Any writer, poet or artist seeks a portal, an opening, a place to begin.
Some mornings, I randomly pile books on my bed. And I leaf through them, hoping for something to leap out at me. When I crafted creative writing workshops, there was a certain magic that happened. I had an idea that I was exploring and I’d open a book and the exact poem, quote or passage would find me! That’s the thing, we never know where there might be an opening, a place to begin. Yesterday, receiving news of a long-time friend’s serious illness, I was reminded that–ah, yes, sorrow and grief are portals.
Following are a few quotes, stanzas from poems and excerpts from various books:
“The body is the starting place for what we know,” from Sheila Bender.
“While I did watch, Brave Horatius did come and stand by my side. He looked up at me. In his eyes were askings. I made explainings. I told him, The sky is filled with clouds, which look like ships” from Opal Whiteley.
and then: from Denise Levertov,
“The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer…”
or Allen Ginsberg:
“All afternoon cutting bramble blackberries
off a tottering brown fence…”
and then, Wayne Dodd:
“All day I have been closed up
inside rooms, speaking of trivial matters.
Now at last I have come out
into the night, myself a center
The thing is that any of these excerpts, stanzas or quotes could be a portal that leads you or me into whatever we’re going to write about next. (Noting, also, the privilege that is ours by tuning into these various writers’ voices and getting a sense of who they are and what they value.)
Are you curious? That is one of a writer’s greatest gifts–curiosity. You discover a portal, you enter, courageous once again, asking your questions, finding your answers while staying open for the unexpected. Do you feel, at times, like the solo journeyer, the seeker, out in the universe on this great writer’s quest?
Look for portals today. Carry your pocket notebook or handheld recorder to archive anything that comes to your attention as a possible portal for your writing. Choose from one of these possibilities and write for thirty minutes. OR, borrow one of the excerpts above as your portal to today’s writing.
Are you surprised by where you went in your writing today?