It's been a few weeks since I've driven the half hour for the weekly two hour writing sessions begun in September. Last Wednesday while on the phone with a friend, he asked, "Why didn't you go to The Sanctuary today?" I responded, "Well so few of the people in the original writing group even show up anymore, not having anybody to connect with, I just decided to stay home again." I heard a pause, then this: "I thought you went there to connect with yourself."
And so today I drove to The Sanctuary to write.
Although the work on my novel has been temporarily suspended while I work on this other book I started 5 weeks ago, my focus on regular writing has actually increased rather than decreased. In fact, I now write every day. (Which means that in just over a month, I've drafted one and a half times the number of words that 8 months of weekly novel writing had yielded.) So the writing is good. However, once I got here today, I realized that the balance has been missing.
After talking about "creative impulse" and "drive" with the friend who was working in pastels, he left, and I sat down to write. Once more I was alone here. As I wrote, frenzied fingers flying through the 797 words that quickly came, I realized music was playing. The kind of music that will affect you if you let it.
Which is when I stopped writing, put my hands in my lap and kind of drifted away, to No Place In Particular But It's Really Nice There, Too Bad I Don't Visit More Often.
A while later, I looked around and noticed a book on the table in front of me I'd never seen before. It was Victor Gadliardi's Turning Point: Images to Words. I recommend you click the link and take a look. I became lost in the photos and accompanying quotes, until I paused to go find out what music was playing.
I'm listening to Peter Davison's Solace: Peaceful Rhythms and Sounds to Calm the Mind. Which is far more fitting than I am able to tell you.
Although I've been conducting my life at A High Level Of Energy And Productivity in recent weeks, sometimes working well into the evenings after beginning first thing in the morning, once more, I've done that thing I do. That thing in which I forget to sit and be. I'm not talking about the times I've exhausted myself and decided to veg out in front of the TV or a movie once I'm done with my work. No no. Not that. I'm talking about the times when we make the conscious decision to remove all that distraction and make the time for contemplation and solitude. For solace.
Having gotten the gist of what I wanted to write today, I'm giving myself a gift. Until the artist/writer I'm meeting with in 15 minutes or so gets here, I'm going to not write anymore today. I'm going to just sit. And listen. And be. And connect with myself. I'm already feeling better.
Although there is a lingering, whispering sense of a question that repeats itself: Why do you have to learn this lesson again and again? How many times until you get the message? And to that I say, I guess as many times as it takes...