It is kind of hard to take sometimes when you catch yourself thinking that you haven’t had an original thought in what might be several weeks (if one were “into” keeping track of such things).
You might argue that this is really not the case and you would probably be partially right. There is “original” and then there is ORIGINAL. And the difference is often in the way we look at thoughts and creativity and so forth in the first place.
I have spent the past several weeks reading a lot of poetry—books that I picked up on sale at Black Bear Books, Mosaic Bookstore and a couple of not-so-local Barnes and Noble stores. I look for books that speak to me off the shelf and say…”take me home and you will not regret it.” I tend toward smaller volumes page-wise, which I can read from cover to cover in under a week of off and on attention. I now know that no matter how good the poet, I tend to get a little weary of reading the same book of poetry when I know there are two hundred more pages to go. Yet I often fall for the economy of scale, selected works type of books, because of their perceived value—yet if you never finish the book then that reasoning is hardly something to take to the bank.
Anyway—I have been reading a woman poet named Sharon Olds—my latest find and now favorite writer in the modern school of poetry I admire and aspire to be a part of sometimes.
What sets her apart from many other poets is her ability to take a moment or particular movement of time and play it back to the reader in a way that it becomes noticeable—and in so doing creating a sense of destiny and beauty that is often quickly by-passed on a daily basis.
As I read, I remembered thinking that it had been some time since I had seen my life in this way—some time since I had felt I had anything worthwhile to say or even blog about—my guitar rests in its case and my fiddle has not seen the light of day or night in some time. I feel dry and don’t know why.
To top it off, I awoke during the night two or three days ago with the image of a faucet in front of me. Somehow I knew that it was empty and went back to sleep hoping that my “real” well in the back yard wasn’t having problems. Pumps are not cheap and not having any water in your house is a real drag.
In the light of day, and in talking with my wife, I realized that the faucet picture was a visual image from God or my subconscious (or both) letting me know of my earthly state. Then I wasn’t so much concerned about this information as much as I was to the reason behind my seeming lack of creative spark.
This led in turn to my thinking about what creativity is in the first place and why does it seem to ebb and flow and even get stopped up. As my Irish friend Robert would say, my well is “bunged” up. And then, in an honest and transparent moment I realized that a web design job that I have not finished and which I probably should not have taken in the first place was at the top of my list for creative well stoppers. It is not like me to let something drag on indefinitely (although I do drag-g-g from time to time). And as to why I have been avoiding this particular job—well that remains between my wife and I.
Suffice it to say, I have been more than a little frustrated with my lack of passion lately but understand even writing about it today is perhaps a way to begin the trip back to wherever it is I feel like I need to be—or am more comfortable with.
Sometimes we need to let go of what we think we know in order to grow into a deeper and much fuller understanding of love and life and community.
I now know that I like women poets because they seem to be more in touch with feelings than us guys. They can talk about birth and death and sex and living and art in such a way as to help me see the marvelous mystery of what God has created around us. I find that I like the way they look at me—much in the same way I might look at myself—when and if I were ever into looking. A well-rounded women poet is hard to beat—one without an axe to grind but one with an itch to discover what it is that makes us operate in the ways we do. Like reading an owners manual—you always find out something new about something old.
And maybe that is the cure for a bunged up well—read the owners manual (you are free to pick) and find out how to get the dirt out and start the water flowing again. I can already feel it beginning to trickle up—can’t you?