Let’s talk inspiration: as in I am in serious need of some. Over the summer I drew back into my shell like a hermit crab and kept to myself, not participating in much of anything online, not sharing much on either of my websites or on social media. This cycle is a yearly thing for me: usually in January I make a bold confident beginning, telling myself that THIS is the year I won’t get spooked and pull back, but it doesn’t take more than a couple of months for the disenchantment to creep in. It doesn’t take long for me to become weary with the process of “putting it out there,” and choose to keep to my own little self instead. Creating continues, distribution screeches to a halt.
With back-to-school upon my house, I also find myself in a desert wasteland of “I’ve already written about everything I can think of.” Over the past year so, since I threw myself whole-heartedly into writing, I have voraciously ploughed through so many focused projects and prompts that I find myself staring into a dry well. I need something to kick start my brain again, something to wake the muse back up.
Also, I need to find a way to believe that sharing the work matters, that there’s some point in even trying – in this crazy world that’s so glutted with super talented people expressing themselves 24/7 and making sure everyone else knows about it. Have you looked at instagram lately? After about 30 seconds, it makes me wonder why I bother. Can one person shouting into a hurricane of raised voices ever hope to be heard; can one more woman with a pencil and a camera really expect to ever find even the tiniest glimmer of a breakthrough? Who am I to think I am anywhere near talented or deserving enough to garner any attention? What does “success” mean, anyway?
Stepping away from my own overactive, overthinking brain and the defeating questions it constantly raises, I meandered to the bookshelves and pulled out Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook . I bought this a while back, and had my heart so fiercely pierced by her language on page one of the introduction that I knew I needed to lay this little volume aside and wait for the right time. Well, guess what? NOW IS THE TIME.
There are no “exercises” in the book, no prompts, but this book is like looking into a glittering secret garden. Her voice is as strikingly beautiful as ever, and I find myself barely able to get through two pages before it inspires me to write. Just a few words or phrases, or something I haven’t tried before. It’s a gold mine for me, so far, and I’m talking about it here because who knows – maybe you, Dear Reader, in this moment, are yourself seeking something that this book can provide.
Soon, I will share some of the poems I’m writing as provoked by my going through this handbook. One is up on my Medium page (in spite of my complaining, I realize I ought to keep trying with that platform a little while longer). Here is the link to the Medium poem. Thank you for reading! Happy creating to you, today and everyday.