There's something due any day;
I will know right away,
Soon as it shows.
It may come cannonballing down through the sky,
Gleam in its eye,
Bright as a rose.
Tony, West Side Story, Something's Coming
Uh, yeah. I am a total dork.
I was corresponding with a friend yesterday and we were reminiscing about some powerful memories from the past - back when we were in our 20s - back when there was only hope and promise and potential.
I have long been a sucker for hope. In fact, I wrote an entire play about it. My favorite book in the world is The Great Gatsby and the passage I underlined and highlighted and asterisked during my many readings of the novel describes Gatsby as follows:
"If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, it was as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of "creative temperament" -- it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again."
So I've been working on discerning between the sort of magical thinking that is keeping me stuck (or might put me in some Gatsby-esque peril) and that which is productive, creative and fertile.
How do I do it? First, I try to make sure that the things I yearn for are actionable. Can I actually do something to try to make it happen? Am I willing to make those steps?
Second, and more important, is what happens on the other end of my query. Am I getting feedback? Are my calls being returned? Does the object of my affection and attention, whether romantic or creative or professional, want to play with me? If not, I regroup and reroute. I try to be unafraid to put myself out there AND to listen to and feel whether energy is being returned or if I am calling into the void.
A more simple explanation of this method is to decide whether my hopeful notion falls into the "George Clooney can be my boyfriend!" or "I can write a novel if I just try" category. Guess which one has proven to be more productive for me.