where to go when you are stuck . . .
So I emptied the packet into the mug, poured hot water onto it, and a poem sprang forth like a goddess from a skull. Or a dinosaur from a little capsule. Or a lightning bug from a jar. Let’s just say it was most like one of those things, and you get to decide which one.
Or let’s say there was no packet, because really there wasn’t. What I did have was an old magazine that I paged through for about fifteen minutes, from start to finish, stopping to cut out any words that grabbed my attention.
And then I took five minutes to make those words into a poem, glue-sticking them into my journal.
And then, I took a line from the poem and did a free write for five minutes. Okay, I took a couple of lines because I’m a more is better kind of girl. The free write had that delicious quality of feeling like I was channeling something, the feeling that only happens when I really let go of the internal critics and the supposed to’s and just let the words come out.
Sometimes getting to that point seems futile, like Sisyphus kind of futile or like the having every single part of my apartment sparkly clean at the same time kind of futile. But in writing, I’ve found one clear way out of the struggle, and it’s through the Playdome.
Doing the magazine poem took me out of my head and into the Playdome, which is a little bit of a cross between a playpen and Thunderdome because you’re just as likely to find teddy bears or Mel Gibson there.
If you’re stuck, I highly recommend a trip to the Playdome. For me, most often, being stuck is about thinking too much. Thinking (especially when it comes to revising) matters in writing, but it’s not what keeps me moving. What keeps me moving is passion, yearning, dreaming, playing. And I think there’s truth here beyond writing.
When you reach a brick wall of thought, and you’ve banged your head into for a long and agonizing time, the only way through might just be to play: pretend you are a ninja and kick the crap out of it; imagine yourself some wings to fly up over; stick your tongue out at it and run in another direction.
This week, I wish you playfulness, in your writing and your living. And may you find more Tina Turner and less Mel Gibson in your Playdome.
Also, below is my magazine word poem; I love her.
Orion touched the tips of your fingers
from outside fate.
Pent-up tears of mermaids conjoined,
making light shine
Sacred digging in grain,
Surprise: Prayer Time,
Back in 10 min.
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