Getting Out of the Way

“To draw, you must close your eyes and sing.” ~ Pablo Picasso

I sometimes write with my eyes closed. Admittedly, those times are (increasingly) rare, and beautiful, but that makes the fact no less important. This doesn’t mean I’m a great typist, nor is it meant to indicate the ease with which I write.

No, it is simply a statement that at times, I’ve mastered the art of getting out of the way of the words. See, I have no “muse” per se. Life is my muse: all the small observations, the moments that non-writers miss: a boy, who just learned to walk, running to meet a new playmate; a thirty-year-old woman fascinated at the stories of  a grizzled old man; a woman, trusting a new love, in the grasp of a man who wants only her sexuality. These moments I can close my eyes, and play back.

Like now, for instance.

I turn on my wordless music, that which allows me to find my emotional center. I pray, or meditate, or simply, breathe. Then, I let it out.

See, for we writers, the words are there. They are trapped behind the muck. They lurk beneath the words of warning form the well-intentioned: “you can’t,” “it’s hard,” “they won’t understand.” But see, they lie, those friends, they do. The readers will understand. Perhaps their understanding will not be what you had intended, but if you let it flow, if you step aside and let the words out, the readers will reach an understanding that is their own.

You see, the words do not belong to you. They have not come from you. God has placed them there, and they must live outside you.

You must learn to get out of their way.

I’m not speaking of the Christian/Judaic God with the long, white beard and imposing, pointing finger. He is not my Father. This is not mythology of which I speak. I write of the God-force, that energy that exists within us all. It is the force that demands life, that calls for understanding, and survival. It is the force that creates, allowing bacterium to thrive within the supposed vacuum of space.

Like space, there is no vacuum within your mind, fellow writers. Find your quiet space, close your eyes, and trust. Do not write the story you intended to write. Write instead, the story that is there, where it has been placed, by life, or God, or your subconscious. You may not have the answers for your questions, but they are there.

 You must, simply, close your eyes, and let them sing.

And yes, I wrote this with my eyes closed. The typos, you see, can be fixed. Words, not born, cannot.

4 thoughts on “Getting Out of the Way

  1. alicamckennajohnson says:

    This is so beautifully written- I agree I find the biggest hurdle in my writing is myself- after reading this I broke the writhing mass of to-do’s into small manageable pieces so I could get my fears out of my way.

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