The original poem in several versions was high on my playlist
from all that walking but not one of them was carrying
the right kind of tune . . . – from “The Next Attempt Will Be Meta-Poetical” by Eloise Klein Healy
That line – “the original poem . . . was high on my playlist” rang like a bell inside my chest when I read it this morning. . . when was the last time my work was “high on my playlist?” When was the last time it was not squeezed into spaces or outshouted by other work? When did I last take my work on a walk – as Eloise says elsewhere in this poem?
When was my baseline of thought last about my creative work and not about clients or bosses or the long list of things I had to do?
I can’t remember when that time last was.
But it needs to be again. When I have a few minutes of time to just think, I want my mind to fly to my work in progress, to dwell there and noodle (I love that expression.). I want my default mode to be colorful and creative – not the computer gray that the word default implies.
I’m reading Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts, and over and over again, I find myself affirmed – in my loathing of phone calls and groupwork and interruption, in my preference for hours and hours of interrupted time to think and work and focus, in the way my creativity feels strongest – most ebullient with color – when I have hours each day to do nothing but think and write.
I have deprived myself of that time lately.
My hours are spent with billing questions and email claims and the moderation of comments. Lately, I have been giving more of my creative thinking time to my clients than to my own work, which is not to say that such gifts are bad, but surely, they must be equal – as much of the sparkle of fresh thought to my own projects as to theirs.
I need a reset.
I am honored to call Eloise Klein Healy teacher and friend, and so when I read her words in this poem, I see her – white hair tousled, a stick grasped from the canyon road in her right hand, the sapphire blue I somehow hold as her color across her shoulders. I can see her noodling that poem, and I am envious of her noodle for she is brilliant and compassionate and strong.
So come January 1, I am carving more space in my day – as I have again and again and will do yet again – for just being, just thinking, for just staring out the window or wandering the quiet roads near the farm.
I am resetting my baseline, coloring it bold with bright blues and greens, opening it wide to the prism of life and having creativity form my foundation.
I want – I ache to have my thoughts flit back to the words, not the lists. So I must make that happen.
What do you need in your life in order for your creativity to flourish?
My dear friend Shawn Smucker released his new book The Day the Angels Fell today, and he’s got a great contest happening over at his blog. Stop by to enter.