I just finished the first draft of my second book Nothing Will Come of Nothing and as I labored over the last 10,000 words or so I couldn’t not think of the extraordinary strong pressure to give up. So close and yet at no other moments did I feel like giving up until the end. ‘You gave it your best try,’ ‘You can come back to it later,’ or ‘Nobody will read it anyway so why bother finishing,’ I told myself. But why did all of this have to come at the end? Why not at the beginning when I was scribbling down the amazing themes and metaphors I would incorporate or in the very middle of typing it out at 5:30 in the morning when I should have been sleeping? I know the answer, but not completely in a way that I know it when it happens or have the will to overcome it when it slaps me in the face and leaves my brain in a blank daze.
Although these moments come harder than a slap in the face sometimes and are really like a jolt of electricity to your chest that freezes everything. In that state of helplessness I want to find the easiest course away from that block and that means carelessly falling on the whims of outside influences: CLICK TO SEE HOW THE RICH USE CREDIT CARDS, EVERYTHING IS NOT AWESOME WITH THE OSCARS (The Lego Movie was totally robbed), MOST BEAUTIFUL ABANDONED PLACES. But I know about these obstacles and should know how to shock myself out of their influence and move on. Most instances I don’t and then I see how much time has passed and the amount of work I could have completed in that time if I would just wake up out of the cardiac lull. Eventually my eyes peak open enough to get started again, but returning to that wide-eyed state where thoughts flow free and bright in their journey from mind to computer is long in coming especially towards the end of creating art.
So what is the knowledge that I’ve been teasing out as the fix that’s easier said than done? Well it’s complicated. The most modern form that I know of is in Gurdjieff’s teachings. He describes the process of starts and stops that accompany everything, and most importantly in creating something, as the Ray of Creation.
You’ll notice the eight symbols follow the law of an octave do, re, mi, fa, so, la, si, do. The information and knowledge isn’t solely Gurdjieff’s. It can be traced to Plato in book X of The Republic, the Pythagoreans, and many others. Now I don’t plan to explain all the parts and possibilities of using this understanding, only the one I had such a tremendous time getting through recently with the completion of my first draft. According to this, and I’ve felt it before not just in my writing, the most difficult point to ascend in this chain of creation is moving from si to the second do. Others see it too and try to word it poetically like ‘It’s always darkest before the dawn,’ but truly finding the strength of will to move past the dark or si stage into the dawn or do stage is soul wrenching. Everything works against you at this point and everything seems to need to fall into a beautiful order before you’re granted permission to move forward. And even with that permission there is work, actual, metaphysical back breaking work needed to step out in the sun with a complete manuscript that eagerly awaits your next step onto the octave to start again at the bottom with rewrites.