Creating things.

It seems I have neglected this blog. I think that is probably okay. I am not making any promises to be much better. Consistency has always been a struggle of mine, though really, I want more than anything to be consistent and hardworking. I imagine myself writing for 8 hours a day without interruption and then heading straight to an imaginary studio and painting for a few more hours. I think I could get a lot done, maybe make a real contribution, but then I realize that I am not probably ever going to do that because that is not me, and it is not how I function. You might not ever know this if I invited, as I obligate Carl every Sunday evening to sit down with me and make the weeks goals. I make goals as if I were a creature that needed no social interaction, or fun, or unstructured time to run about in the mountains of Provo. I guess then, I am consistent in at least one thing: I consistently make goals that are beyond my reach or capacity to fulfill.

I wonder if some of this inability to sit down and write for hours at a time comes from fear. Alright, I don' t wonder that; I know that. I know precisely that my avoidance of a good long sit-down of writing comes from the fear that I will create something terrible, ridiculous, already said, boring, cliched, etc... In all reality, I adore sitting down to write, and for heaven sakes, I actually have the time at this point in my life to do just that, but I am so often deterred by fear. I've been teaching the creative writing class for teen girls. The first day I was so touched by their enthusiasm and eagerness that I honestly had to tell them that the poem we were reading out loud just really got to me, hence the tears in my eyes. I did like the poem, but more than that, I was amazed at this group of young girls who were so willing and without inhibition. We did a writing exercise, and they wrote for 45 minutes without stopping, even when Zippy was obnoxiously licking a bone on the floor in front of us. I've been thinking a lot about them lately. I want to create without self-imposed filters. I think I need the words of this beloved poem to be a little more present in my own life.

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


Holly-girl said...

Thank you again for a lovely afternoon ... such a pleasure to meet you, as I knew it would be! I, too, love this poem ... I have a special place in my heart for Mary Oliver's poetry. She's a rare gem, that one.

pandabeard said...

you're the one that introduced me to mary oliver. so wonderful.

cath said...

oh dear ash. thank you for this poem and for a new courage to sit down and write!

lia said...

this - this is so hard. there are so many barriers (large, chasmic, and even trembling barriers) that keep me from picking up a pen or a book or a paintbrush and force me instead to do something easy, like put in my laundry or take care of a chore or two. it takes so much bravery to start again, knowing that you might make something completely terrible. and sometimes it feels like i can't be quite brave enough.