September 23, 2009

Inspiration and the forms in which it comes

I have always needed a lot of attention.

I didn't get a lot of it from my parents, but my grandpas--whenever I visited--lavished me with it. I soaked it up like a thirsty plant. Time, affection, love: I couldn't get enough.

When I couldn't get my needs met from others, I found ways to make do and meet them myself. I would tuck myself in bed, wrap my arms around myself in a tight hug, shower my hand with kisses and pat them all over my face, and murmur night-time endearments to myself: "Good night, sweet girl. I love you so much. I love you more than anything in the world. You're my baby; you're my sweetheart. Good night."

These intense needs are cute and endearing in a little kid, but not so much in a grown woman--especially in a grown woman who doesn't always know how to ask for what she wants and needs.

As an adult I have found that this need has a profound effect on me. Attention and affection--or the lack thereof--have dramatic effects on my writing, inspiration, and creativity and the forms which they take. It profoundly affects my mood which is, at best, tenuous. It is also surprisingly easy to confuse sex with the attention that I crave. I have worked hard to be conscious of these distinctions and to learn to better distinguish when I need one or the other. Or both.

I still hoard attention when I can get it. I try to store it up and allow myself to savor the memories of it during dry spells however long or short they may be. Lately I luxuriate in it whenever I can, and I am starting to feel writing inspiration coming to me. It's still a bit elusive--like fireflies heading up, up, and just beyond my reach. But I keep jumping and swatting at the air, trying to bring them down to me.

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