I know I said my next post would be about ‘earning a living doing what you love’ but this is virtually the same thing.
I nicked this line from Hugh MacLeod: If you can express your soul, the rest ceases to matter.
Actually, I didn’t so much nick it, it hijacked me. I was sitting in bed this morning, minding my own business and re-reading Hugh’s book Evil Plans for the third time, when this line jumped out at me, whacked me over the head and said, ‘You need to write a blog post about this. THIS IS IMPORTANT!’
So that’s what I’m doing.
So many of us hide away what is deep inside of us. We cover up what we feel is ‘silly’. Or perhaps we were once told by someone else that it was stupid or rubbish or worthless or whatever [inset your own crummy term] and we vowed never again to express our true soul.
This is really sad.
I suspect that what’s deep in our soul is never bland. It’s never going to be a wishy-washy, melt-into-the-background kind of thing. Which is good, right? Well, yes and no.
If you put what is in your soul out there, some people are going to LOVE it.
But a lot of people will shrug their shoulders and go ‘huh?’ in a I-really-don’t-give-a-monkey’s-that-you-have-just-laid-your-soul-bare kind of way. (That hurts).
And some people will actually HATE it. They will despise your stuff. Which kind of means they despise a bit of you. And that’s scary.
No wonder most of us hide our stuff away and never show the world what’s really inside us.
So today I am going to show you what’s in my soul…
Deep in the depths of my soul I hide absurd doodles and snippets of random stories. These are the doodles and words I never show anyone. Because they are ‘silly’ and ‘ridiculous’ and ‘pointless’.
This is the kind of thing I mean:
When I was leaving a friend’s house one evening there was a cat lurking by my car with a menacing glint in its eye, so I did this doodle:
I was eating soup for lunch one day and wondered what the headlines would say if the bowl of soup ate me instead of the other way round (The mysterious case of the killer soup – people have been disappearing from across the land!’):
I was pondering my identity crisis one day:
I was feeling bored and a silly story about a fly popped into my head (NB: this story is in no way semi-autobiographical)….
Fuzz the fly was bored.
He had been bored all day Monday, and all day Tuesday, and it was only 9.30am on Wednesday and he was already really, really bored.
“I am bored with doing ordinary things,’” he said to himself. “A fly like me needs to spread their wings. I am not cut out for humdrum things. I must delve into the EXTRAORDINARY!”
So he set off at a demented pace to find extraordinary things….”
Ahem. No prizes for guessing why I kept these doodles and stories hidden all these years.
Are they silly?
Are they absurd?
Are they ridiculous?
I haven’t shown my soul to the world for precisely these reasons.
But there is another way of looking at this…because aren’t these pretty useful attributes to have if you want to be a children’s writer? (Funny you should mention it; that’s exactly what I want to be!)
Dr Seuss was ‘silly’, ‘absurd’ and ‘ridiculous’. Didn’t seem to hold him back, did it?
Which got me thinking: When you find the right outlet for your spark, expressing your soul suddenly won’t seem like such a bad idea.
In fact, it may well be one of the best ideas you’ve ever had! As Hugh said, “If you can express your soul, the rest ceases to matter.”