A Book To Consider "World Enough an Time On Creativity and Slowing Down" by Christian McEwen
My book reviews are generally posted on my book blog, Books By The Willow Tree, but I really thought that this particular book deserved to be mentioned here.
My dear friend, Janet, gifted me with this book for the holiday. She could not have chosen a more perfect gift! I began to read it as soon as I opened it and, having the luxury of time alone this Christmas, I spent the best part of the day reading it. It's been an inspiration for me, and I think that many of you might also benefit from reading it.
Most of the creative people that I know experience times when the muse flees the mental coop, leaving us brooding about "what now"? We wonder if this will be a short hiatus from our internal creative dialog or if, a paralyzing thought, the muse has left us on a more permanent basis? Who are we if not one with our muse? I have personally found that more I give in to these thoughts, the more ludicrous and self-perpetuating these ill-boding fantasies become. I have learned to accept, as benevolently as possible, these fallow times as a gift. A pause, if you will, in my internal need for accomplishment.
This is an important book! Important for all human beings - not just those of us who aspire to create.
This is a book in which author, poet, teacher, Christian McEwen applauds the pauses, the fallow times, the quiet, and the stillness. The book hails the mindfulness of those who take note of the world around them, who can open their eyes and absorb the sounds that exist even in 'silence'. It gives a nod to slowness and reflection, it provides a relief filled bow to an appreciation for the stillness that can lead us to lead a more healthy, fulfilled life. Indeed, it is these slow times that can leave us more inspired rather than less so. For expressives it goes a long way to clarify why these untilled periods that we all experience in our creative lives, when the muse seems to have taken flight, are actually opportunities to dwell within and reflect, to recharge and to slow down and appreciate what 'is'.
I had been feeling that I was not producing enough art work and that I should be working faster and more efficiently. In short, I felt that I was floundering just a bit. In the back of my mind I also acknowledged that I seem to be uniquely suited to retirement. I treasure my first morning hours now when I sit and read, taking the time to 'really' read, to makes notes, to study the history books that I enjoy so much. Also, I have a lot of interests and my days are almost never dull. I just kept feeling that I needed to go faster, even though I really did not want to!
In retrospect I think that those weeks of slight worry were symptomatic of my "monkey mind" at work and also, possibly, a part of the whole internal process of retiring. I do believe that there are stages that one goes through when you leave your work of many years and bid adieu to your 'work family'. It's a loss in a way, and because of that perhaps a bit of mourning comes into play. I was giddy for the first couple of months, giggling to myself over the wee bit of luscious lazy that I continue to luxuriate in each morning as I read away an hour or two. Occasionally, truth be told, I do experience a sporadic bit of fear over the future of my finances, and for me, the occasional, yet insistent thought that I must put forth some additional effort into being more social. Yes, I have to admit that human contact is a necessary thing. Hitherto, my 'work family' filled that social need for me, but now I will have search for that connection a bit further afield. As a true introvert this is not really much an issue for me most of the time.
"World Enough & Time" has become a powerful ally for me. It gives credence to my inner beliefs that 'slow' = 'good', rather than slothfulness. I am savoring my slowness to it's fullest at this point in time. I am at peace with my life as it is and my 'word' for 2014 is going to be 'savor', or if I were to choose a New Year's phrase it might be "savor life in the slow lane".
" World Enough and Time" is available on Amazon, as a book or e-book and, as always, your Indie bookstore would, I am sure, be most happy to provide you with a copy!