Tuesday, June 21, 2005
There are no tides here, so a summer house was built upon this, one of the 1000 islands.
Facing the blank page, I wait. I wait for some kind of topic to drift into my thoughts, and then I start writing. If I can only manage one paragraph, I erase it and start the process over. If nothing comes, I look in my little journal that I've taken to toting around with me and look in it for possible topics. I feel like this is cheating. I prefer to let the stories write themselves. It's like the way I write songs too, I don't really feel like I'm writing them, just trying to construct what is already playing through my head. I found a delightful blog that describes "the place". Whether you call it the place or the muse, or even the will of God as Ella Fitzgerald said, (she didn't read music nor train vocally) it is quite arbitrary to say the least. One of my preferred authors is still Anne Lamott. I just finished her latest book (score, I was the first person to check it out at the new, enormous National Library that opened here) and I think it is her finest effort yet. She is pretty much the only person I can stomach Jesus lectures from. And though she has become more and more spiritual in her themes, she has also become incredibly eloquent. One of the great lines in this particular book was "laughter is carbonated holiness". It made me close the book, open and read the sentence again, close the book and think about that whole mysterious connection that is made with laughter. Like the muse or the place, laughter depends on many factors, not the least of which is a direct connection to something deep in you, something that connects mind, body and spirit in one spark.
So I sit here trying to find that connection, that place from which creative energy erupts, from where laughter and nostalgia lurk, and what you are reading now is what is coming today. You like honest posts? Today, you are getting verbatim what is passing through the/my instrument. (I laugh at my pompous use of the word instrument) Today I've been laughing at myself alot, how typically I am behaving as I approach my 40th birthday. Asking the big questions, sensing my impending mortality, slowing down, smelling the roses. How cliche. But it's real, and scoffing about it isn't healthy, so I laugh at the absurdity of who we think we are, what we think we know, how we think we should live out our lives. Everyone, (and I am/have been as guilty of this as anyone) seems to have a handle on what they perceive as right and wrong, good and bad, what they like and dislike. I'm learning to undo that. I try to have no "favorite this" or "favorite" that and especially I'm trying to eliminate the" I don't like this" or "I don't like that". If I have experience with something, I try to say to myself, well last time was positive or negative, but past results are not indicative of future gains or losses. I think you need to experience things many times before really having enough information to have a sound opinion. Maybe it takes more than a lifetime.
And so how can we know anything? Every experience is new, or potentially new. This is where some of that free will stuff comes in. I know I can choose to enhance every experience by bringing all of myself to the table. That every moment is pregnant with potential if I can only unlock the magic in it. I fail so much, and it's discouraging. But now and then, I get there, and meet the muse, who lives somewhere in the nooks and crannies of this nearly 40 year old body.