Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Safe Road

This week, while sipping my pot of Hermes tea in Java's (all the tea is named after Greek Gods and Goddesses), I heard Galway described as the graveyard of ambition, a blackhole for creativity, andthe place where upon entrance, all writers immediately become devoid of inspiration. Needless to say, this was not encouraging.

Since arriving in Galway, I've found it difficult to sit down and write. This is not due to a lack of free time. If anything, the abundance of time I've spent watching episodes of How I Met Your Mother, reading Jodi Picoult novels, and making grilled cheese sandwiches is staggering...and a little embarrassing. Instead it's been due to a lack of heart wrenching angst, mind-bending stress, or panicky euphoria. Ireland has been a level plane of steady "fineness," a mediocre purgatory of "well that was nice."

Often, when approaching relationships, we are unconvinced of their validity if there are not fireworks or butterflies present. We're so conditioned to the roller coaster feeling of oxytocin and adrenaline induced alarm that when it's not present, we feel that something must be wrong. It's much the same for me and creativity. I draw my inspiration from the high highs and low lows that appear whilst I'm sinking or flying on emotional shoots and ladders. I'm suddenly at a loss when instead of pitfalls and wings, I'm given smooth sailing.

My days here blend together. I have so much free time that it's maddening and instead of being productive, I find myself sliding into slow-born tedium, stretching out a task that under pressure would take ten minutes to two days. However, rather than making me feel content and at ease, this slow pace has begun to make me anxious...small things seem a tiresome burden.

Tomorrow I plan to walk out to the cliff overhanging the beach. Regardless of the weather I will bring pens and my notebook and plug in my headphones. I kind of hope it will rain.

I went to Galway because it seemed like a safe bet...a nice change (emphasis on nice). It was a gentle way of expanding my view of the world. I spoke the language, had visited the country before, would be surrounded by other friends exploring Europe. I was a mere five hour plane ride from my family and would face no situational hardships besides the typical obstacles brought on by studying abroad. However, as I talk to my friends dispersed around the world, going on adventures where things can kill them in the jungle or tackling the social intricacies of navigating a society in which you are clearly an outsider and at times unwelcome...I wish I had been more brave.

People ask how Ireland is and I tell them the truth. I tell them it's beautiful, that it's great and that I feel so lucky to be here. However, sometimes I can't help but wish I was falling down a little bit more...because it'd be nice to have a reminder about how to pick myself up.

Addendum: Perhaps I have been overly hasty looking for inspiration inside myself and in the environment around me. I had forgotten that all too often my best inspiration comes from the other people in my life. Thanks to those...

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