Writer’s cramp is neither a basic muscle problem, nor the high level disorder of the composition process seen in writer’s block, but somewhere in between.
Alice W. Flaherty, The Midnight Disease
1. I’m on my own for a week. Lily has left for Hawaii, leaving me to do something meaningful with my 7 days as a bachelor. Its time to start a post. Have I lost my ability to write since the last? Did I ever have it?
2. I’ve been reading my morning pages from 2010-2011. Those who follow of Julie Cameron’s Artist Way books know what I mean. Basically, you write 3 pages every morning whether you feel like it or not . Though I never progressed beyond this to her subsequent exercises, I’ve been doing them now for some 20 years (can it be true?)
After perusal of the pages and notating with the recommended red and green colored pencils, I see certain themes recur in dreams. Usually, I’m lost in some city looking for food and burdened with too much gear. The blockages I face in writing, art and life seem reflected in these endlessly recurring images of abandonment and loss in crowded cities somewhere to the south.
3. I listen to Hawaiian, slack key guitar and imagine what Lily is doing. A cascade of clear, lazy notes falls like rain on banana leaves while puffy clouds are blown across a vivid, blue sky with the tradewinds.
Festoons of bright jewels play over the dancing palms Jewels of radiant light festoon the swaying palm trees while Lily does the hula.
4. I read more pages from 2010-11. There are exhortations to myself
to get moving-to overcome stasis. to get moving. I throw pages out and keep only the dreams. These are the only things of interest-like the one of the earth gyres that inspired this painting. Only later did I realize it was a tribute to my ex-boss and dear friend Doug, who passed away from cancer 40 years after exposure to Agent Orange during the Viet Nam war.
The image of the twin gyres spiraling like whirlpools on the earth somehow seems related to this dilemma of intention versus receptivity. Or maybe Doug is simply telling me to get off my ass and get to work.
5. I told Lily before she left for Hawaii that its best not to stick to a set itinerary. Better to go with the flow, and adjust to circumstances over which you have no control (like volcanoes.) I might well have been speaking to myself as regards writing. After faced with a week of my own dark thoughts, negativity and acedia (sloth), I’ve decided to surrender to he natural ebb and flow of ideas and, like the ancient poets, call upon the muses for their aid in meeting the self-imposed weekly deadline for my blog post.
Today is overcast. The wind blows dark masses of cloud northward past the cell phone tower that looms overhead like an Archon whose only duty is to arrest my flights of prose. Dark clouds fly past the cell tower looming overhead like an Archon whose sole duty is to arrest my flights of prose.
Maybe I’ll go clean the galley on my boat, Old Hand, or lay some dark hue on a fresh canvas and invite the muse into my fortress of solitude on the farm.
7. Why not write something? I resolve to have courage in the face of the blank page. I shall summon fortitude, and let not my hand be stayed by the inarticulate. O Muses, grant me a loftier theme! Inspire my oft-times loopy pen to transcribe thy song. Or at least not let my computer crash.