Friday, October 26, 2007


Ach, how I hate that metaphor, when it's applied to acts performed with the goal of revitalizing the creative drive. As though getting yourself to write something were analagous, in some way, to plugging in a cell phone overnight. But it's handy enough, I suppose, to have some shorthand for this mysterious process; it's different for everyone and impossible to qualify.

I just got back from New York, and generally a trip to the city serves, for me, as a major source of remojofication. But not this time, for some reason. I attended a lit thing, hung out with some rock and roll cronies, and had a generally fine time...but for some reason, the expected juicing did not arrive. Instead, I found myself thinking, as I walked through Union Square, Jesus Christ, the world is freaking packed with people, and I just pined for the sofa, a glass of wine, and a heist novel.

Where does creative energy come from? After ransacking the lumber room of the mind, day after day for a couple of decades, searching for some mislaid scrap of it, I still don't understand what it is I'm looking for, or how it is I've manage to find it, when I do find it. It is fickle stuff, as mysterious and elusive as Sasquatch, and indeed, sometimes the process of capturing it is akin to slogging through a rainforest, scanning the humus for footprints.

It's related to happiness, I guess, and to confidence, and to the acceptance of the self. But not all that closely. I'm feeling quite happy, confident, and self-accepting today, and I don't feel like writing shit. Rhian's been reading about Sylvia Plath (I suspect you'll be hearing more about her tomorrow), and it looks like she wrote some of her best stuff in the throes of misery, humiliation, and self-loathing.

Sometimes a change in the weather inspires me. Sometimes the eighth straight day of rain. Sometimes it's a good song, or a horrible song, or the suffering of others, or their joy. Sometimes I'm moved by jealousy, or fear. Or admiration, or lust. Something somebody says, or that I wished they'd said. None of it makes the slightest bit of sense. Today, even writing this blog post is an effort. Tomorrow I might knock out ten pages. (Not bloody likely though, I'm afraid.)

What gets your motor running? Or rather--what has gotten it running in the past? Because past performance, as I'm sure you're aware, is no guarantee of future success.


the individual voice said...

Hey, speaking of recharging, which of you is writing the November novel? I've been wondering over at my blog today.

Trevor said...

Reading. Not necessarily reading new stuff, but digging out stuff that you really loved a long time ago, but haven't actually looked at in forever. Re-discovering favorites is exhilarating. Usually it only takes a few chapters or a couple poems in a collection before the old wonder comes back.

This also works for music. OK Computer? Yankee Hotel Foxtrot? Animals? Master of Puppets? Still amazing.

gnomeloaf said...

Walking or driving for long periods of time. I spend a day driving and almost always arrive at my destination wanting to write out what's been building up.