Wait for the magic to happen.
This is apparently one of my new favorite phrases. It applies to innumerable situations. Bedtime. Coffee brewing time. Post-workout why in the name of goodness did I think that was a good idea time. I may have uttered it yesterday when we dumped gasoline on a log full of ants and stepped back.
And writing time. Take tired, grumpy, uninspired Emily. Add sleep, coffee, peace, quiet (alternatively, music), and internet access. Insta-creator. It’s magical. Reliable. Heck, I could DO this.
Some days the words dry up, the magic flees, and the coffee shop is just a coffee shop and there’s an old man screaming about polar bears and nothing will come. There is no sacrament or wonder, no hilarity in old people screaming, no promise of significance to this work and already the time is up and the espresso is gone and the holy did not arrive in the bottom of my coffee cup.
I spent four years writing like a scholar — when inspiration mattered little. You sat down, you forced it. You took down that blank screen by sheer force of the will. Then I married a poet. He sits, motionless, stares unseeing at the wall. We used to have “study dates” in college, and I’d work furiously away with my phonetics and anthologies, and he would just slouch in his seat and wait for his muse.
I asked him once, after he’d slouched a while before his blank notebook, “Are you going to work?” He said, “I am.”
It seems to me that I should be able to learn, share, learn, share. The cycle should obviously work this way, if we’re ever to make good things, and if we all can’t get PhD’s just to speak a little truth well.
The trouble is that sometimes the digestion takes longer than is convenient, the truths a little longer to hunt down, and the bravery a little longer to work up.
Maybe I should be author enough to read things like this (trigger warnings for . . . everything) and still dutifully post about French doors. Or Christian or spiritual or optimistic enough to read these accounts of unspeakable darkness and choose only to talk about the one ray of hope filtering into the lives of the victims and use whatever is noble and pure as a good enough reason to stop listening.
Here’s the thing though. It’s not good enough. And this is closer to all of us than we’d like to think. And no holy coffee experience of mine is going to grant me the wisdom or grace to speak well about this and if I’d like to address it at all then I need to keep my nose in my books and blogs and keep caring, keep weeping with, keep letting the magic and self-imposed due-dates for blog posts pass me by for something better. Whatever that looks like.
This concludes Monday’s non-post.