08 6 / 2014

Friends

we who are
your closest friends
feel the time
has come to tell you
that every Thursday
we have been meeting
as a group
to devise ways
to keep you
in perpetual uncertainty
frustration
discontent and
torture
by neither loving you
as much as you want
nor cutting you adrift

your analyst is
in on it
plus your boyfriend
and your ex-husband
and we have pledged
to disappoint you
as long as you need us

in announcing our
association
we realize we have
placed in your hands
a possible antidote
against uncertainty
indeed against ourselves
but since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community of purpose
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make
unreasonable
demands for affection
if not as a consequence
of your
disastrous personality

then for the good of the collective

- Philip Lopate

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25 1 / 2014

What I Mean When I Say Fuck the Fear

The introductory essay, now on Medium.com. With pictures.

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23 8 / 2013

explore-blog:

Woody Allen in Esquire's What I’ve Learned series. 
Complement with these 5 essential reads on fear and the creative process. 

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20 1 / 2013

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13 11 / 2012

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11 11 / 2012

What I Mean When I Say Fuck the Fear

When I was a kid, I used to read a lot of music magazines: Cream, Rolling Stone, gossip rags, really.

But there was one interview with Eric Clapton–a sentence actually–that utterly confounded me. The guitarist said that every day he woke up and wondered what he would get the blues about.

Why would someone as famous as Eric Clapton actively try to find something to depress him? I couldn’t figure it out. My confusion, so clear now, was a result of my own adolescence, my inexperience.

The blues are not not something you set out to get. They come to you.

Fear works the same way. You don’t have to worry about its visits. Fear is as timely as a train schedule. You may not see it yet, but somewhere down the tracks, it’s barreling toward your station.

My brain is the Grand Central of fear.

I’m afraid of starting. I’m afraid I won’t finish. I’m afraid at just about every stage in the process. That’s not to say there’s no joy along the way. Of course there is. But creative work is the culmination of thousands of small decisions, each branching off into hundreds and hundreds of possibilities. It would be unusual not to be overwhelmed.

So for me fuck the fear is not a declaration of liberation. It’s a affirmation, an acknowledgment that this fear will transform into that one followed by the next and on and on, and the best I can do is say, fuck it, I’m going to try and get some stuff done anyway.

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03 11 / 2012

"A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty. This not-knowing is part of the adventure. It’s also what makes us afraid."

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21 10 / 2012

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01 10 / 2012

The proper response to creative fear.

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01 8 / 2012

"I like pressure. Pressure doesn’t make me crack. It’s enabling. I eat pressure, and there might be times when I get a bad feeling in my gut that this might be too much, but you feel pressure when you’re not doing something, you know? When you’re getting ready for something, you feel pressure—when you’re anticipating. But when you’re constantly in activity, there’s no time for pressure to just sit there and make you crack."