I used to fear those absence-of-inspiration times, too. But one of the advantages of getting older – and it took illness to show me this, as so often happens – is that I'm wiser, at last, about taking 'being' time; and, in relation to poetry, recognising that not only do we need time for the well to fill up again before we can expect to draw water from it, but also and most crucially time for simply being receptive to – well, anything and everything. This is a critical part of the creative process; it's not all about transmission.
Printing out course materials for a new participant, I came across this quote from William Stafford.
‘A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had started to say them. That is, he does not draw on a reservoir; instead, he engages in an activity that brings to him a whole succession of unforeseen stories, poems, essays, plays, laws, philosophies, religions, or …
This is from The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart; in my view, one of the most inspiring anthologies out there. It's edited by that wonderful vital and insightful trio of wild men: Robert Bly, James Hillman, and Michael Meade.
|'...Now that my ladder's gone,
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.'
I hope to be back on the blog before I leave for France; or if not, from there.
Meantime, enjoy the last of the summer, wherever you are...