Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Negative Capability

Writer's Block

Bedside
she kept
a statue of an Egyptian cat,
a dream dictionary,
a rhyming dictionary,
at least five pens,
scissors,
peppermints,
a small crowbar,
a bottle of rosewater,
and headache pills.

And under the bed,
her notebook
gone blank
seven months.

She had nouns,
but no verbs,
not even dreams
of falling.

My poem, "Writer's Block" is a compendium of sorts, borrowing from my own and writer friends' experiences of feeling stuck. Nothing stewing, nothing happening, at least on the paper's surface. Sometimes that's the way it goes. Then it is time to turn one's attention elsewhere, live well, and get on with other things. Eventually the well fills again. I have always loved the poet John Keats' theory of negative capability. That instead of reaching for facts and explanations, we should learn to dwell in mystery and be receptive. Creativity is such a mystery. It can be cultivated, even courted, but there is also an aspect to the divine spark that remains elusive. If there were no mystery to it, I don't think we would be as motivated to manifest our creativity. When I am making art, it unfolds before me (or not). I usually have no clear idea of the whole thing. Just glimmers. Then in the course of making a creation, I find out what it and I want to say. Yes, I can have intentions, but prefer chasing the unknown. And so it goes......

"If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." - Leonard Cohen

Assemblage by KAO: Love Shrine for Leonard Cohen, created for the Crafty Chica Love Shrine Challenge on Flickr.

No comments: