I want to write. Really I do. I enjoy it, and feel so much better inside when I manage to do it.
And yet, and yet…
It’s Sunday evening and I haven’t touched the keyboard since Friday. December is the busy month, and I have been preparing for the joyful end of it, preparing for family arriving, and presents to be opened, and food to be consumed. We love Christmas in EBL Towers, in a kind of pagan, mid-winter way, celebrating life and light and warmth when the evidence of our eyes as we look out the window is that the world is cold and dark and still. We thumb our noses at the wintry depths, so as the wheel turns and the solstice meets our deepest wish for abundance, growth and fresh greens, we are joyful.
I was relaxing after my yoga practice today and thinking about how we are so connected with the wheel of life. When I get to the relaxation at the end of the exercises, I breathe deeply and let myself go out into the world, let the boundaries between me and everything else fall away. I remember that we are all stardust, and get quite hippy in the head. Today I listened to hear what the world was doing on a frosty Sunday morning.
There was an occasional car going down the lane, although none came past our house. A few birds were chirping in the branches of the lilac tree, or scrabbling at the roof tiles. Pesky sparrows; they add an extra layer of insulation to the house though so I should be grateful. The world was quiet and listening too, so we listened together for a little while.
Even as I lay there, reaching out, the listening became a listing which began to write itself on the wall of my mind. “Laundry,” it said authoritatively. “Then wrap presents and finish knitting that hot water bottle cover you want to give to Person Who Likes Knitted Stuff. Dust and tidy. Hang up wet laundry, put in the next load. Do mother’s lunch. Sort out the box of stuff to be unpacked. Order the flowers for Friend Who has Everything. Send that recipe to Person Who Wants to Make Cheesecake. Make fish and sweet potato curry. Wash up. And oh yes, if you really must, check your blog and finish that novel.”
Well, my dears, I haven’t got through the list at all. My goodness me, I have not. But EBL is a hippy frood, who not only knows where her towel is, but put it through the wash and has a nice clean one out on the towel rail already. EBL decided to do the list in a different order.
So here I am, my dears, writing something. I haven’t done everything on the list, but I have done the essential essentials. Then I decided the next essential was to try and write. I have put the novel on hold until after the festivities, but writing, there’s the rub. I do want to carry on with that.
Is there inspiration in laundry? Brother Lawrence might have thought so. He understood that there is inspiration in everything around us; in his case he saw it as evidence of the presence of God, but you may call it something else. If you feel that it may be true, in whatever form you find most useful or meaningful, then the trick as a writer is to tap into it, and give birth to the inspiration within, yes, even in laundry.
For myself, I find I need to reach the still, calm point within me. I cannot drown myself in words if I am already drowning in busyness.
I don’t know how it might work for you. While I can’t hear the Muse if there is too much noise and bustle around me, I can imagine other people find it exhilarating and powerful to be surrounded by activity and chatter and commotion, and that the energy wakens and liberates their own experiences so that their words then flow.