WildWrite ReVision: Climbing Through to Poem
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With the accumulated losses of knowns, the imagination is faced with the problem of preserving the world through internalization, then keeping the unknowns in the poem. I believe the loss of knowns accounts for the increasing number of people writing poems
Good art is a form of prayer. It is a way to say what is not sayable.
No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.
I was thinking recently about stuck places and leaps, leaps of faith, and leaps inside poems. And leaps inside our lives as artists, writers, as our authentic selves. And risk. The place where stuck meets faith, and we take the leap.
I asked my son, Cassidy, about his process in rockclimbing; the realtime, at-risk, side of a rockface thing. His passion and practice since childhood, starting with a climb, at the age of 9, in the mountains of Northern New Mexico, up to Truchas Peak, with best friend, Max Schoen. How did those boys, when they asked us to drive them to the trailhead, in January, even KNOW they wanted to do such a thing? And in snow, yet?
They just did - born to it! They assured us they had arranged to rent snow shoes in town! So, when I turn, so many years later, to ask Cassidy about his lifelong love, his Way in this world, I am definitely going to a Higher Authority!
When we are writing, we can get stuck in – caught by -the subtle and seductive grooves of our own process, or even, not so radically, just merely know we need to press the Refresh button. On ourselves!
Maybe we are stuck in a piece of writing we have struggled to re-see, or, by a word …a line…a stanza…a chapter… driving us nuts…or, ahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh, in our lives!
Maybe we are wondering if our “Style”, as musician-songwriter, John Hartford, he of lightning fiddle and riverboat singing fame, so brilliantly and slyly observed, “is based on limitation”, is actually holding us back.
We know - somehow…somewhere -we need to find New Voice.
We need to see and say the New and not-yet-realized. But how? Ah, the mystery inherent in the Creative Act!
How do we move, make that change that must be made? How do we get to… we don’t know where…? Knowing only…. that we need to, must…go?
Cassidy, and his wild fellows, clinging to the mysterious faces of mountains, traversable only by direct, perseverant respect, and Grace, bring to us, with their practiced strength, agility and RockWisdom, something very important. They know steep, and stopped…in their bones!
I asked him what he did at that exact moment of halt, that nexus point of decision: looking upward, sideways, back down, to find the next step, the next, maybe smallest (though not always!) possible move. I asked him to de-construct his process, knowing there was a huge clue for us, inside this.
So, imagine yourself Stuck! Firstly, our most important resource is becoming utterly Present, Right there, Right Then, in the stuckness.
And ask, how could change, any change, take place? We must Shift…our weight!
This frees something: a hand, a foot, a finger, a knee, a wedged hip. And this freeing automatically gives us a set of different choices! So: Shift!
Now, whatever we have freed from cling, and claw and stuck, can Reach, out, up, over, down. The point is, again, options have opened, and we move in the direction that has become newly available.
How you might ask, does this translate to writing?
By seeing our stuckness inside our work, that moment we are caught, hung on a word or line, that is not IT, and is not going anywhere, as a product of our clinging, our investment in staying where we are: our leaning all our weight there. And our stuckness feels almost as if it was a kind of safety.
Interesting!!! On a rockface, it might mean you won’t fall, but you won’t be going anywhere either! Same in your writing!
So – move off the point you are trying so hard to make, and say that thing you didn’t know you were going to - had to - say. Caught between two choices, two words? A duality, a polarity, is an arrested moment in the poem’s - anything’s - Journey towards itself. Find a third option– the Surprise – and take that!
Then! Astonishing! And heartbreakingly gorgeous: What then, do you think, we do - Yes, of course, at each point, Breathe is a good answer, but here, oh, here…the next, the very next thing we are called to, what is deeply asked from us Brave Wild ones is to:
Extraordinary!!! Amazing…It’s so obvious! Of course! Whatever we have chosen, Commit! 100%! Now is the no half-measure moment! Choose, and Move!
Throw your heart into what your BodyMind, or what your MindBody has chosen! Say Yes to the Moment, to the Way that your willingness to abandon yourself to this possibility, has Given, has offered, has shown. Stay there and Shine through! Shine There! Right there: Write there!
Ahh, how much more delicious than freedom…is the Possible! Nothing as delicious as the skip-de-doodle away from the so-called, Inevitable!
And, then, lastly, you knew this was coming, didn’t you? Of course: Trust!
You didn’t come all this way to waffle about, to either-or it????
Right?! Unh-unh! Now is the time to summon from the core of deep self, what gets us up any mountain, through any rapids running, or into the Truth of Saying, into True Poem, into the Unknowable Next:
Trust. See in your mind the first Card of Tarot. What does the Holy Fool bring so brilliantly, so utterly wisely, to the beginning of any Adventure?
The Sine Qua Non for Artists, for any and each of us that has ever stood, at the edge, heart on our sleeve, in longing, for what we do not yet know, can’t know, yet, for it can only be created by marrying, uniting, linking, our Longing to our willingness to Shift, to Commit and Trust, and by this very act: Hitch your wagon to a star…
And bring into Reality, what did not exist until the moment we stood, open, willing, for the Possibility, the Arrival, of the Miraculous: the Wholly New. A moment made and offered, shaped and accepted, at the sweet, deep heart of Mystery: the truly Creative act, whether of Art, or Ourselves.
Shift, Reach, Commit, Trust
A Secret known to us BeautyMakers, us Fools of Love.
For how else can it ever be, in Poems, in Art, in our wild wild, lives?