ANTEVASIN

Yes, I’m reading Eat, Pray, Love.
“Antevasin-  In ancient times this was a literal description. It indicated a person who had left the bustling center of worldly life to go live at the edge of the forest where the spiritual masters dwelled. The antevasin was not one of the villagers anymore—not a householder with a conventional life. But neither was he yet a transcendent—not one of those sages who live deep in the unexplored woods, fully realized. The antevasin was an in-betweener. He was a border-dweller. He lived in sight of both worlds, but he looked toward the unknown. And he was a scholar.”

“I’ve spent so much time these last years wondering what I’m supposed to be. A wife? A mother? A lover? A celibate? An Italian? A glutton? A traveler? An artist? A Yogi? But I’m not any of these things, at least not completely. And I’m not Crazy Aunt Liz, either. I’m just a slippery antevasin—betwixt and between—a student on the ever-shifting border near the wonderful, scary forest of the new.”

The book I started and interrupted and am now continuing- right after finishing the entire Earthsea series.
And before that- the Heroine’s Journey and Aria. In the meanwhile, as I watch Avatar- the last Airbender, I write.

Reading back my journals of 2014 was interesting.

For one, my own tendency as I read to turn an entire year into broad trends. But I guess that’s part of what you do at the end? Create chapters?
With broad trends as well as the little details.

I’ve looked back enough- relevant here is that in November, after my back went again and I decided the book ought to have yet another major change, I decided to give up my strict writing schedule and goal of making X amount of money at date X.
It was an incredibly hard, strict schedule (not the writing hours, which I think are good, as much as everything else. The deadlines, the website, the promotion.)

For one, I have too much to learn writing wise to be able to produce so quickly, like my role models in this format. I still need to take my time, I feel, to experiment and change and not worry about money or newsletter sign ups yet.

I like to believe I could have gone that path- and produced as I had planned, or close to it. But it wasn’t for me. Not yet, perhaps.

Mainly, it didn’t make me happy. It didn’t make me enjoy writing. Not that I mind sitting down and working through periods when the holy Muzes honour me with their presence. It was more that I didn’t enjoy almost any part of it, didn’t feel in tune with what I loved about writing. It was becoming about managing deadlines and such.

Perhaps that would have changed with more pursuit and more success, but seeing how far I still had to come and how thin I was spreading myself, I think I needed to address that tendency instead.

So, next to writing the last few months have become a soul searching in others ways. Recognition that all this is part of the journey, recognition of how hard it is and that I simply want to enjoy these steps as well.
I don’t mind sacrifice, but I’m not good enough at enjoying what I have. I’m not good enough at Being-

All I have is Doing, it seems sometimes.

I always see despair at the question: Then What?

You achieve your goal, Then What?

Well, Now This.

I don’t really know what 2015 will bring- I have things I will pursue, such as a job in Amsterdam. So work, time among my friends, peers and more. As well as time to write, which is just such a part of me and I feel growth. When I actually let go and take a step back, I feel growth.

But I need to let go sometimes too.

2015 for me is about stepping onto that other Journey, the Feminine one. The one about Being, that’s hard in that it’s a continual path even more than an epic battle.

I’m looking forward to it.

Idiocy

So… I think I may be an idiot of a writer and person.

Or more than an idiot. Someone who just doesn’t seem to learn.

Once again I started focusing on enjoyment, the fun of writing.

Until I realized I MIGHT just get a beta version with all the changes done before the 31st. Now, it’s several days later of working till late at night, not working out, not really doing anything to enjoy myself- not even reading!

Sigh. I guess this is one of the Monsters in the Feminine Journey? One that keeps coming back, unlike the Masculine ones whose head you chop off.

The worst part is- WHY AM I PUSHING TOO HARD AGAIN?

I have no real hurry- I just want do get it DONE now, which is the WORST way to write. I’m draining myself, the fun out of writing for WHAT? Yes, it would be easier for my friends/beta readers to read in the Christmas break.

Also, I’m not even sure I could make it. I’d have another week- but it’s the Christmas break week, so I’d be gone for Christmas day as well as New Year’s.

UGH!

 

Review: the Mistborn Trilogy

“Finally.”

Just read the last word of the the last page of the Mistborn Trilogy, by Brandon Sanderson, mere moments ago.

What a great book, what a great series. I’m just very happy for having read it.

Incredible how the author links events mentioned hundreds of pages apart, and they all make sense at the end.
I can’t begin to fathom how he made it all work, how he thought of these things and kept track of them as he went on.

Epic how it started from the smallest of the small, a thief in squalor and dangerous circumstances, and the scale just kept growing and growing yet never felt unbelievable. It was logical, it flowed.

Writing wise, so impressed how the author kept telling and explaining without it feeling too repetitive or too invasive.

How he mixed this epic action, and an original magic system and so much detail- with such real characters, I wanted to be there, to see them.

I loved the mysteries too, there was always a riddle to be solved. One that I felt invested in, that kept me guessing over and over.

Wow.

That was one impressive ride.

It’s also very much rounded off- almost too much so. The events have happened, prophesies are explained. The interesting, dramatic part is done.

I don’t feel like I’d be interested in reading more. I won’t give away too much, it’s good like this.

Still, I’ll leave the book open- just because I don’t want to close it behind me yet.

 

 

 

Feminine Journey: the thick plottens

Warning: slightly blown mind at the keyboard right now

you’ve never been a teenage boy?

So, still searching for anything to crack this nut- this block of… why do I suck at just Being and accepting, why is my writing faltering and what is it with Masculinity and Femininity?  – I happened upon this one, random (European) comic I still had.

I opened it because it’s about Aria, who, from the first time I saw her, became my ideal representation of a woman.- and Masculine & Feminine is obviously a key part of what’s going on.

I first read Aria in my early teens, and fell in love- she is wild, mysterious, deeply independent, beautiful, sexually aware, spontaneous, always picking up adventure, intuitive and sensitive.

The archetypal Female, the Goddess- you name it.

Anyway , I don’t know where any of my old comics are, there’s only this one and it is just insanely, blatantly relevant; like the Universe isn’t even trying to hide its “coincidences” (life is more fun with fun interpretations). Check it out:

Aria is found hiding, from being the guest of honour at a celebration of her exploits.
Here’s a transcript of what they character says, on the first pages:

Part of the scene, in French

“I’ve been exploring and travelling in this amazing, beautiful world for many years. I’ve seen mythical animals, mutants and extraordinary beings, but also monsters. 

I’ve destroyed enemies and saved a people from tyranny.

Death was close at all times, I felt aware and was present in every moment and then suddenly… nothing. 

Comfort, rest, safety and no more enemies, no more challenges. 

I feel lost. The emptiness frightens me, like my life has stopped moving again.”

Yeah… that sounds familiar. Thanks Universe! To hell with subtlety!

So, what happens next?

(I’m stopping to type)

Her gifted son investigates and says:

it’s more than the reverberance of your adventures. A trauma. From your childhood. As long as you’re in action, it barely manifests itself.”

Aria answers:

Would that explain my hunger for adventure? To avoid conflict with the trauma? Sounds possible.” 

(Ok, reading on now, but let’s just roll with this. Either consider this some kind of subconscious association of mine, or a Coincidence, or whatever you want- I’m intrigued.)

Aria just leaves, after she finds something from her youth while she’s struggling for answers
(just like me now, my comic!).

She finds a wizard/witch of undetermined gender who asks Aria what her problem is.

She says: “I am choked up, I can’t find the words.

(again, like me!)

Aria is asked to draw- a snake, onto a large piece of paper. So she does.

(That’s it! I’m grabbing a piece of paper- and a drink)

(Woohoo! my Snake’s done! – I read ahead though, and knew what it was supposed to mean)

The witch or wizard takes Aria’s drawing and says: “The snake speaks for itself, it tells the tale of your life from birth.”

(hey,  I feel weird enough about writing this- so spare me your imaginary groans of incredulousness and your imaginary eye-rolling, you imaginary reader)

The wizard/witch then says: “now clean up, you’ve made a mess.

weyland-michel-aria[1](Allright, I did actually manage to make a mess of myself drawing. Going to shower, and let this drink sink in…)

(… ok! Back. Clean. And drink has taken the edge off- Moving on.)

Aria is told she will travel back through time- in her mind.

She puts a lot of “special logs” on the fireplace. It will send her back without losing clarity.

(Hmmm, hallucinogens? I don’t really do drugs other than alcohol. I guess I could sniff glue? Or paint thinner! I have that. What a great idea!)

(For now, let’s just go with a mild alcoholic buzz + the caffeine of Pepsi, and see what happens. I’ll put my feet against the central heater, that’s a modern fireplace…)

Next, Aria travels back in time- to her earliest memories, and her childhood home.

(The latter is surprisingly easy for me, since I was born in the room one story down)

Aria sees her parents, like they were many years ago.

(I can do that, not hard to imagine)

Aria sees herself.

(I can do that too! Little pudgy me, big floppy hair, always eating, shy- Check)

Aria goes back and sees her family, including herself, fleeing from invaders/bad people. Her traumatic moment.

(Hmmm. I guess I can see myself on the playground, standing there, seeing other kids run. It’s a strangely warm winter day and it was the moment that I thought- life will never be anything. It will just get worse, more of my time taken away by school and homework, and then work and other obligations and then retirement. I resisted going to school every single day, resisted doing homework- driving my mother to tears. I saw no purpose, no goal for it and anything else)

(Or, I can see myself in my room, sitting, very young, and even older, sitting and hoping for an Out- out of this world. To a physical world that is different, a world of Adventure. I was physically looking for a an actual gateway, like in films and books. Desperately hoping to get out of this slow moving nothingness that was regular Life

So what caused that?

I was always behind, I was smart but things from tying my shoes to riding a bike, to later drinking, going out, girls- years behind.

I was afraid of Life. Afraid of getting hurt. Afraid of growing up. Why? Overprotective parenting? Sure. Who hasn’t? But that’s not all, not nearly. Plenty of people have that.

Not the answer I’m looking for, but one thing that came up about writing is my frustration with how the world is. My anger with the injustice and issues of the World. That this needs to be included more in my writing, I remember that the Viscountess actually deals with this very clearly.
Anna’s Frog does not- yet…

Anyway, I felt powerless in the past, maybe I need to at least express this. Not to fix it, but to confront it.

Ok, that’s one thing- going back to the story now)

Aria says she is “powerless” to stop the past from happening again as she witnesses it, so she freaks and demands to leave the illusion/trip.

The Wizard/Witch tells her she founds an abscess in her childhood, her memories. It’s covered in scar tissue that has now been removed, for the first time since it happened. Aria doesn’t want to continue- as she can’t change anything.

Therefore, Aria is given a potion- some form of rose water- to drink.
Nothing special, but the Witch/Wizard says:  “sometimes you need help from outside.”

(I guess I do too, and one thing seems to come forward-  Focusing? Really? This is getting so strange, but here goes!)

To be continued….

The Feminine Journey: More Fear! Right?

While talking about something else, I got a message from G- she said a friend of hers was doing awesome things and I should check it out.

This is what the dude’s front page says:

DO YOU WANT YOUR LIFE DIRECTED BY FEAR?

Photo by Donald MiralleWhen you make decisions (or non-decision) based on your fear of change, failure, inconvenience or experiencing pain, your life becomes very mediocre, directed by this fear. When you stop making fear-based decisions, you begin to live an inspired life. Jeremy provokes you to do everything you have always wanted and to embrace the difficulty getting there.

 

Book that plane ticket, kiss that girl, spill your guts…because your last chance could be right now. Unleash the Adventure. Be who you are meant to be.

Welcome to your life of purpose!

But but… I can do THAT! Maybe not what he did, but I can conquer and overcoming.

I’ve done that. I’m not afraid- ok, well, I am afraid sometimes- but I do them.
I’ve done these types of things, and I’ve given my life purpose, goals and direction.

But here’s the difference, here’s what he says at 1:25-

“climbing that mountain, was just the goal, it didn’t matter, what I experienced underway, what I felt, that’s what’s important.”

Does everyone figure this out?!

How?! Or am I just not pushing hard enough? Or setting the wrong goals?

Listen, most recently, I wrote a book!

That was no small feat either. I quit my job, did all kinds of research, set the circumstances, made the sacrifices and worked, hard. And the first half was enjoyable. It was good, fully in flow. I collaborated with people, beta readers, editors. But then? At some point I was just wearing myself out, doing promo stuff when I wasn’t working, etc. Getting tired and frustrated is fine, part of the process.

Yet I finished the book.
The launch party was great, I celebrated with many friends. But I was nervous- and the next day I didn’t feel any better.

Any Richer?
Well, there were occasions that I felt really good about having written a book, a book I was proud of. There were compliments, etc. But mainly, I was just thinking about sales of the book. About Facebook promotions, all that stuff. After a year of work and sacrifice, I didn’t feel like I had accomplished much at all.

Not to say that I didn’t learn anything. Time wasn’t wasted, not at all.
I’m just saying I need to change the way I look at this, the way I live as a writer- or else the same thing will just happen.

Brings me to this again:

As a writer, one of the most important things you have to learn is that the process of writing is pretty much ALL there is […] you get the most discouraged when you’re overly focused on the finish line. If you view writing as just something taxing to push out of your way each day, your writing often starts to suck or you can’t write at all. And then your piece is published or your book comes out, and nobody gives a shit.

Not even me.
Because I had set the finish line way beyond even writing a book..

It wasn’t writing a book even or learning to write well, or even selling books- it was, make a living off writing. In the next two years.
Books became almost a means to an end.

And why? So I could be a writer and make more books that slowly became a means to an end?

ARGH!!! Why am I so stupid? What am I missing???

So yeah, one part seems clear:

The goals were strong, clearly formulated and, perhaps, achievable.

But, there was/is a tiny issue- only noticeable after a long time (years of working):

I never planned to enjoy, to Be.
Yes, I pictured the ecstasy of achieving my goals: making it as a writer and having a giant party with all my friends to celebrate. I’d make enough money to live off while writing, so I’d have the freedom to go anywhere and spend time with my loved ones.

Would that fulfill and satisfy what I was craving for?
In part, yes. I’d have the means to do things and time to be with my Loved ones.

But beyond that? – Why am I even thinking of a “beyond that?!”
What if you still suck at the every day Living? If there is still something missing, always?

I’d just block that out by working harder- by adding more goals.

GoD-brand-G-06[1]

 

It’s not that growing is bad, of course not. It IS part of life, like, half of it. Being is the other half.

I get that Life (unless you’re Enlightened at the Buddha level) is always a tugging back and forth between Goals and Pursuit versus Being and Accepting.

So, coming full circle in the same argument, again- what I need at this point is not to get better at pursuing Goals, but at Being and Accepting.

I SO fear stagnancy though. Running behind, not achieving my goals. Being a quitter. Losing.

But the goals are just there to make the Road worth it- Right?
“Climbing the Mountain doesn’t matter” – like the guy at the top of the article said?

Then why am I so afraid when I think of just Being?

Walking through my old neighbourhood last night, seeing the houses with people either sleeping or watching tv on their sofas, it occurs to me that I cannot imagine them being happy or fulfilled.

Beyond well, some kind of numb satisfaction.

Oh, I know that’s not true (or fair)- but it’s still what I feel, what I fear.

Like, once you let go of that desire to continually push you, you are well, waiting/passing time.

No real difference between being 30 and watching tv, hanging on the couch of the house you just bought, or being 80 in a retirement home hanging on the couch, right?
It’s either just one or two phases before the grave that you’re sitting out- not learning, not adventuring, no big Goals to achieve.

Yeah, so that’s my irrational, unreasonable view on that.

God. This has to be something incredibly simple that I’m missing.

I’m hitting my head against the same issue over and over again.

You can be happy and content just being- I can too. I’m sure I can.

But…

-but what?

It can’t be that difficult to figure out.

I mean, yes, Being is a life-long process. The Heroine’s Journey book makes this clear.

So, where do you start? What needs to happen?

There’s techniques- but I get lost in techniques.

I just obsess about them, until they become the Goal and then I get frustrated and stressed and put off because I can’t fit enough techniques into my life.
There needs to be something more fundamental, more basic that needs to be figured out.

Can’t just start dating and force myself to hang out with a girlfriend- that much is clear too. Explicitly stated.

So, again, I’m at the point in the Journey where you are “betrayed” by the Masculine side- by the constant Pursuit. This is a key part of life, but it cannot be the only part, blahblahblah.

So, in the metaphor of the Journey-
I’ve packed up my stuff and gathered my tools (i.e. read up for this Journey)
then I said farewell and set out on my Journey (i.e. I let go of my overarching Goal of making X=amount next year) and identified the Monsters on the Road of Trials (I’m figuring out what goes wrong)

So yeah, now what?

This is so…. not tangible!

I can overcome myself to do scary things, and thus face my challenges.

But what do I now? How do I face my fear of Being?! Of stagnancy? Of… not being Enough?

Sit and watch tv? Do something “non-productive” without drinking? Do a pottery class and earth myself for the next year? (I would so just find an intense, live-in course to get it done in 6 weeks), go on a month long silent retreat in a monastery?

What am I missing?