Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Creativity: one drop, one twist away from completion

My mind is full of words, but none of them are clinging to each other and the few that bump and hold together, however briefly, are whispering, and I can barely hear them over the din of all the phrases sloshing against each other in garbled conversation.

It is not a creative day, not even one to press into a chain gang of little efforts: organize, sort, and summarize.  My thoughts are lethargic and oddly cantankerous when shuffled about in search of meaning.

I am resolved to putting one word in front of the other, simply letting whatever rises to the surface for a spot of air be sacrificed to expression, going down on the page. So be it.

Yes, one of those days.

I don't have them often, maybe once a year. But here one is, planted firmly in my available writing moment.

A stagnant field under a swelling of greasy water.

I try to imagine the kind of flooding river that relieves a serious drought, but my inspiration is not buying it. This is swamp, this is bog, this is puddle, and I did not remember to wear my boots, not even the ones of brilliant pink broken up with splashes of yellow ducks.  My feet are cold.

luck and the trick play equal part
Look at my hands. On one index finger is a puzzle ring.  Such rings are lovely metaphors for writing.  Characterization, description, setting, conflict -- puzzle pieces that when brought together create a story.  Today I slip the ring off and gently separate the four circles of fitted silver shapes, but I don't allow them to drop away fully from the others.

I know how to put it back together.  It will take me anywhere from two minutes to two hours.  Luck and the trick play equal part in the creation of a whole ring.  I have not mastered the trick enough to rely entirely on it. Much like writing, I am still twisting and turning, thinking it through, watching for the sudden drop into place, ease into fitting as if I was in control of the results. 

Does any book, short story, poem, essay, article ever slip into place no longer tricky, just trick.  I hope not. Part of the joy comes in the struggle. This is writing, sifting through the slough, the remnants of both memory and meandering, the slithering together of parts and a bright, shiny unexpected whole that whether seen from the beginning or cobbled together reaches completion.

Do you have such days? Are they in the end successful?


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