Excerpts from Writing with Your Ever-Present Muse
01 Everything Feels New Again
You let go of what you know--all of it--and become a beginning writer again. A greenhorn, a tenderfoot. Wide-eyed.
Some deep impulse, some playful curiosity pulls you towards the blank page now. A tabula rasa, like you.
And so, you enter the writing dream, pulsing with mystery, shimmering with aliveness.
The writing begins innocently, like the first breath of spring.
Old assumptions slough off their mangy winter coats, revealing soft underbellies. Frozen thoughts melt. They trickle into your fingers, warm and clear. Rivulets to rivers. Tightly budded words break their casings and burst onto your canvas.
Brimming with meaning, the dream pours through your fingers and onto the page.
With some invisible part of yourself, you feel your way through the page. Word by word. Filling it with your passion, with palpable sights and sounds.
Your writing feels alive, shot through with wonder and the felt sense of things.
Wonder sets itself over and against the familiar, the predictable, the conventional, the habitual, the anaesthetic of the humdrum. It makes us feel radically alive and enlivens our writing. We can cultivate a sense of wonder by setting our views and expertise on the shelf and looking at things with childlike eyes. In so doing, there is room for the ever-present muse to work its magic.
Attune: Let curiosity overtake you. Invite your ever-present muse to surprise you.
Focus: Place a familiar object in front of you. Close your eyes until all is black. Open your eyes. Gaze at the object as if it has just materialized. With your nonphysical sense of touch, feel its shape and colours (or choose your own focus). Set your timer for seven minutes.
Write: There is a feeling of... (or create your own prompt). Riff with the wind at your back, without pausing, anticipating, second-guessing or revising. Keep your hand or fingers moving at a brisk pace.
Verify: Read your writing aloud. Listen for aliveness. If you are writing with others and sharing your writing, request this response: "I came alive when..."
Unfold: What does this writing stir in you? Allow your awareness to open.
75 Silence and Sound, Undivided
Come back with me to the soundstage, says your ever-present muse. To the playground where your sound harmonizes with other sounds. Divides into many sounds. Then symphonizes into one potent sound that disrupts the status quo.
Confidently, your presence expands in all directions, letting the voice speak what the mind conceives, the heart embraces, the soul desires, and the world needs.
For you, writing is more than words. It is a transformative vessel for self, reader, and world. It is intimately connected with who you are and with who you are becoming. In this way, you live inside the word, even as the word lives inside you. You write the word, and it writes you.
Naturally, you pick only the freshest words, lashed together with light, pregnant with possibility. Words that embrace the personal and political. Words that make room for diversity and interdependence. Words that flow from a greater sense of what it means to be fully human.
With deft hands, and with your ever-present muse, you stitch a conjugal quilt--for writer, reader, word, and world. Within its folds, intimacy meets radical intimacy. Gossamer threads of spoken and unspoken worlds interpenetrate. This undividedness of sound and silence, so present in you now.
A pause, a breath, a smile. Then, something new appears, inviting you to open your awareness. Once again, you let go of what you know, and catch the first glimpse, the first whisper, the first taste of a new spring. A spring that erupts in your bones and calls you to rise.
Great performers transmit the best of their consciousness when they pour out their souls, embrace the whole of human experience, bring us back to ourselves, dissolve the separation between artist and audience, and inspire the audience to move in poetic unity. When it matters, we writers can do the same. We can inspire social movements, gather separate currents into one stream, and foment change. In this, the ever-present muse helps us discern when our writing is ready, the audience is ripe, the forum is prime, and the timing is auspicious.
Attune: Inhabit your innate wholeness. Invite your ever-present muse to uncork you.
Focus: Lean towards readers who have been waiting for your presence (or choose your own focus). Set your time for seven minutes.
Write: What calls me... (or create your own prompt). Close the gap between you and your audience. Pour yourself onto the page. Write presence to presence.
Verify: Read your writing aloud. Sense what moves you. If you are writing with others and sharing your writing, request this response: "What moved me..."
Unfold: What does this writing want to become? Allow your awareness to open.