The poem “Seeing” popped into my head while I was reflecting upon the way I felt about a man who told me he loved me…and then who chose to not act upon his feelings.
I eventually came to believe that he said he was in love with me just for the “thrill” of it and in order to stroke his own ego.
Because he speaks a lot about the subject of love, I wrote this poem in response to what, I thought, was his hypocrisy. In the relatively brief interaction I had with him, my own ideas about love changed quite a lot, and I began to think of him as a used-car salesman.
Sometimes an idea for a poem will start rattling around in my head in a way that becomes very, very distracting.
The only way to make the rattling go away is for me to…write the poem.
The creative process has long bragged of a tint of magic, and indeed, it sometimes does feel that way. A eureka sentence or two appears on the page or a new character shimmies into your writing space and voila! Magic, right?
Maybe, sort of. And if you want to believe that, go for it! But although wise folk have suspected as much for a long time, neuroscientists are reaffirming one of the paths to creativity—relaxation. When brain waves slow to an alpha state as opposed to a busy, busy, busy, firing-away beta state, wonderful associations emerge from our subconscious.
Like the cow, the writer ruminates. The writer takes in the fodder of life and digests it in the subconscious. There it lies waiting for release. When the writer relaxes, words flow.
Here’s something I was delighted to discover: Cows are Zen masters. They’ve been known to utter the sound that is spelled mu rather than moo.
Mu is a Zen koan. A koan is a paradox that Buddhist monks meditate on. They hope the process will lead to intuitive enlightenment. When writing, you can choose to relax and produce. Mu (or Moo) is about stepping aside so that your creative spark has a free connection to the page. It’s about staying out of your way and finding your way. Free your creativity, and you will delight in the debut of stories you’ll discover hidden inside.
from a column first published at femalefirst.co.uk.