Friday, May 23

The Psyche of a Writer

Here I sit in front of a blank piece of paper with pen in hand and I'm plugged up.

For the last month, I've been spending my creative time reading, editing and marshaling past poetry into tidy little e-piles and leaving little, if no time for actually writing poetry. Not a single word, passage or tone popped into my brain as a seed for something new, only old poems rattling their cages, demanding to be released into the waiting arms of the reading public.

The 1,700 mile trip to Texas did give space, quiet and time for things to bubble up to the surface. An image here, a line there, a feeling would flit in and out of my brain. Driving through three states in five days, those took shape on the backs of envelopes, scribbled in indecipherable haste so as not to drift into oncoming traffic.

So, here I am with this 3 day weekend stretched out in front of me with not a single responsibility! No retreatants, no singing, no errand running, nothing but time to myself. This is a perfect chance to pull those ratty envelopes out and turn out some quality poetry.

Today, with journal, favorite pen, dog, snacks and notes from the road, we pile in the car and head to a remote spot (yes, more so than Penuel Ridge) where I can usually summon the Muse.

Perfect day, perfect weather, I pull into the parking lot, only two other cars and no one in sight...perfect.

I head to my favorite picnic table overlooking Cheatham Lake, unleash the dog and sit myself down to do some serious writing.

Perfect...I'm sitting here, journal is open, I take a deep breath, pick up my pen and nothing. Okay, no need to panic, I'll just turn the page where the next prompt awaits my attention. I read it, take it in, take a deep breath and nothing. Okay, really, there's no need to panic, I say out loud to myself. I'll just flip through the prompts I'd written on the road that held some promise and away we'll go...and nothing. I close my journal.

Perfect...I'll eat my lunch. How could I create poetry on an empty stomach? Finish my lunch, check in with the dog, take a cleansing walk by the water and head back to my journal. Okay, I remind myself of what Beth Nielsen Chapman said about opening up the top of your head, letting go of the ego and allowing the words to drop from heaven into your brain.

Perfect...I visualize this, open my eyes and what comes, but a completely different poem. So I start writing feverishly until...nothing. I ran into a mental brick wall. The poem wouldn't finish itself or didn't want to be finished, so disgusted, I packed up my stuff, called the dog and headed back to Penuel Ridge, now with six unfinished poems, instead of five new poems...perfect.

So here I sit, in front of a blank piece of paper with pen in hand plugged up.

Is this it? Is my career as a poet over? Has the Muse left with no intention of returning?

All I know is that I do my best work alone, in silence and unencumbered. Maybe this three day weekend will produce something, anything that resembles a poem and my former poet self.

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