SIMPLY BEING

Tag: creativity (page 1 of 2)

I Want to Write

“I want to be a better writer.” “I want to write better.”

“I want to write more.”

“I want to write.”

In my case, it isn’t even a case of “I want to write” but more of “the writing is showing up.”

I realized a long time ago that mine was a case of doing itty-bitty writing on the side (in form of journalling, Morning Pages) as I waited for THE writing to show up. (I don’t want to be a snob at all; all writing is sincere for me.) However, “I want to be a better writer” and “I want to write better” both sound highly vague and undefined to me. “I want to write more” is a tangible wish because a writer (or me) experiences a certain coming-together, an experience of beauty/magic as they write… and they may want to experience that special feeling more often.

Now, “I want to write” is mostly guided by the love of/for writing. But then again, you wanting that special experience is only half of it. The Love has to show up too. So, even while I write on bits of paper, sheets and pages — morning, noon, night — it feels like I am waiting. Like a devoted partner in this unusual (or not) relationship, the one that waits and waits, ready to serve, and be served in return.

Video: Morning Pages

Here I am talking about “Morning Pages,” an exercise created by writing coach Julia Cameron for artists, writers, and anyone who struggled to express themselves creatively. I have a slightly different angle to the exercise. I view it as a meditation on paper, a tool that helps clear away lingering thoughts and emotions, “cleans our mental/emotional landscape,” so to speak… So that we can begin the day clear, creative, and free.

I have been doing Morning Pages for a couple of years now.

When I taught meditation, one of things I reminded participants was “anyone can meditate.” Similarly, I feel that anyone can do Morning Pages.

In these times of stress and uncertainty, Morning Pages is a beautiful exercise of space, solitude, letting go and breathing out.

The Weightiness of Paper

Paper is light and heavy.

As it flutters at a mere glance, yet weighed down by the HEAVY thoughts that are borne aloft Morning Pages each day,
It shreds in seconds, no heft or substance to it.

But it holds volumes of thought, fresh off the bed, sleepy-eyed and all in a mess or tangle,
Struggling to make sense, and the effort is a bit much.

So I let it all out on the light paper, transparent and flimsy,
No pretense or excuse of any kind.
Endlessly unraveling the morning memories and sighs and imaginings,
Holding them all in, letting them all out.

Only the shredder knows the truth.

A strategic writer (not)

I am currently facing a writer’s conundrum.

Previously I’d wait for the writing to come to me. And it generally did. Some of the best pieces I have written, those that virtually flowed from my head through the keys on to the page and to the world, came to me. Most of these pieces that I loved writing and reading and re-reading made their way to me. I didn’t go seeking them out. I simply responded to their call. They whispered their presence to me, and I had gotten smarter over the years… so I made haste to get to the laptop, and wrote them out.

Like the time I was driving home from work, and a prisoner transport van passed my car. I made eye contact with a handsome black man, young and brooding, dark eyebrows and deep set eyes. I couldn’t look away. He held my gaze steadily, and our vehicles weaved in and around each other, until I had to take my exit. His van sped away. I could hardly get home fast enough. It was a compelling experience, and I had to write about it. I wasn’t sure I could describe the feeling fully but I tried. That’s how Locking Eyes came into being.

And that’s how the best of my writing has come to me.

Yes, I have always played bride to my writing (thanks, Mary Oliver, for the apt description). I have waited and waited for it to make an appearance, and when it does, I welcome it with joy and love… utterly glad that it chose me. I have often felt like a midwife, birthing a thought or a series of ideas into the world. That’s why I can never claim this writing as my own, because I cannot summon it at will. And I know this because I have been trying to do JUST that the last few months.

And I hate that method, I simply do.

I have been trying to think about my writing in smarter, more strategic ways. What should I write about? XXX sounds like a good topic. Let me give it a try. And it has been somewhat okay, I admit. But there is no joy either in the writing process or in the outcome. The end result feels terribly sterile, lacking in vitality. And what is on display is the effort, my attempt to string together alliterative phrases, trying hard to wring out emotion and feeling from a set of words. Sometimes, the final piece delights others but to me, it feels very hollow, pretentious.

I am no bridegroom or adventurer. I am a wanderer, a purposeless rambler… I am one who responds to Life. I have responded time and again to love, joy, beauty. And my knowing has taken me to beautiful places. Thus I developed trust in my knowing.

I have responded to Life through my writing. I have never sought to understand Life. I didn’t venture into the writing universe, determined to make a mark; I only responded to what called me. So it’s hard for me to make a plan for my writing. Because I am at the mercy of what’s out there, not always what’s in here.

“Let’s submit an article for publication; let’s write something for this magazine.”

Sure, I can give that a shot. But it feels terribly dull, lacking in juice and zest. I cannot seem to write fully and joyfully for another person. Heck, I cannot even do it for myself!

I can only write as an echo, a faint and wondering answer to Life. I am fairly okay at catching a ball but I am far better at catching cues… and I hope to improve. I have hurled many a ball in the sky, and the Universe has taken pity on me. I haven’t got rainbows, but I got published articles.

So I have decided to stop playing the bridegroom. I will be the midwife, the bride, the solitary walker. I will be the one who watches the stars, smells the fragrance of the wind.

And I will wait.