the garden of eden

i am regretting some things tonight. in my half-dazed state i am realizing that i need to get back up on the horse called Writer and ride it like the wind. as September approaches i am contemplating my next writing challenge. will it be another haiku-a-thon or some other literary mountain?

okay, okay enough with the metaphors. i just need to write.

i hear the ideas rumbling and stirring around inside my head and my heart. all i need is the chance to put them on paper. for example, i am sitting with the notion of success. for 6 months or so  i have shamefully allowed my lust for success, acceptance, attention & approval to carry me away and consume me.

i stood by and watched as colleague after colleague achieved that which i have sought after since i can remember. no one warned me of the danger of hanging around successful people: indeed their desire for success rubs off on you but if you’re not careful, it will leave a permanent stain.

I am an approval junkie. approval is like a narcotic and i am an addict. i’ve been in rehab, interventions and 12-step programs to no avail. the more i get, the more i want. the junkie is never satisfied.

it was never enough to rejoice with a fellow artist for his or her success. No, i wanted what they had. Success. Spoken word artists buddies were touring the country and popping up as “Features” at each other’s poetry and open-mic events literally every other day. Fellow writers were publishing everything from their diary entries to their TO-DO lists, to their grocery lists to my chagrin. my storytelling friend just finished a two-week run of a one-woman show at The Phoenix. Another artist friend from VONA debuted as a filmmaker down in Atlanta. Another friend took one giant step closer to her dream of getting her MFA. Still another two prepare to release their books next spring. It was all around me and I was heady from the contact high i was getting being around it. i was breathing deeply and overdosing on self-pity because i was only seeing the incomplete, the unmet, the dissatisfied, the lack  in my career as a writer.

then God shook me awake. he reminded me that i was his unique creation and his handiwork and that he was captain of my ship. he said “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” (Isaiah 48:17)

the switch had been flipped

then in bible study the preacher said that satan is crafty and clever and he manufacturers and customizes a temptation that is just for me. in this case, he must have been eavesdropping on my prayer to God to make me into a good writer and give me success. he must have picked up in my conversation with God one day that i was an approval junkie and that i would do anything for a fix, trying to chase away the specter of self-pity.

he began to twist and distort my celebration of others’ success into jealousy and envy. he began to customize my temptation and cause me to doubt what God had already told me about my career.

God had already said “i know the plans i have for you, Diane; plans for good and not for evil–to give you hope and a future” according to Jeremiah 29:11.

the lightbulb came on

once i realized that i had fallen for satan’s trick i began to think about my Garden of Eden experience in a different light.

i let go of the pipe that held the drug called Acceptance. at least for now it’s back to rehab where i quietly wait on God. it is in literary rehab i faithfully continue to blog, haiku,  journal and occasionally submit a piece to a literary magazine for publication. it is in rehab that i meet myself alone each week at Panera Bread to edit poems and occasionally give into inspiration–eventually to write my very own Pulitzer Prize-winning poem.

but sometimes at night, when i’m lying in bed, about to drift off to sleep, the thought comes to me:  it sure would be nice to just be published!!!

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