Posted by Kelli Joan Bennett
Day 314 Year 2:
Birth. Buuuuuuurrrrrrrth. The word itself sounds deep and meaningful and existential. That’s because it is! It’s everything. Here’s a definition from my Microsoft Word Reference Tools Dictionary:Birth (verb): ( to give birth) 1. To produce a child or young from the womb; 2. To originate or be responsible for creating something.
Birth is creation. Without it nothing would exist.
It was a week of births! Three of them to be exact—my favorite number.
1. I was born this past week. Thanks Mom and Dad!
2. Ridiculously Generous, Amazingly Talented and Very Successful Actress Friend had her baby on my birthday—three weeks early! Best surprise b-day gift ever.
3. I gave birth yesterday.
No, a baby did not come forth from my loins but a “first-words on paper” draft of my screenplay finally flew out of my fingers. Woo hoo! Well, not the whole script in one day. On November 3rd, the day after a pre-birthday emotional crisis, it hit me what I wanted for my birthday this year: a draft of my script! A birthday gift to me from me.
I began on Monday, November 4th, with 24 pages I really liked and a jumbled mess of notes. I got to work. I wrote all day every day except one, which I only wrote a half-day so I could get some post-b-day pampering. When I got stuck I went for a walk or a bike ride then came back and kept going. When I started to worry what I was writing was a load of crap I ignored my insecurity and kept going. When I was sure what I was writing was total shit, I rewrote it and kept going. By 6:03pm, November 9th, I had 85 pages and a “Fade out.” NaNoWriMo, what? More like NaYesWriWeek, yo!
The gestation period to reach this nascent draft was 28 months. The spark for it struck me back in July of 2011. I started working on it when I was in New York for three weeks in August 2011. (That was the trip when the whole concept for my company and my Yearlong Experiment In Prolific Creativity was born as well.) The story is inspired by my experiences during 2010—AKA the most difficult, heart crushing year of my life. Needless to say, it’s personal. The most personal thing I’ve ever written. And, it is the most personal thing I have ever set out to produce.
So, to review…this happened: a literal birth on my day of birth during the birth of my screenplay. The latter I plan to birth into a shooting script which I will then birth again into a film in 2014. That’s a whole lot of birthing going on!
This is where I would normally make a joke about being “scared shitless of labor pains” or “WTF, I don’t know nothin’ bout birthin’ no babies” or “where’s my tooth?” Not this time. Not that I plan to be a humorless grump from this point forward. I’m just going to try something else during this next solar return. I’m starting a new experiment—a year of creating from what I have but not indulging in insecurity, fear, doubt or the three C’s—comparing, competing and complaining—while I do it.
“Impossible,” you cry! I’m not saying these things won’t come up, won’t try to take over and won’t be a pesky fly buzzing around my shit. Trust me, I know they will. Lived it. All I’m suggesting is that when they show up and they are felt, suggested, or offered to me (by me or someone else), this go round I will not indulge in them. I’ll get out the fly swatter, say, “No thank you, I’ll pass,” and then SPLAT.
I’m a natural born indulger—sweets, sex, alcohol, Netflix—I went 26 straight hours with no sleep watching The Walking Dead seasons one and two once. (Worth it!) I have had to cut back, stop over-indulging in and even completely abstain from certain foods, booze, and behavior over the years because for one reason or another they were toxic or harmful to my body at that time.“No, I won’t eat an entire pecan pie this Thanksgiving, I’ll pass.” “No, I won’t indulge in an entire bottle of champagne by myself this New Year’s eve, I’ll pass.” “No, I won’t fuck you even though I’m drunk, lonely and horny and you look disease free in this light, I’ll pass”
If I can (not always but often) say “no” to what’s bad for my body, what’s so impossible about choosing not to indulge in and give birth to things that are toxic to my mind and emotional wellbeing, which in turn harms my productivity, my creativity, my heart, and my soul? I posit that it is the same concept and therefore, it is possible to do if given the same effort, work and discipline. Of course, I won’t have empirical evidence that it’s possible to not indulge in my own or others’ fears, insecurities, doubts, comparing, competing or complaining (or what that even means, looks like, or feels like) until I test the theory. So, of course, here I go!
To my brave new life and consciously creating what is born from it.
Until tomorrow, create from what you have…things to birth.