If you're a writer you'll know what I mean by being in the 'flow'. It's of course the complete polar opposite of being 'blocked'. Great writers have always talked in revered hushed tones about the possibility that there is some invisible stream of stories flowing in the ether and that in the right mental state a writer might find him or herself literally being whooshed along, channeling amazing words and characters and plotlines that seemingly come from 'no-where' but definitely from somewhere outside the writer. That old cliched expression ' the book seemed to write itself' describes this phenomena. While this might all sound a bit far-fetched and oomie goomie...as a writer who has experienced this first hand, I can tell you there is definitely some ethereal super-force power shit going on, man! I have sat down and become a vessel for a story that I tapped into my laptop like an automaton. I was barely conscious. It was trance-like and three and a half weeks later I had a manuscript that made other people go 'whoooooo. Great stuff.' It was a children's book, not a full-length adult novel but it moved in a fluid rush from 'somewhere' to my computer.
When I am blocked, the words sit in front of me like dehydrated lumps of sun-dried cow-turd....that... I just..... can't force through my computer without pain. When I suffer from writer's block it actually feels like it clogs up my entire life. Everything feels wrong with my day and every time I try to bang out more words I want to self-harm and break things.
Last night at 2:03 a.m in the blinking darkness of my slumber...I heard the whisper of a very seductive muse. She gave me a character, a plot, a hook and a purpose...she gave me a title and a moving premise that made me shed a tear at the very thought of the powerful ending. I felt my mojo creeping back into my veins, pulsing with potential. I may go so far as to say that this idea is my reason, my joy and my legacy. That impossibly named Mihaly Csikszentmihaly wrote the seminal work ' Flow - the psychology of optimal experience.' He has spent much of his academic life studying the idea of being in the flow, in the zone, in the groove.
It is total absorption in a project, a sense of spiritual calm, a fading away of all else. My all else is pretty awful at the moment with the dark fingers of depression and frustration and stress lapping at me so it is with a great deal of gratitude that I accept this gift of an idea and will begin to nurture it into the greatness that it so deserves.
There is some indication that writers particularly, find unintentional access to such inspiration during times of disassociation...during sleep or meditation or extreme emotional fatigue. I have woken today with a surge of hope, a desire to sculpt this new story. All the mental radio signals that have been sending me messages that 'I can't write, I'm wasting my time', have changed stations and now they sing with a magnificent clarity that I have been chosen for this particular story at this particular time in history. There is method in my madness. The universe has commissioned me to write and I must write. Is that some grandios thought processing or what????!!! But if you write or paint or do anything that you truly love you will understand my rantings...because true art is something bigger than us. It is the secret juice or artistic DNA that makes an artist, any artist, a member of an incredible secret society that counts Beethoven, Mozart, Picasso, Shakespeare and Shelley as well as Meryl Streep and Madonna and Hunter S. Thompson (although he accessed his flow through more chemical avenues!) as members.
Anyways....I guess I gotta grab the surfboard and hang ten....I got words to right so .......adios.....!