Sunday, April 29, 2012

Action Brings Good Fortune

Photo by cybaea .  licensed under
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.
Today is one of those days where writing feels like a labor instead of a liberating trip into the exalted sky of the mind.  You may be wondering why I am bothering to write then?  A fair question.  I'm writing because I am hoping that by doing so I may again discover that spark that will lead to inspiration.  There is a passage in the I-Ching that was quoted by Syd Barrett in a Pink Floyd song, and has stuck with me over the years: "action brings good fortune".  I've found this to be true in my life, so here I am listening to some secret, magical music and writing my way in search of The Muse like a desperate man stumbling through a hedge maze.

I try to take a zen approach to my writing.  And I really can't complain about feeling uninspired because I had a very fruitful writing week last week.  My unconscious must have been digging for story ideas, because by this past Friday I was creatively spent.  I haven't hit a creative nadir like this in quite some time.  I guess the lows come with the highs...  In response I've just hunkered down and tried to have faith that the feeling will pass.  I do find it disconcerting to feel so powerless.  I sometimes find myself wondering whether there's a chance that inspiration may have passed me by for good.  But it always seems to come back.  I feel it's important to respect and cherish the magic in the creative process.  I think taking things for granted is one of the biggest risks in life, and maybe a core source of writer's block.  Historian Arnold Toynbee once said: "nothing fails like success".  So I always entertain my doubts--I never try to squelch them.  It means that I'm never truly comfortable, but I think it also prevents me from falling into habits that could lead to unfortunate outcomes.

Life is often like a hedge maze.  I like to think that, if we're wise, we sometimes find ladders to look over the walls, and help ourselves to determine the right choices.  But sometimes--inevitably--we are forced into choices that are less informed.  Life comes at us like a wild-eyed, axe-wielding Jack Nicholson, and we don't have the luxury of long, measured decisions.  Again, "action brings good fortune".  Brain locking into analysis paralysis at these moments is usually far worse than a quick decision.  The Jack Nicholson in my life is usually my day job, which often causes me to dash and stumble through my writing life.  But Jack is a necessary and positive component of my existence, despite his demonstrable insanity.

I'm getting fairly close to being able to start writing Hemlock Book III now.  That's actually a fairly amazing statement since my intention has been to take several months off before starting to write.  But completing Book II hasn't left me with the same feeling of satisfaction as completing Book I did.  Book II has a bit of an "Empire Strikes Back" syndrome going on.  The events of Book III are pulling me forward like a tractor beam.  I just have to write them as soon as possible!  Like the early onset of spring here on the east coast of the United States, it seems that I'm in the process of an early resumption of earnest novel writing.

Well, this blog post is almost over now.  And I think it had a purpose after all.  I certainly feel better for having written it.  Thank you for reading it!

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