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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

 

Inspiration

Sometimes I feel inspiration inside me like a bubble - like the way you know when you're about to sneeze, or before a big cry. I feel it. In the past the only time I wrote was when I felt this way - I'd go for months at a time without a word, and then I'd be walking down the street and a poem would start forming in my head, and I'd go home and write. I could remember the exact phrases for hours if that was how long I had to wait. Then I'd write and it was like giving birth.

I recently found a scrap of paper from the Marina Inn in San Francisco - something I wrote on an airplane in a moment of inspiration like what I describe above. It reads:


on airplane after reading memories of the day john lennon was shot + killed
11-3-00

There is art inside me.
And beauty.
By beauty I mean - the feeling of ocean, of sky, of (my husband's) delight in dew-covered spider webs, of artist's passion and of sincere activism, of purity, of chai tea in clay mugs, of sunlight in the trees outside our window. of kindness...all of this, distilled into a point of buzzing inside of me.
And by art - by art I mean this urge, this drive, to affect the world with an image of beauty, a vision of staggering, transcendental impact...the feeling of discovering a new city and returning safely home, all at once.

And all this, beyond words
Beyond journals
Grand.
Essential.
As big as the sky
Yes - just like air


When I found this a few months ago it was like my younger self was talking to me. I keep it on my fridge.

These days I practice daily writing. It's less romantic - more spiritual. In Right to Write Julia Cameron says how important it is to write even when you don't feel like it - the idea being that the practice of writing is more important than any specific output. And that's the difference - in the past I only allowed myself to write when I felt something specific gestating inside me; now I have faith in the power of the writing process itself...its power to not only give me the kind of life I want, but also to help me find my way to the beautiful phrase, the interesting idea, the well-developed character, etc. Transcendance through ritual.

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