Writing ~ The Masterful Administration of the Unforeseen

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No one can predict the future now. No one can make long- range plans. The best we can hope for, to quote Robert Bridges, is ” the masterful administration of the unforeseen.”  Ride the whirlwind. That’s the most we can do.
Arthur C. Clarke

 

This sage advice is found on page 150 of Walking on Alligators – A Book of Meditations for Writers by Susan Shaughnessy. I was led to open a random page from this book today and post it here. I have been thinking deeply about my writing process of late. I have wondered why some pieces come so easily to me , while others are so arduous and heavy. I have also noticed how grateful I am when opportunities appear to take my writing and this blog in new directions. For example, when TMA was looking on Facebook for bloggers to review the Music Issue, I had no idea I could do it justice, or the editor would like it and link it to their FB page and my stats would go off the charts. WordPress even noticed and gave me props.  WOW, thank you for the love!

So many times I question my ability to try something new for fear of failing or offending or somehow falling short. Yet there lies the paradox of the creative process. Shaughnessy goes on to say ” … And in the end, what else is writing? Each day, you sit down to try to give shape and forward motion to something unforeseen. This process equips you to help others face this urgent task. When you can write in such a way to make it seem easier to grasp, you will contribute what your age is asking for.”

This begs the question, do I write as I live? Do I leave myself open to shaping each moment by co-creating with intention and love? Or do I play it safe and never stray too far from what keeps me secure and comfortable?

 

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

Thanks to everyone who reads my posts and believes in the magic of the written word. The magic lies in the ability to find your own meanings, draw your own conclusions, and bravely move forward..

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20 thoughts on “Writing ~ The Masterful Administration of the Unforeseen

  1. One of the best quotes I have ever seen about the writing process. It is amazing what we can do. I love the idea of giving something “forward motion.” I have seen this often in my own writing/life. thank you.

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    1. Hi Kim
      Thank you for your perspective. I found the quote “randomly” which often means I was guided. I agree that it is an excellent quote and I truly enjoy your writing style.

      in light,
      Linda

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  2. Great post Linda! Thank you for being a little vulnerable here, it is so encouraging.

    “So many times I question my ability to try something new for fear of failing or offending or somehow falling short.”

    I this I must be a traitor to my generation as WordPress (and the occasional Instagram post of my art) is my only form of active social media. The community I have found here is so amazing, so creative and thoughtful, I sometimes worry that my comments are over-enthusiastic or too giddy, but I guess I just really am thankful to have found such curious and brilliant people writing here – you included of course! So thanks for putting up with my comment gushing and thank you for having the courage to write, write, write. It is inspiring.

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    1. Hi Amanda,
      I am learning that vulnerability is a strength both privately and publicly. Brene Brown has brought it back ( like Justin Timberlake brought sexy back!)

      There really is no place else like WordPress and it may seem odd to non blogging readers to hear us gush over a blogging platform, but it is just the truth 🙂

      I do not think you can be over enthusiastic, just be you and bring the comments on 🙂

      I really feel that we learn from each other and that shows up in our creative activity. Thanks for such an honest exchange and I am really enjoying our new connection.

      Namaste,
      Linda

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  3. “…Each day, you sit down to try to give shape and forward motion to something unforeseen. This process equips you to help others face this urgent task. When you can write in such a way to make it seem easier to grasp, you will contribute what your age is asking for.”

    Great post, topic and questions Linda!

    What writing and language does for us and for readers is one of my favorite things to ponder. I am always surprised and happy to see such a variety of topics here on your blog. I sometimes feel like a bird of prey, circling around the same old ground, when I write. On some level though, we must all trust the process, yes? There’ll be some writing experiences that seem to offer to both ourselves and others very unexpected gifts.

    I can relate to the dilemma of writing from the heart or playing it safe. I think for myself, when I feel conflicted about what I want to say, sometimes it means I need to step back and digest the feelings to gain a deeper sense of what it is that I want to say. But who can write without a good sense of passion and love for what you’re writing about?

    This past month, I have been crazy busy, no time for writing and it feels as if I have abandoned an important part of life that keeps me connected to you and other WP friends. It feels good today to have a bit of time to write and to make the rounds and catch up with friends.

    xxx
    Debra

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    1. Thanks Deb for such thoughtful commentary, Knew i gave you a Comment Award for a reason lol! I am often inspired by your posts about language to take a deeper look at my relationship with words and of course all symbols. In fact, your ideas influenced this post to some degree.
      My hesitancy is more in regards to writing for someone else vis a vis a review, guest post, etc. In these cases I tend to worry more about my approach, which of course has nothing to do with anyone but me 😉

      I am glad you are back, yet we understand that we all get busy from time to time. You guys are like my second family and it it comforting to know that most of you are here waiting when I return!

      xx Linda

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  4. Dear Linda, I have always loved what ever you write and I totally agree with Shamanictracker … We all of us who love to write know sometimes it just flows.. For me when it flows I know its coming straight from my heart.. and maybe it is also being guided by my higher self 🙂 … My poetry is a prime example of this..
    I am thrilled your ratings went through the roof.. You deserve to get recognition.. And I thinks sometimes we should all stretch a little which takes us out of our comfort zone.. such is change 🙂 and changes often make us stretch that bit further as we are challenged to get off our comfort blankets..

    Love and Light..
    I hope you received my last personal communication .. And thank you for Liking my last poem.. 🙂
    Hugs Sue xxx

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    1. Hi Sue, I was just commenting on your latest post while you were here on mine! Talk about synchronicity!
      Sometimes I get too caught up in the ego trip with stats but I think that the temporary surge was the Universe noticing my hard work with that project 🙂

      Yes, I did get it and thank you! Will be back in touch when I am in the proper “space.” Know that I think of you often ❤

      Hugs,
      Linda

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  5. I have to say that you have written many spontaneous and engaging posts, and you have shared honestly and thoughtfully. I also always enjoy your posts on astrology.
    My favorite of your posts is Spin the wheel of time, there’s something purely magical about it. I don’t know what your inspiration and process was but I would love more of it 🙂 xox

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    1. Thank you Shaman goddess! I do tend to give in to self doubt from time to time and Saturn is causing fear and doubt to visit many Scorpio folks right now.

      I am so happy you “got” the Spin the Wheel post. It was one of my more experimental , purely imagination-driven pieces. I would say that it integrated many joyous, idealistic ideas and experiences over the course of my life, woven into one intricate quilt.

      I sooooo value your input , more than you know.

      much love,
      Linda

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  6. Hey Linda,

    “The aim of Art (writing) is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” ~ Aristotle

    As always, thank you for another very thought provoking post. I do however believe that you already knew the answers to the questions that you pose long before you even wrote this entry or you wouldn’t have gone searching for the question in the first place in the shadowed forest of your mind 🙂

    In my humble opinion, to immerse oneself within a highly creative and artistic endeavour such as writing (or image making, and also reading) is not so dissimilar to engaging with a cerebral and intuitive lover. There is intensity in the thoughtfully emotional relationship, passion in the process, and fulfilment and reward in the outcome: there is the mixing, blending, and hedonistic thrill as thoughts and feelings slip and slide and twist and turn like the massage of a catch of fresh eels and all whilst teasing and testing and pushing and pulling the mind in so many ways it feels devoured with ideas…all of which creates an internal atmosphere characterised by a heightened sense of remoteness from or an acute idealisation of (everyday) life, and opportunity for pure escapism in the act of expressing the fullness of truth. And it is into this pervading and seductive mood of place or situation that a reader enters with expectation and sometimes a premeditated desire for their thoughts and emotions to be provoked: in its essence reading is no more and no less a private and sometimes deeply personal intercourse between two people, the reader and the writer…it is an author’s intimate incision of words in to a reader’s mind and an injection of a writer’s inner dialogue in to a reader’s emotions: and in all ways a reader yearns to be lost in the fantasy of words.

    In addition, I find that words take on a significance all of their own, often it is the mind that reads them and the imagination that personalises/internalises them rather than the hand that writes them which ultimately breathes life in to their meaning. Of course, this is not to detract from the intensity of emotion that is expressed by the author but more foregrounds the idea that all understanding in the transmission of thought and feeling finally resides with the reader. So perhaps it is indeed the manner in which the writer goes about the business of seducing and provoking the mind of the reader that is so fundamental to success and to which Susan Shaughnessy so eloquently eludes.

    The following extract(s) is taken from Tolstoy’s ‘Art and Sincerity’ and is a summation of the three conditions of ‘contagiousness’ in ‘Art’. He suggests that the ‘appeal’ of of Art is a combination of:

    1. Individuality – The more individual the feeling transmitted the more strongly does it act on the receiver; the more individual the state of soul into which the writer is transferred, the more pleasure does the receiver obtain, and therefore the more readily and strongly do they participate.

    2. Clarity – The clearness of expression assists infection because the receiver, who mingles in consciousness with the writer, is the better satisfied the more clearly the feeling is transmitted, which, as it seems to them, they have long known and felt, and for which they have only now found expression.

    3. Sincerity – Most of all is the degree of infectiousness of writing increased by the degree of sincerity in the authoress. As soon as the reader feels that the writer is infected by their own production, and writes for themselves, and not merely to act on others, this mental condition of the writer infects the receiver; and contrariwise, as soon as the reader feels that the author is not writing for their own satisfaction — does not herself feel what she wishes to express — but is doing it for the receiver, a resistance immediately springs up, and the most individual and the newest feelings and the cleverest technique not only fail to produce any infection but actually repel.

    (Tolstoy continues..) ‘I have mentioned three conditions of contagiousness in Art, but they may be all summed up into one, the last, sincerity, i.e., that the writer should be impelled by an inner need to express their feeling. That condition includes the first; for if the writer is sincere they will express the feeling as it is experienced. And as each person is different from everyone else, their feeling will be individual for everyone else; and the more individual it is — the more the writer has drawn it from the depths of their nature — the more sympathetic and sincere will it be. And this same sincerity will impel the writer to find a clear expression of the feeling which they wish to transmit.’

    So perhaps upon reflection Linda, and speaking personally as a reader of your Blog who already values and thoroughly appreciates the depth and sincerity of your writing, why not push the boat a little further out from the safety of the shore and dive deeper into a shameless, unbounded romance with the written word? Be provocative and be a little dangerous, be enticing, charming and alluring. Beguile, bewitch and enchant, be evocative and compelling, be mystifying and mesmerising, be the dreamer, the visionary, the seer, reach beyond the stars to grasp at untold secrets and unrealised truths, be the author who transmits feelings with individuality, clarity and sincerity, administer the Astrological unforeseen future with undiluted integrity and decency, and in the process of doing all feel the deep pleasure of the Goddess’s white lightning energy as she courses through your veins to take control of your wordy outpourings, and fall madly in love with the exoticism and power of your wonderful gift. And who knows where She may lead you once the words begin to flow… 🙂

    Namaste

    DN – 10/05/2014

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    1. Hey Dewin,
      Thanks again for another incredible comment and introduction to Tolstoy here.Your words are truly beautiful and definitely give me pause.I am afraid that some of message was misunderstood here as much of my reluctance to take creative risks is in regard to new projects that are linked in some fashion to other people, such as guest posts, etc. However, in light of the recent feedback , I am feeling more confident in just doing my thing and casting fears aside.

      Namaste

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  7. Hi Linda!
    I really enjoyed reading this blog post, and the book you mentioned, ‘Walking On Alligators,’ has intrigued me, especially since my sister sent me a short video of alligators 🙂 at a park in Georgia or S.C. not sure where exactly – yesterday.

    As far as your success as a writer & astrologer goes, I’m really happy for you, you deserve to get to be in the spotlight 🙂 xo

    I know that you are experiencing wonderful things and connections and this adds to my joy. Thanks for sharing! ~Ka

    P.S. Blogging is this amazing community that I feel like I just discovered, thanks to you, and the others, but, really, you helped me to feel ‘included.’

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    1. Hi Ka,
      I like the alligator synchronicity and do recommend the book. I got it along with a few others when I attended the Creativity and Madness conference in Santa Fe. I was exposed to ideas and books there that were new to me and reignited my passion for writing. I would not exactly say I have arrived ether as a writer or astrologer, but I am noticing that walking this path , living my truth, has attracted opportunities that were once beyond my grasp.

      Very pleased you feel included and happy to support you. I am better for having you in my circle 🙂

      love,
      Linda

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