Nourish the spirit, nourish the soul
Sometimes I find I cannot write. There are many self-help books and websites and blogs that will either offer a great many suggestions as to how to break free from writer’s block, or, that writer’s block doesn’t really exist at all. WTFE. Sometimes I’m just bottom of the barrel empty and I can’t bear to open the file. I try to input a few words, but they ring false, taste tinny on the tongue. Like playing a sonata on an untuned piano– it sounds like something you know, but it’s horribly off.
Some suggest that you should just write through the awful, put it all down, and then you will write past this moment and into a better place.
I suppose this could work, even if it doesn’t work, because time is passing in the midst of writing tinny offkey words…. But I don’t want to bruise my ears on top of tired and depleted.
I think these moments of “cannot write” happen to me because when I’m writing I’m not just involved with the project at an intellectual level, but also at an emotive and intuitive level as well. Emotions and intuition are filtered and channelled into story just as much as technique, theory, structure, plot, characterization, etc. So, when something in my personal life (tho, really, there’s so much grey area between a writer’s personal and private life, especially if you work from home and live with a family, etc. ) that taxes me spiritually and emotionally, it can become very difficult in moving forward in creative writing.
So what? Difficult things/times are difficult for everyone, it could be said. A shopkeeper, a dentist, an accountant, a short-order cook, a car wash attendant, a lifeguard, a dog-walker, everyone can feel depleted, and they still have to work. Suck it up.
There’s this amazing concept in Japan called kotodama. I’m not able to do it any justice, on a blog, but the basic idea (shared by many other cultures as well) is that when we speak a word, we are not just speaking a word– we are invoking it. The word becomes a living thing. (i.e. the word is god, etc.) Imagine! All those words, coming alive, like little beasts and creatures and flitting off into the universe…. When I’m in the right place, I can feeeeel the aliveness of words, and they are miraculous. When I’m not in the right place I’m not able to invoke them, and they fall, like unformed brick, upon the ground. And, I think this has to do with spirit.
The reality is that there are deadlines. Rent, groceries, bills and the press of time. Summer is more than half over, and, still, the words fall lifeless. Inert.
I try not to beat myself up. Because it doesn’t help at all! Instead, I try to do things that will nourish my spirit and my soul. I read novels. I watch some movies. I meet with friends and talk and laugh and share a meal. Listen to music and cut flowers from my modest flowerbeds and bring them to my desk. Borrow a friend’s old bicycle. Eat one piece of chocolate-covered Manuka Honey every day, because the package says, “Happiness Guaranteed”…. ^__^
It also helps to have a wonderfully supportive and professional agent! I asked to meet up with her and requested a “gentle kick in the pants” as well as “a few words encouragement”. She said just the right things at the right time, and I rode the skytrain back home, thoughtful and lighter. Since then I’ve written four pages. The words aren’t flying out into the world like swallows swooping from their nests– maybe they are more like fledgling robin….
But, I have faith that the spirit will grow stronger. The spirit cannot be strong all the time. Look to the cycles of nature. The seasons, the tides, the phases of the moon….
All in time.