Always, when I have taken a break from creative writing, no matter how short, the doubt creeps in and halts my hand. No, that’s not what I meant to write; it halts my mind.
The act of putting words to paper is not the challenge. Rather, it’s the practice of reflection–of asking myself questions as I write, the practice of opening up the writing itself to its umpteen possibilities–that is so difficult to recover. It’s like any other muscle flaccid with underuse…asking questions and allowing the words to appear and be transcribed as they arise from the mind’s eye, must be practiced to make it strong. To make it responsive.
I am learning that to write well is to propel myself on a journey of discovery, to mine my own mind for what I think and why I think this way and how that way of thinking might have come to be. It is about taking the tangents, following the diversions, trusting, as the cliche goes, a leap into the dark.
I am learning to query the shimmering in-betweens.
I am learning to trust that the metaphors that appear are really way finders to what lies buried beneath. Beneath what? The usual, the expected, the mundane, or that dreaded and most accurate of descriptions: mediocrity. Too often I’m in a rush…I want to get to the end…but this process of unfolding, engaging, unknowing (yes, this is exactly it), is slow.
So, onwards with deliberate plodding. Query. Expand.
Feels like the first day at the gym. Again.
But the music is playing. The sun is shining. I am warm on the heated side of this window. Blue shadows stretch along the snow blanketing the fields. The cardinal’s feathers glow by the feeders. Juncos press tiny prints into the white. Sunflower seeds pepper the ground beside a mourning dove and a clutch of hopping chickadees. A nuthatch and a downy headed woodpecker swing from opposite poles of the suet cage. The paper in my notebook is cream, the ink in my pen is teal, and I am ready to begin. Again. And again.