Outlets or Inlets?

Recently, I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert which contains thoughts about the creative process, writers, writing, and challenges to the creative life. I never finished Eat, Pray, Love, but I really liked Big Magic.

She wrote about the importance of finding our own voices and expressing ourselves. The term “creative outlet” was used often. I got to thinking about creative outlets in my life such as playing the piano, writing, and dabbling I’ve done with painting and other arts over the years. These experiences help me in the moment to feel present and even happy. They do give me an opportunity to share something of myself.

As I thought, I decided that “creative inlets” are just as important to me. Just as inlets of water provide the right set of conditions for certain ecosystems, creative inlets provide the right set of conditions for ideas to grow, for healing to happen, and for beauty to refresh the soul.

I realized that I need to pay more attention to inlets. What am I inviting and allowing to flow inward to nourish my creative ecosystem? The world is sometimes harsh and the news brutal, but nature teaches us about seasons, ebbs and flows, and surprises us over and over with beauty. I think I need more time outside.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers and teacher-writers in this community.

Borrowing Words

I’m taking a short course with Georgia Heard on poetic forms. Last night we talked about forms of poetry that are created by borrowing words from other writers. Some in the class said they felt like they were cheating by borrowing, but I found it really fun and stimulating. T.S. Eliot said, “Good writers borrow; great writers steal.” I didn’t know that he borrowed heavily from other writers when he wrote “The Wasteland.”

For my practice, I turned to one of my new favorite books, WORLD OF WONDERS, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Her writing about natural phenomena is gorgeous. I was sure I would find words to borrow there.

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

Here is my FOUND POEM after “Firefly” in WORLD OF WONDERS:

Firefly

The first glimmer-pop of firefly light,
electric dress,
a small flame sputtering
erratic flashes of light
through the navy blue pause
just moments after twilight.

Such a degree of tenderness
the quiet reassurance
their light rhythm
recalibrates
sending out their love-light signals
a lime glow to the summer night air.

A community of teacher-writers.