The Art of the Lull
“Dakota Loves The Redhead” Illustration created on Samsung Notebook by Chikodili Emelumadu. She and I shared giggles during National Novel Writing Month 2011. She lives in London, UK.
For the past two weeks I’ve run my business and my life within five feet of my dying rabbit—listening to his breathing and rushing him to the medicine cabinet when it ceased. Dakota is seven-in-a-half years old and has been battling a multitude of respiratory challenges that threaten his nose closing down and his life. It’s hard to explain the love I have for this four-and-a-half pound lump of bouncing attitude and kindness, so I’ll just keep it simple: It turns out I would do anything to save his life. This has meant that all my book plans, creative plans, business plans and social plans fell into a sort of reptilian lull as I became a hunter and gatherer of anything life giving I could feed him.
You’d think with all that waiting for life to take hold again I’d have written a ton of blog posts, letters to friends I’ve been out of touch with; that I would have learned the art of gourmet vegetarian cooking and knitted myself some cozy rust colored gloves and gabbed on the phone for hours with girlfriends about nonsense. But no, I was simply in a LULL. Whatever plans I had… fell under the cement. In fact, I wasn’t creative at all.
The first thing they taught us at UCLA screenwriting program is that when your character has plans, you gotta blow that shit up. Because that’s life. I had a long colorful list of To-Do’s for Po’Bird, a couple film scripts and my next illustrated book…as well as, clients stacked up to serve with their long colorful lists. Clients got served (thanks to good business partners). But mostly I thought about a lot of things, though not lofty thoughts had perspective vitamins thinly laced to them. In-so-far as thoughts are things, that is. Here’s a few of those things:
- Why do non-gluten chocolate chip cookies taste so bad? With the non-gluten rave in America, why isn’t there a non-gluten bakery on every corner? Or a Peets Coffee? In fact, what is the science of gluten in America? because in Europe I can eat bread all day long no problem. (I then found out it’s not just America but Africa and other countries as well.)
- I just love how polite rabbits are. Dakota’s mate will not eat until he eats. And when he’s sick that can be a couple days. (Note: I made sure she ate and him too with some tricks I’ve learned).
- Why didn’t the book, Bunny Suicides change the world? So insightful, that book. ; )
- Why didn’t Sherman Alexie submit to Curly Red Stories? I gave him a very charming invite. ; ) Okay, so maybe I went a little overboard with the blue oatmeal story.
- I haven’t seen a fly in eight months. Where are they?
- I really should read some Carl Sagan. I love his dust mite philosophy. I feel like a dust mite when not performing heroic acts of story making that often never see the light of day—a flickering fire fly dust mite (at those times) vs. now… a desperate rabbit mom listening for sounds of life. A hunter’s joke.
- Wow, nearly fifty acts of love and kindness towards Dakota’s survival on Facebook. There are a lot of rabbit lovers in the world. And isn’t it time for a graphic wise rabbit book? Info graphics, a dispelling of the many myths about rabbits as pets. Yes. But I’m not creative right now, remember? I’m trying to give birth when nature wants to give death.
- I’m trying to give birth when nature wants to give death. Ugh.. I really need to re-read Dinty Moore’s new, very Buddhist book again and consider Buddhism myself. I’m seriously un-evolved when it comes to attachment.
- Oh, I think I’ll re-arrange the rabbit’s house again, make sure he’s warm. Time to clear his nose. Time to take ten deep breaths and consider revenge on the rabbit vet who almost killed him with steroids and left him next to a huge boxer dog at the vet all day. Or Buddhism to forgive her with a thousand prayers (after I slash her tires).
And on it goes…
… These are not sophisticated thoughts. They don’t offer much to art or society in general. They are simply part of the cauldron – the cellular soup—somewhere in between life and death. Erratic thoughts firing off… barely touching identity chords you have known of yourself from more savvy eshalons in life. All the books on breaking creative resistance even in tough times, life design for tough times, smart strategies and vet choices and suddenly I’m as dumb as a bird flying backwards in winter.
But today, Dakota made it through. Today I am enriched from the lull of random thoughts. A much needed shift of creative circuitry. It makes me think creativity isn’t a thing or at all, but just life… the in and out breath, maybe not even a state of mind or state of anything…really. Just a dying rabbit wanting to live and love his redhead (thank you Chikodilli).
And thank you to everyone who have been so incredibly supportive to Dakota (and me) at this time. It all helped pull him through, I’m sure of it.