Posted by Kelli Joan Bennett
Day 366: Doing something daily—unless it’s brushing your teeth, going to the bathroom or eating—is surprisingly not so easy to do or to keep up. Therefore, I must quote Bluto from Animal House, “holy shith!” I did it. I never missed a day! I may not have accomplished any of my actual goals in my yearlong experiment in prolific creativity but I did accomplish writing a report about my experience thinking outside the box inside the box and creating from what I had every freaking day. Granted, there was one day when I only wrote 3 words. But still. To quote Carl from Caddyshack, “So, I got that going for me.” Woo hoo!
I’m not sure if being hyper aware of each and every day made the year go slower or faster—sometimes it felt like one and then the other—but right now, at the end, it feels like it went by in the blink of any eye. I can’t believe I’ve reached Day 366! I can’t believe 2013 has arrived. I can’t believe I’m only just now about to make one, not three, of my films. But in spite of that reality, I can’t believe what an incredibly expansive year this has been—personally, professionally, spiritually. What, exactly, have I gained or lost, or learned—about my self, my beliefs, my relationships, my dreams—from this yearlong experiment in prolific creativity? I wish I had an eloquent answer. I wish I had clarity. I wish I had perspective. But, I don’t. Not really, not yet.
I do feel I have gained another layer of consciousness around the fact that life is short. And it gets shorter and goes faster with every passing day, every passing month, every passing year—whether you’re tracking them and writing about them or not. Life is precious. It’s unpredictable. It’s one hell of a ride. It scares me, it exhilarates me, it humbles me. And, it’s always exactly what I make of it regardless of where I am or what I have—or don’t have—to create from.
Another thing that is crystal to me after a year of this experiment is that “thinking outside the box inside the box” and creating from wherever I am with whatever I have at any given moment is not as easy as the “sound bite” makes it sound! I don’t always like where I am, nor do I always like what I have—from the bank balance to the emotional balance. It takes effort, it takes energy, it takes creativity to create anything, to get out of my own way, to shift my thinking, to believe, to love, to not give in to bone shaking fear. It’s much easier to medicate, to hide, to stand by and judge others instead of putting myself out there to be judged. Bottom line, it takes guts to constantly create from what I have. Guts I don’t always have—guts I don’t often have. Many days I just want to bitch and watch reality TV. Some days I don’t have the energy to make the effort to be creative, yet, I somehow manage to “create” turning on the TV. I manage to “create” the shitty words of complaining that pour out of my mouth. Even when I think I’m not creating, I still am. It’s just not terribly positive.
So, what does it all mean? Honestly? I have no clue! I lost count of the gut wrenching moments, days and even weeks of sheer terror I felt off and on over the last 365 days as I put myself out into the world in a bigger and broader way. Often the fearful moments outweighed the moments of Zen and joy and fun. But the flashes of pure peace and love and bliss were bright and incredible. Although, I’m not going to lie, I’m wracked with some serious fear and anxiety as I look over the edge of the jaw dropping cliff I’m about to jump off of in a mere 14 days on January 14th, our first day of shooting for film project number one. But I know that I can’t stop. If I stop creating, I stop living. And I want to continue doing both.
Perhaps that’s the simple perspective I have in this moment: I must create from it all—the uncertainty, the knowing, the doubt, the fear, the ugliness, the anxiety, the beauty, the age, the pain, the love, the spam, the inconsistencies, the light, the dark, the drama, the failure, the success, the ambivalence, the passion—for as long as I’m conscious and breathing.
And conscious and breathing I am, this morning! It’s sunny and cold outside. Uh-Mazing Romantic Partner informs me there’s a patch of ice on our back patio. “We’re going to freeze making this movie,” I reply. But, we’re going to make it. In the New Year. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to start creating 2013.
Until tomorrow, create from what you have….a New Year.