Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Refractions: A Second Wind

Over the next few months, I, along with some friends, will be discussing Makoto Fujimura’s “Refractions: a journey of faith, art and culture”. I’ll be posting my reflections here at simplyMagnified, and linking them to the BreatheArts Facebook page as well.  Join in the conversation, won’t you?

I have a full-time vocation that doesn’t involve writing, yet there are works within me that clamor to meet ink and paper in daylight.  Poetry is my passion, and that is a gift that visits without predictability.  Unrest organizes images that self-craft as I experience a moment or emotion. That inertia will awaken me until its resolution in verse; then I am freed and move on.  Sometimes there is no verse for months, then without warning several emerge in an hour.

Just the opposite, it’s so difficult to express my voice in composition or narrative; I usually pound overworked versions of the ideas I want to convey, then toss them. Consequently, I have ignited and abandoned a lengthier writing project several times over the last 18 months. 

“The process of creating renews my spirit, and I find myself attuned to the details of life rather than being stressed by being overwhelmed. I find myself listening instead of shouting into the void.” (page 15)

I definitely did not feel “renewed” in this creation (more like “expired”).

(Cue window into my world when I sat to write)

“Where are you stupid words?!?!?” I shout.  Daily. Hourly. Blinking at the empty screen.  Checking my email.  Checking my work email. Eating a bowl of cereal.  Blinking.
“There are none in here!  Stop looking!!” echoes back from deep within the void. 

I sighed.  I knew it.  Nothing in there…but, then, wait a minute…what had replied if the void was truly empty??

After reading this first chapter, I became fixated on the word “process”. Mako didn’t, after all, write “creating renews my spirit”, but “the process of creating renews my spirit”.

Previously, I had no process other than “write when I am inspired”, “write when I am bored”, or “don’t write but carry the bones of what you’d like to write around with you everywhere, just in case an idea drops from the tree you are walking under”.  So, I gave myself a process.

For the month of February, I committed to writing just 250 words a day for the entire month.  No editing, or even re-reading, what I wrote.  Although I didn’t write every single day, I wrote many of the days and many of the days I wrote well past 250 words. I became familiar with my tools, my words, my thoughts. I heard that reply from the void, and dug deeper behind the façade of avoidance. I reflected on and released barriers impeding my journey.  There were so many subtle voices: don’t go too deep/make yourself too vulnerable/transparent/guard your words/what do you have to say that someone hasn’t already said?  I needed to allow those thoughts to surface in my consciousness, sit with them, and let them go.  That was my process.

By writing as a more discipline, something shifted.  As Mako states: 

“Often, I am simply showing up to be in a regular rhythm of being available to create, and I may not feel creative at all. But my second wind kicks in to provide surprising moments of creative bursts.  I value these moments, allowing me clarity and focus even in the midst of a stressful day.” (pg 16)

And the creative bursts emerged.  Along with them, some joy in the words that pull together, and a confidence that there is more to come.

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