I do my best writing in bed. There is no pen or paper involved. Neither stories of salacious bedroom abandon. I’m in bed, at the precipice of sleep and awake and I’m talking to myself without a sound. My mind is fluid as sap, coasting slowly among inchoate wormholes, cul-de-sacs of thought that spark momentary clarity amid the inky darkness. I find puzzle pieces in some, imagery and perfect metaphors in others.
Whether I drift into sleep or awaken too quickly, I could lose sight of intuition's narrow light. Dreams might further the vision or not. More likely, I am sitting at my desk later that morning, eyes clenched tightly, mind grasping at the tether to ideas that withers without apology into daylight.
In a article for Lit Hub called How the Witchcraft of Clarice Lispector Saved My Life, about her book, “The Passion According to G.H.” Scott Esposito writes,
“You cannot see the world with such a fresh and penetrating gaze if you are not very aware of your own limitations and personal failings. Nor can you make the search for truth and authenticity such a defining fact of your literature...if you do not approach your art with humility.”
There’s a lot more to this article, about three pages more, but this quote struck me on two particular points. Reading is essential to my craft and so is humility.
He calls “great literature” a “reality check.” I assert that plain good writing works, but we have to be humble enough to realize that one can find words of meaning on the lowliest billboard if paying attention.
I don’t consider myself a writer in particular. I use the umbrella of ‘artist’ to point its framework in many directions, writer has its useful coexistence with student, teacher, traveler, maker, reader, spirit and rebel - each claiming temporary dominance depending on the storm winds, but all playing fairly under this canopy.
Most of the time.
I must approach my work with humility, nose to the needle, day in, day out, trusting that my purpose is to be with the cloth. Or the book or making the bed or cooking dinner. Or pushing forward when doors slam at you or do nothing at all at that moment but make you wait. Humble, too, is when that door opens and the waiting stops for a minute, and I am utterly surprised at the outcome. And grateful. And still in my pajamas.