my spectacular failure

September 8th, 2014

This week I’ll be going into a recording studio to tape the audiobook of Momma Zen. This is a welcome and unexpected chance to put my speaking voice to my writer’s “voice.” The occasion reminds me of this passage in the book about the eternal power of voice:

“In the cozy darkness, tucking in my three-year-old, I ask her what she loves best. ‘Your voice,’ she says, dreamily. She is halfway dreaming, when answers are undefiled. I am reassured. It will change a bit, weaken and grow old. And then she will hear it in herself: a song without words, a lyric beyond language, a smile, a laugh, a moment’s silent consolation. It will always come back because it never leaves. I know that voice.” — Momma Zen

I’ll be sure and let you know when the Audible book is ready so you can hear my voice in my own voice and share it with those inclined to listen.

In my work and practice, I’m continually exploring the intuitive voice within us, the voice that speaks a truth we know before we know it. Earlier this year I had a videochat with my friend, artist and writer Christine Mason Miller about the mysteries of voice, the peculiar humiliations of a writer’s life, the organic uncertainty of the creative process, and redefining professional success (which in my case looks like spectacular failure). If you wish to write or try to write — or if you harbor any artistic or professional aspirations for that matter — our conversation might be helpful. What I say applies to any expectation or ideal we cherish and it might just be something you need to hear today.

The video was included in a comprehensive e-course Christine put together for aspiring authors called “The Conscious Booksmith.” The six-week course will be offered again in January, and if you’d like to get more information about it, sign up here. It’s worth it.

In the meantime, you can watch us talk about success and failure right here and now. (If you’re reading this post in your email and don’t see the video, click on the headline and you’ll be taken to the blog.)


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  1. In my experience, what you are saying here perfectly applies to my own process in the studio. Ambition, pre-conception, judgement, expectation…an ugly bundle of gunk that only muddies the work if not discarded. Mindfulness is a must. A brushstroke is a breath. I know this, but when will I really live it?!

    Thank you, Maezen and Christine. XOX

    Comment by Clare — September 8, 2014 @ 9:39 am

  2. “What is in front of me that I haven’t seen?” I think of this, or a version of this often. It is so easy to speed through the day on autopilot. Thank you for reminding me that every moment and every encounter is a call to take a good look and be present. Thanks for sharing this insightful conversation .

    Comment by Jane — September 8, 2014 @ 6:53 pm

  3. Dear Maezen, your “spectacular failure” gave me a lifeline in the hopeless muck of the labyrinth of new parenthood. Thank you for “failing” so beautifully.

    Comment by Stephanie — September 9, 2014 @ 7:23 am

  4. I read your words, I hear your voice…in every way I experience you, I end up doing the same thing: smiling.

    Comment by Swirly — September 15, 2014 @ 8:06 am

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