05 April 2012

Ebb and Flow

Much of the conventional wisdom I hear regarding writing is that to be a successful writer, one must write even when one feels no inspiration. Part of me knows it to be true, part of me fears it to be true. I do not take issue with that assertion.

I do believe, as so eloquently stated by the architect Le Corbusier, that "creation is a patient search".  Words that resonate in my soul as an architect and aspiring writer and photographer. This patient search can sometimes be at odds with the imperative to write at all times. I suspect that the tension between those poles has more than once been the fuel behind by creative bonfires. It can be productive but draining.

Occasionally I find myself in the grip of a story I feel I must write but find something holding me back. It is the feel of the mind straining at the leash, but the heart pulling it back and commanding it to "Sit!".  I have been at the end of that tether since the beginning of the month of April.

Tonight I ate dinner out on my porch. A lovely evening, tinged with blue light and optimism after a splendid day goofing off with my daughter. But the whispers were there. I heard the conversation between heart and mind, felt that impulse to rush to the keyboard to hammer out the story that has been nipping at me for days. I nearly gave in, even began some research as I dished up a fine bowl of ad hoc jambalaya.

But I couldn't do it. The table on the porch beckoned, the evening breeze a smile from a pretty lady, and my heart commanded my feet to carry me outside. The taskmaster in my head growled with resignation, and turned off his desk lamp before shuffling off in a huff.

I myself let go of the tension and bade myself, Eat. Rest. Be.

The story is still there, dear readers, as I knew it would be. I know my heart is right on this one. Yes, we must write as often as we can, and I will. But I will also respect my developing sense of patience, listening to my heart, because sometimes the right time for something is only known by itself. We must allow for patient creation.


  1. You know, manhood is full of "musts". Lists of the six/eight/seven keys/secrets/habits for success.

    I despair of this. Listen to your spirit. It will tell you what actually needs to be done, rather than scoldin you to do something you can't out your heart into.

  2. Like a good wine, those stories can only improve with age. I used to let my heart sing poetry and would write it down so that I would not forget it. I couldn't conceive of editing my poetry, and I never did. However, looking back on what I wrote gives me insight for my own writing. Even if you jot down your ideas, you can let those ideas ferment and inspire a better bouquet of a story.

  3. hello old friend; long time. Lovely post on the tension between 'must do' v. 'going with the flow.' I most often opt for the latter. As you say, the story will be there when your spirit joins with your mind to get it down on paper or computer screen. Dinner on the porch does indeed sound grand.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...