get in the way of just letting it be right. 

Let your art be yours.

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Don’t lose the beauty in what you’ve created. Don’t lose sight of where it came from in the fist place. This gift you have…it is not one to be taken lightly.

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These things I’ve been pondering over the course of this summer. A while back, a friend asked why I wanted to be published, why it seemed so important to me. I gave a long answer that made sense to me at the time. But now I’m not so sure. Other friends weighed in. You know if you’re freaked out now, just with stuff on submission… You don’t seem to handle stress well… There’s a lot of pressure in publishing… And so on.

Yes. I agree. They’re right.

Truthfully, I don’t know where I fit in the grand scheme of man’s plan. And perhaps it is enough to write these books and let them sit. Share them with a few who will appreciate the words. Yet this trips me up. Every time. It’s not enough, even though it should be. But I’m trying to put that aside. Because I can’t control it. All I can do is be obedient to the call I hear, and let the words flow. Create the art and know that it is good.

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Like a song that settles deep within the heart and stays. Years later, you still know the words and the tune and the emotions wrapped up deep in that mournful melody. Maybe it was never written for you, but it has become yours. Nobody can take that from you.

I’ve just finished writing another book. I’m immensely satisfied with it. I’ve let a few people read it, mainly for feedback and because I still do have this intrinsic need to share what I do. Perhaps it is because I like giving gifts. I like to share. While I’m not terribly good at outward displays of affection, I have other ways of showing love. Sharing life. I’m beginning to see that this art, this writing down the words and letting them settle deep, this is who I am. This is how I give of myself.

And I have to let it be enough.

This story I’ve just finished? It’s not what I expected. And I don’t know where it will go. I will ‘do’ the right things with it. I will send it off into the great beyond and pray that perhaps it was for a purpose. But more than this, I will be satisfied in what I have created. This one, I think, was for me. There were lessons there I needed to learn. And I am grateful to have found the words. Or perhaps to have been given them.

I am grateful for this gift. This art.

And for now, for today, in this moment,  I will be satisfied in the silence of it.

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6 Comments

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on August 11, 2014 at 11:03 am

    What a lovely evocation of Paul’s “…and having done all, to stand”.

    You touched my heart today. Thank you.

  2. Jennifer Zarifeh Major on August 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    “I’m beginning to see that this art, this writing down the words and letting them settle deep, this is who I am. This is how I give of myself.”

    WOW.

    You amaze me. You are SUCH a brilliant writer! You have no idea how deeply your words impacted me, do you? I read your work and it makes me want to work harder, to dig deeper, to find the emotion in the words that have the same punch that yours do. Not the SAME words, but the “Cathy West level” of power.
    That umph that draws the reader through the door she is afraid of opening.

    Thank you for writing as well as you do.

    • Cathy West on August 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      It’s a struggle. You know it is. But you also know why we do what we do, and where the words come from. And I know God has gifted you just as he has me, and your words will also settle in deep and speak to hearts that will be open to hear them. We just need to believe that and keep going, and continue having fun along the way! 🙂

  3. Jeanne Takenaka on August 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Cathy, what a beautiful post. I so appreciate your thoughts and your words. I like the idea that we give ourselves, what we have, how God has gifted us to give to others, and we let that be enough. This thought struck me. As one who struggle with wondering if what she does is enough, it is. God’s given me all I need to live each day well. I need to trust He’s given enough.

    Anyway, loved this post. Thanks for sharing what you’re learning. It spoke to my heart.

    • Cathy West on August 12, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      Thank you, Jeanne! Just have to keep reminding myself of this daily. It is a great journey. 🙂

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