Creative Conversion - Or, "When I Get My Hands on You, I'm Going to Kill You, Blob"

Monday, 27 July 2009

Conversion is a process of disenchantment with our small, separate self, recognizing how truly afraid and insecure it is. The only way people can ever be freed from this fear and this insecurity is to be freed from themselves. There is almost a complete correlation between the amount of fear in one’s life and the amount of attachment we have to ourselves and our own agenda.

The person who is beyond fear has given up the need to control or possess or be right. Their being is grounded in the Being of God. As St. Francis of Assisi said, “I am who I am in God's eyes—nothing more, but nothing less.” A truly converted/transformed person does not need to impress anyone because they know that they are not who you think they are anyway—or even who they themselves think they are! Thinking one way or another doesn’t make it so.

That's what St. Paul meant when he so shockingly said: “You have died, you're dead” (Romans 6:3-5) when you are truly baptized into the death of the false self—the self that you don’t need anyway. Conversion happens when you finally face the real enemy, and guess what? It's you!

Richard Rohr

Yeah and ow. This life growing into ourselves thing is sure painful, ain't it? How difficult it is to grow into what we already are in some respects. I'm feeling this on the creativity spectrum most acutely at the moment. Creatively, I feel like a very small child doing very shitty creative things. I am judging myself, criticising myself, stopping myself from writing. I am screaming at myself to stop doing this pottery class because it is dangerous to be out in public amongst peers doing things I'm technically crap at. It is no coincidence that the day after the most recent class I came down with a mild tonsillitis/bronchitis combo.

Occasionally I see it - how it is when the watcher is away from the gates of my mind - the writing that comes up out of me, that takes me by surprise upon rereading because it's got a lyricism to it, a wholeness. It's actually pretty good, even if I do say so myself. I can tell from 20 paces when I'm writing from the guts. It's about 100 times better than when I'm not. There is a feeling to it that feels so fresh and warm and just-baked-breadlike, regardless of the actual content. It is what comes out of me.

Acknowledging this watcher at the gates is one thing. Believing that it is something that can be either killed, or at least lassoed and told to sit down and shut up until draft time is quite another thing. Living life, going forward, is a terror and a joy and a faith because we have absolutely nothing except the blind faith and the blind hope that we are moving towards anything at all. I have no guarantee, except from those people around me who assure me over and over again about my growth. It is the watcher who jumps up and says I'm not growing, that everything I do is crappy. It is abjectly, completely and utterly terrified of me failing in any way whatsoever and to be honest, dear blogger, that's not enough for me to back down from this ongoing commitment to, if not kill it, at least let it know who's boss.

So yesterday I wrote a couple of pages, in amongst the sore throat and the congested chest that have been keeping me inside, sort of half enjoying the respite from the rest of the world. This morning when I woke up and I thought about that piece of writing the same old same old thoughts came to me. Not so much that it's bad, because it's not. No, it's more insidious than that. It just flat out tells me that I can't finish it. That I've run out of steam. That it's not possible for me to finish anything I start because look at the trail of evidence behind me. Half finished stories in folders in filing cabinets are testament to the fact that it is not possible for me to finish anything.

That feeling feels so real. And so it is with a very tiny-voiced part of myself that I say here that that feeling is just not true. It's you, Blob, doing your thing. Watching at my gates. Trying to keep me safe. I've been very aware over the past several years of my propensity to talk about creative beginnings at the beginning, and thus kill off whatever was beginning there. It's been one of Blob's more interesting ways of stopping me from finishing anything. But I'm onto that one now. I'm much more willing these days to keep my stuff to myself, where it belongs, fermenting, than to spew it out and talk about it and kill it off. So I'm onto you, Blob. You know that, don'tcha. I'm sure it's scaring the shit out of you. It's scaring the shit out of me, too, but I'm onto you and I'm doing everything I can to start learning how to lasso or kill you for my benefit, not yours.

Oh, and while we're here - I'm going to the pottery course until the end, so try whatever you want to try to stop me from going, but you're not the boss of me.

Or so they tell me :)


(Last point in a typically way too long post: some people say the watcher must be killed. Some say it can be harnessed to its rightful place in the 3rd draft, or whatever. I wonder if people are talking about two separate things here? The watcher as a personality trait as a bit more pathologically different than an overactive internal critic? Perhaps the more pathological a watcher is, the stronger the medicine needs to be. Dynamite, as adverse to lassoing. I welcome your thoughts on that one, if you know anything about watchers at the gate :)


  1. woah, I just finished posting a rather oblique reference to this very thing... and pop in here to find you qouting Rohr, the transformed person does not need to impress anyone because they know that they are not who you think they are anyway—or even who they themselves think they are

    sue, it's simply awesome that you feel like a small child doing shitty creative things, it means you are entering the kingdom :)

    call the watchers bluff and make a clay sculpture of him, then when he's all dry, smash him to smithereens

  2. I would have thought entering into the kingdom would feel more joyful and less shatterful, but anyway, it is processural is it not :)

    I love that idea of making a clay sculpture of the watcher. I'm actually wondering if the mask I first did with Maggie is not him

    I always thought this mask was a projection of my fears. Perhaps it is indeed the watcher. Maybe it's hung on my wall for long enough and smashing it to smithereens is a time that's a'coming :) Whee :)

  3. entering into the kingdom is a time of transition, which is always painful or uncomfortable - stick with it girl, this childlike (not childish) creativity, it's worth it all

    oh, i thought hootie wilbur was snuffling for good stuff with his big nostrils...

  4. You're so right. I'm just being ULTRA critical about myself at the moment, it's HORRIBLE!!

    (But sometimes I think that there are times when these things are highlighted to ourselves extra strongly because they're in the process of being dismantled, in that strange mystical way that seems to happen sometimes. I can't describe it - you know when you look back and realise that you have changed in a certain area and you can't pinpoint it happening? I love those times - they feel like divine cooperation, God doing amazing things away behind the scenes of our souls :)

    Regarding self criticism and vulnerability, I've been saying out loud things like, "It's fine that I'm doing this clay course and I'm not technically very good at it. Really, it's true! I don't need to be. It's fine. Really!" sounding like a loony, but the self talk really does help :) It feels transforming, capturing these thoughts and wrestling them. They like to make us think they're bigger than they really are, don't they.

    Yes, it's funny after I posted about Hootie Wilbur I read my comments on him and now I'm really unsure because it sounded really positive. Now it's all rather confusing really. I guess he can stay ... i'll make somethin' else to smash :)

  5. Hmm.... I think for me, the Watcher is more the voice of my parents than anything. And as such, needs to be silenced and evicted....

  6. I never know what to say in your comments. Another great post that makes me think.

  7. KG - yes, that's where mine comes from as well. I guess you're right. Funny, I feel resistant to killing it. Suppose it's a security of sorts, isn't it.

    Help us, Papa.

    Barbara - thank you kindly, honey bunny


Newer Older