Saturday, September 06, 2008

What Gets You Pumped?

I don't know about everyone else, but I've been so busy this past week and a half I've barely had time to think. And much as I know the people who love me will worry about me doing too much, I'm pumped and exhausted at the same time. It reminds me of college.

I think college, for me, was an experiment in what a young body completely addicted to knowledge can do. I didn't just get satisfaction from all night cram sessions. I got an adrenaline rush every time I conquered the need for sleep, overcame constraints, and strolled into a 4 hour test with absolute confidence. I was hooked on pushing my brain the the limits. It was a high... an actual high.


I'm actually not sure, at this time of my life, if this was a good or bad thing. I've never really shaken that addiction. And it's possible it has hurt me in my career as a fiction writer, which is the only thing I have tackled in this life without-- so far-- success. I've published some short fiction and similar, but the Great American Novel eludes me still. My young adult novel does not suffer from neglect but I am, I believe, an overbearing parent with ridiculous expectations. And I research every tiny detail to the point of obsession.



I'll be honest... the high is still there. Like this past week, in a somewhat related foray into local and national politics, when I wrote a few quips that spread through the headquarters like wildfire and were picked up by everyone around me. MY words. It was heady and addictive and I felt smart, valued, validated.

I feel that rush when I write something, read it back, and get the giddy sense of resonance. When the words on the page feel so incredibly right my hair stands up. I get a similar feeling when I sketch or paint something... or create a graphic from nothing... or take a photograph that makes me pause for breath. I don't need drugs or alcohol. I've got journals and a computer.

So on this hurricane-heavy Saturday I submit to you: what's your natural high?

9 comments:

  1. Definitely when I write something worth reading over and over again. It doesn't happen often, but when it does: WOW.

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  2. My natural high is writing something that I know is freaking fantastic. It's buying/making the perfect gift for someone. It's reading a great book in one sitting. It's mastering a new skill.

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  3. When one of my kids do something that that shows they have healthy self-esteem, I get a rush.

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  4. I agree--creative endeavors give me a natural high. Writing something that I know is spot-on good. Taking that photographic shot that gives me goosebumps.

    I also love finding drool-worthy shoes on a fantastic sale. LOL

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  5. I like Gwen's answer too, by the way. Having your kids do something healthy or good for them because THEY choose is makes me feel fantastic, too.

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  6. My high is when I pick up something I wrote ages ago and think 'wow! did I write that?' because I actually think it's good and I like it.

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  7. I also love it when I write something particularly clever. Or, beautiful. I once wrote a poem which was just perfect to me on the first go. It just came out of my real feelings. Sadly, that poem is lost in the universe now, but I think it's my favorite that I've ever written.

    I get excited also by brainstorming ideas with friends. There's this natural energy exchange where their excitement fuels my excitement and we're all one great big burst of creative energy.

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  8. I'm a lot like you, Chrissy. I LOVED the chase for knowledge in College, and it definitely got me high. Now, aside from my children (who keep me fairly buzzed most of the time!), I have to say losing myself in my writing. When I hit that Flow that lets me tune everything else out and truly live the scene that I'm writing. That point where I can almost see the setting around me. And then carry that around for a couple of days. Ah...yes!

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