Road blocks, creativity blocks, block heads…It’s a mindbender how often we stumble into the crevices of mental-logjam hell. Where you can’t get past step: what the hell is wrong with me? We’ve all encountered it and I have a theory about why. I think it’s a kind of, forgot who we are blockage.
I don’t mean traumatic amnesia or movement away from some great metaphysical understanding, not that those couldn’t be the issue. I mean by forgetting the simplest of our own self-connection, barring an osis attached to our psyches. I’m sure this isn’t new thought, but I landed on it while catching a breather.
I’ve had a few years of weaving around so many traumas that at times, I wasn’t sure I was still in the realm of general reality. It was hard work to get through that and one of my key coping tools was writing. I wrote out everything. I put it into journals, onto my blog, worked it into comments for online stories, into letters to friends. I wrote as though I was being chased by some spade-tailed catastrophic, disaster-delivering satan ready to fork me the minute I put my pen down.
Clearly, I wasn’t suffering from any blockage throughout all that. But – it was within this flurry of activity that I realized something. So much of what I was writing really didn’t have to do with the actual events that had occurred as much as what they activated in the storage room of my life.
One single lived moment can trigger a cascading torrent of imagination. A few incredible moments that shake us up to levels unknown can offer years of material. They needn’t have been traumatic, just the kind that opens up something, a doorway to that kaleidoscopic onion of infinite colors that is our subconscious.
We’ve all had them, these events, but we can’t really know how they will affect us when they occur. Sometimes, despite even our best efforts to forget them, memory will continue to haunt as though a living character in some perverse corner of the universe stuck on auto-replay. Relentless input, a consciousness stalker and its flying monkeys.
As a writer, any of these flashy inspirations can initiate a series of songs, poems, stories, or a simple chronicle of the event detailing what, why and how we were affected. They can induce flow for anyone – a photographer hits on a fantastic series of scenes to shoot. A politician may find that ideal answer to policy, the cure for cancer will attach to a researcher, the anybody who may unlock a talent long ignored, maybe bogged in banal duty or years of focused yakking about exes or bad bosses.
Conversely, there is another inspiration reality that’s just as effective, but seems to be less courted. Remember Newton, relativity, equal action/reaction? As much as huge events of any type can inspire, so can a simple minute of letting go and shutting up.
I suppose I’ve been learning that we really don’t have to search for inspiration; not when there are literally thousands of moments already in storage ready for excavating. Every one of our memories are multi-faceted jewels and each face has absorbed a song, a smell, a sound, a texture. Each is available and waiting. The only key to their door is closing the gate to absolutely everything else for a matter of mere minutes.
It’s a bit of practice initially, just letting thoughts float around, then up, then away… and wait. There will be no sudden heraldic choir announcement that it’s time to get your ass to the grindstone & forge the greatest creation ever. At least not typically, but if we wait a few minutes, the creation is there, ready. It will seep out timidly or flood our receptors, but either way, we’ll have achieved a nice BM, as in blockage movement. Yes, just as satisfying as any other.
Bottom line: rest is a requirement of the creative process, not a death sentence. So, shut up and let your muses get through to you. Or so they tell me… Mine mince no words. Ever.