Sunday, September 30, 2012

Writer's Toolkit: Inspiration to Perservere

 Barbara O'Neal wrote a while ago on Writer Unboxed about a poem that inspired her to persevere with her writing.  The poem is: On Leaving Mt. Baldy.

As is the way of all poetry, a different phrase jumped out at me:

I came down from the mountain after many years of rigorous practice.
I left my robes hanging on a peg in the room where I had sat so long and slept so little.
I finally understood that I had no gift for Spiritual Matters.

And then the poet enters the traffic on the Santa Monica freeway and drives off (or, probably more accurately, creeps along in stop-and-go traffic) toward L.A.

Practice of any discipline (spiritual, artistic or otherwise) should not be an escape from Real Life. If that's what the artist is trying to do, she's headed for trouble. Discipline should support and enhance the practitioner's real life.

Maybe getting in that line of traffic is a kind of discipline: the discipline of showing up and living in the moment, in the Real World, not on some mountaintop retreat. 

My Journey as a writer may not be a mountain top experience (at least not often). It's more often a matter of sucking exhaust and hoping I might soon go fast enough to turn on the A/C.  But, it's my Journey, and I'll take it wherever it leads me.

No comments:

Post a Comment