As I write, Gwyn’s at the piano practicing a Beethoven Sonata, repeating trills, stumbling on scales, figuring out fingering. Distracting as her mistakes are, I find myself amazed that, after ten years of parental supervision, Gwyn is finally capable of cultivating for herself the joy of puzzling out a piece. Gwyn’s not naturally talented, but …
There’s an old Taoist story about a farmer whose horse ran away. His neighbors on hearing this came to him and said, sympathetically, “Such bad luck!” “We’ll see,” the farmer replied. The next day the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “So wonderful!” the neighbors exclaimed. “We’ll see,” the farmer said. Then …
Isn’t curiosity marvelous? Something sparks your interest, and you’re off—questioning, learning, exploring, pondering. Say you meet someone new, share a bit about yourself, and they’re genuinely curious; suddenly you’re deep in conversation, sharing details about yourself or your work that you rarely otherwise disclose, and you begin to wonder whether this person might become a …
The spiritual path requires letting go of what doesn’t give us life and giving ourselves wholly to what does. From the outside this can look dire, but from the inside the story’s quite different.
The story itself—the emergent life inside the inspiration—is a dynamic participant in the creative process.
Each and every one of us ordinary people has the capacity to create beauty.
The journal is a writer’s compost bin. It’s tucked out back, behind the fence or along the alley where the smell won’t waft into the kitchen and the fruit flies won’t irritate the gardeners. You add to it daily, or at least whenever you’ve got a heaping bucket of scraps (read: baggage) to unload.
Writing, I suspect, is one way we can inhabit that liminal space right before prayer becomes prayer.
When we see something anew, we come to respect it. Each new perspective, each layer of understanding, deepens our regard. Seen in this light, revision is the most respectful approach to our writing—and to much else in our days.
All creative work is becoming; it is more alive or less alive, and our job as artists is to nurture life.