I have had a sci-fi novel brewing in my head since 2005. Recently I started writing it, but I can’t seem to concentrate properly. I have difficulty focusing and making good use of the limited time afforded to me to write my own creative material. When my mind wanders, I drift over to the Internet and check out my favorite cyber-watering-holes. Knowing my tendency to do this, I generally steer clear of any vids that people email me or embed in Facebook posts because watching vids eats up a lot of time. Heck, anything on the Internet eats up a lot of time. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Internet. Many thoughts, inspirations, laughs, communications, and informational bites that have added value to my life have found me via the Internet. Yet, as they say, there are only so many hours in the day. My failure to apply myself to the task of getting this new novel out of my head has me contemplating adjustments I should make to rejuvenate my creative process, and one of them is to spend less time on the Internet.
Now, during the High Holidays, is the perfect time of year for such contemplation. Friday night I participated in Kol Nidre (Yom Kippur Eve) services at our small congregation’s synagogue. During the portion of the service when we specifically seek forgiveness for our transgressions (the Al-Chayt), our rabbi suggested that each person take a moment to “look inside” and identify one area for improvement that we want to especially focus on addressing in the coming year. I have a lot of things I would like to improve about myself, but the one I chose to focus on is not using my gift for words, which I cherish (and am grateful for), to the full extent of my ability.
With this in mind, I thought about changes to make in my life to create more time to write this novel and I thought about changes to make in my life to help me focus better on the task at hand, to prioritize this project and not waste so much valuable time on inessentials. At the deepest point of personal reflection in the Kol Nidre service, I reflected on these things and renewed my commitment to my calling, my profession, the passion of my truest self: using this extraordinary gift of creativity and the ability to shape something beautiful and meaningful with words that has been bestowed upon me. I need to dig deep into the well of my imagination and do the challenging work of crafting something that touches the spirits of others and perhaps has the power to make a difference in someone’s life. Oh creativity, return to me.
As Kol Nidre came to a close, the rabbi pointed to a basket on a table by the door. She said that she had printed out various lines from the Haftorah portion from Isaiah that we would read on Yom Kippur the following day and she had put them into the basket. She invited us to take a slip of paper randomly (without reading it first) from the basket as we left the service to see what it would give us. Perhaps we would receive an insight, a message that meant something to us, embedded in the random snippet from Isaiah. As I exited, I reached into the basket, pulled out a slip of paper, and put it in my pocket. Later, at home, I took out the Isaiah quote that I had pulled and read it.
“You will become like a watered garden, a never ending spring of flowing waters.”