“Who is better off? The one who writes to revel in the voluptuousness of the life that surrounds them? Or the one who writes to escape the tediousness of that which awaits them outside? Whose flame will last longer?”
I wish I could say I am in the first category. Those paragons of joy sip chai spice lattes in underground cafes, swathed in elegant scarves. Their words become literature, and woodland creatures prance behind them in an eternal parade of celebration and blessing.
The second category (that’s me) hunker down in our caves, cursing the weather because it’s too cold for the ink in our pen. We would have brought a pencil along, but we couldn’t because someone ripped off all the erasers out of curiosity. Our words are the one sparkler in the box that would not light.
As always, the answer lies in the middle, because we are probably all both categories at one point or another. Maybe we swap back and forth, depending on the day, the weather, whose banana had the big black spot on the end and whose was perfect all the way through. But it’s the lifelong vision I feel this author refers to. I choose to believe that life is a gift and fall on the side of gratefulness as much as I can.
Therefore, it is folly to consider life a tediousness from which I must escape. Little bits of life may be tedious or odious or obnoxious, but in general, when I stop fretting about my woes, I am grateful.
In the same way, we shouldn’t despair if the life that surrounds us is not voluptuous in the least! It’s hardest when you maybe used to have a lush, vibrant life and you don’t anymore. Or if your first attempts at art really were inspired by a flight of desire, love, elation or triumph but maybe now you’re in a daily grind and feel like your efforts don’t count if you are not reveling? If you have a basecoat of gratefulness, though, you shouldn’t feel like a fraud if things aren’t like they used to be.
I think the one whose flame will last longer is the one who knows the source of fuel will never run dry. That we are filled and can yet experience a continual refilling. That when our cup is half full, we rejoice and when it is half empty, we finish the glass and get another one.
And if you cannot fill your cup, hold it out, and I will fill it for you, or I’ll find someone who will. So there.