Trust Doing & Making & Working

Today, this spot-on post from Seth Godin:

The enemy of creativity…

is fear.

We’re all born creative, it takes a little while to become afraid.

A surprising insight: an enemy of fear is creativity. Acting in a creative way generates action, and action persuades the fear to lighten up.

-Seth Godin


Like Godin, I believe in action. I put my faith and trust in doing and making and work.

I don’t care for the term “writer’s block,” which I consider a misnomer and a myth. Better to call the sensation of stuck or stalled by the name Fear or Resistance or Laziness or even Lack of Commitment. It’s okay to feel all of these things. We do. We’re human. But what can we to do about it?

Here’s something that I rely upon almost every day, and especially when weary or bogged down in well-worn grooves: Reading. I read books that restore Real Joy through immersion in another’s imagination at play.

I read until I am renovated. Until I’ve washed myself clean of self-pity or despair or ambivalence. Writing is action. Reading is action. If you’re stuck: Do something. Reading is something you can DO.

I tell my students  to read carefully or carelessly, but to let faithfulness in the experience of reading banish the stuck, the self-focused fussing, the over-exaggerated angst. Read for sentences and images that spark the part that wants and needs to write. Spark desire. Spark flames. It works every time. Trust it and it will serve you when you need it. Read daily: why not spark often?

Yesterday, I read these few words in a poem by James Schuyler and now I can’t stop thinking about them.

“And is it stamina
that unseasonably freaks
forth a bluet . . .”
Read the whole flower of the poem, “Bluet” over at The Poetry Foundation.
Of course they lead me to my notebook. The first step: copy out the phrase. (And then it’s on.)
Last week it was these lines from “So Many Lives” by John Ashbury that lodged in my mind:
Sometimes I get radiant drunk when I think of and/or look at you
Upstaged by our life, with me in it.
[Watch/listen to artist Robert Montgomery as he recites the poem imperfectly, from the heart.}

poetry matters. join the conversation.

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poetry matters. join the conversation.

join my community