Double D Demons

Tarot Cards Lovers VI and Devil XIII

Both the Lovers and the Captives of the Devil have a choice to make, freeing themselves or choosing to be together. If the artist frees herself from the chains of doubt and opens to the dance of discipline, she can again find the love of the muse.

No, this is not about my foundation garments, though that applies too, shaping my world view over the years–a post for another time.

As I’ve been exploring the inner demons of my antagonist character, I’ve come into awareness of my main demons: Doubt and Discipline.

Many creative people have periods of doubt: Am I wasting my time? Do I have any talent? Is it really worth the effort? Much of this is fueled by the cultural view that creative people are somehow alien to the norm. This is not so, other than creatives have not allowed the culture to completely stifle and subsume the creative impulse into some hobby or socially acceptable activity: gardening, entertaining guests, clothing, and so forth, all wonderfully creative activities.

But for those who are irrevocably called to bring forth from their inner selves some form of art that requires the discipline of skill as well as talent (visual art, dance, music, writing), which may never be rewarded with endorsement contracts, it is easy to doubt that rowing upstream is the right path. for one thing, since the Romantic era of the 1800s, the artist has been seen as a lonely soul both  soothed and ravaged by the muse, rather than as a skilled craftsman, worthy of hire and patronage.

Doubt creeps in, especially when the muse is having a bad hair day, or is not being forthcoming.

But there’s a reason the muse may withhold: she–all the muses were women–expects to be courted, appeased, paid attention to, on a regular basis. That’s called Discipline. For me that is a demon, though it is also the angel.

The artist is a disciple to the muse, which in modern psychological parlance might be called the Collective Unconscious. Any network administrator knows that the computers must keep in touch with each other constantly to keep the network connected, though the user at the workstation is clueless about the frenetic activity on the other end of the thick blue cord.

So the other demon, the archenemy of the free spirit, the drunken writer, the dissolute artist, the drugged rocker, is Discipline. Gustave Flaubert, French writer of the late 1800s, put it perfectly (translated): “Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

Scales must be played, brushes cleaned, manuscripts submitted, but so also must baths be taken, nutritious food prepared and eaten, along with getting a reasonable amount of sleep. It’s hard to be creative when I have to be careful walking through my house so I don’t trip over something, and not looking at dirty dishes blocks creative thought.

When much of my energy is spent in denial of the mess around me, turning my awareness away from it, I can’t use that energy to connect to the Unconscious and mine its jewels.

So along with changing my eating habits (everyone has some kind of diet even if it is Snickers and Diet Coke), I’m working to regulate my life like a bourgeois (I have often aspired to being middle class). Better food, more exercise, better sleep, chores done, not for any sense of being a good girl or pleasing someone, these disciplines support my role as a professional writer.

I don’t have the energy to doubt my purpose in life, and a modicum of discipline is the only way I can get there. That’s what the Ultimate Blog Challenge is about. Now to figure out what Mama Bear’s inner demons are.

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4 Responses to Double D Demons

  1. Ah, the truth…nothing but the truth 🙂 Makes me think about my own double d’s.

    You weave words so gracefully well, Charlotte. It’s difficult not to stop and read your thoughts.

    Good luck with the UBC!

  2. This is a wonderful post for the new year. I really need to work on disipline this year.

    • Charlotte Henley Babb says:

      Don’t we all? After some life coaching, I finally realized that I needed to take care of myself, and not worry about what my mom thinks…or doesn’t think about the state of my house. After all, _I_ live there all the time. She doesn’t.