Here's what emerged in the midnight hours...
"Words have been rather stilled of late. Once they ran so freely I could scarce keep pace with them. Strangely, poetry often flows more easily than prose when I'm extra fatigued. It makes me wonder if we can only focus on one facet at a time: Storytelling, fiction writing, memoir, articles, functional narrative, or poetry in all its various guises.
I cannot always cajole poetry. She's capricious, wilful, shy. Her alchemy fails when I push too hard, strain for a rhyme or press to combine this word or that into magic potions of my own devising.
When I simply let her alone, ignore my desire to pen the poetic, then she returns. Quietly at first. A line or two to get me started. A word that lingers like honey on the tongue. Eventually my poetic Muse (Holy Spirit) yields a few phrases and allows me space to create. Instead of dredging for pearls, I find they flit through my fingers, scatter their largesse.
Instead of sitting with the sludge of frustration and settling into despondency, poetry's entry turns me into a deft weaver of words, spinner of rhythm and rhyme, with a sweeter expression than before.
She teaches me patience and the power of concentration mixed with creative imagination. Poetry reaches into my heart to prise apart soul feelings, stir the melting pot of emotions into a semblance of sensibility, which others can relate to.
In those times when we are together companionably, I am grateful for poetry's presence. When she departs briefly (or maybe for weeks), then I seek solace in writing of another kind.
Because I need to let loose. I cannot stop simply because poetry has temporarily pulled the plug on me. Allowing calm to come and refusing anxiety admittance will aid me to stay alert for her return. And when she arrives? I feign a little insouciance. But inside? I could cry with relief. Life is less than it can be when I'm missing poetry."
In order to keep the creative juices flowing in drier seasons I still try to write something each day—maybe a few words in a journal, a line or two that doesn't go anywhere yet, a poem that stalls but might be recoverable later on.
Several notepads sit around the house, because I'm open to inspiration arriving at any time and in numerous ways. Thankfully, God knows just how and when we need to receive it!
A little bit each day
I write a little bit each day
because life's rhythm pulses
through my veins—aching to be birthed
in poetry—and words find a way
to crawl slow upon the page
beating the blues, weaving through
my weariness and pain, until
they start to sing freely again
Sleep is always preferable to being woken with words buzzing in our heads, but I'm learning to listen to the small snatches that come my way and to be grateful for them. I'm also trying new things such as found/magnetic poetry and flash fiction, plus reading fiction—alongside my usual fare of memoir, Christian living and poetry books—for future inspiration.
How about you—have you tried a new style or genre lately?
What helps you to remain creative?
PS: If you can identify with writing/poetry being challenging, you may also like to read more here about scrambling for words and how God inspires us anew.
Joy Lenton is a grateful grace dweller, contemplative Christian writer, poet and blogger, author of 'Seeking Solace: Discovering grace in life's hard places'.
She enjoys encouraging others on their journey of life and faith at her blogs wordsofjoy.me and poetryjoy.com as she seeks to discover the poetic in the prosaic and the eternal in the temporal. You can connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook.