A work of art defines itself into being, when we awaken into it and by it, when we are moved, altered, stirred. If feels as if we have done nothing, only given a little time, a little space; some hairline-narrow crack opens in the self, and there it is. Jane Hirshfield
In an improvisation class a man starts a scene by lying on the floor struggling against imaginary ropes that bind him to the ground. Another player joins him and the scene is played out as prisoners.
What happens if instead, that person enters the scene passionately playing a violin? By taking a non-linear approach the second person’s offer has opened an imaginative distance, a space for new possibilities. This leap requires our minds to find their own meaning and leaves an opening for imagination.
In creative practice we often lose the leap to logic, linearity and technique under the watchful eye of the self-critic. As writers it is easy to get caught up in a spin cycle of write, judge, delete. The leap comes from listening, honoring impulse and being present with your thoughts and surroundings.
When you enter this imaginative space you become more porous to both inner and outer worlds. Ideas, small thoughts and new language arrive deliciously as you become witness and scribe. The challenge is accepting what comes.
This takes trust in yourself and in your audience and comes from both mindfulness and letting go, listening and accepting your thoughts, cultivating spontaneity and presence, play and courage. The leap is not a technique or a lesson to learn as much as it is entering an awareness and an environment of permission. Don’t we all need more of this?
Some years ago a very young friend wrote a poem called “Poem Time.” The essence of her poem was that when poem time comes you have to write. Poem time is like being caught in an energy field when you are the grounding rod. Maybe you have experienced this when a piece of writing arrives almost fully formed. It comes through you rather than from you. Your mind relaxes and accepts ideas as they come. Time slows down. You see the ordinary in new ways. There is no struggle. Yes is the only thing on the horizon. There isn’t a No in sight. The critic ogre is taking the day off. When poem time comes it is best to get out of the way and let the words write themselves.
Please join us at Bunnell Street Art Gallery the evening of Saturday April 16th and all day Sunday April 17th when 49 Writers offers, “Confusing the Censor: Nurturing Receptive Mind.” Beginning and experienced writers of all genres are welcome. This fun and engaging workshop will move between activities and writing practice. Join us to bridge inner and outer awareness, explore the leaping mind and write from presence. Register now!
Since 1997 Peter Kaufmann has worked internationally with people and their stories producing community based dramas, radio, film, exhibits and print material. He is also a closet poet. For more info please go to magicthrees.com
Wendy Erd works between Alaska and Asia supporting communities to voice their stories. She created Poems in Place, a project that put poems in state parks in Alaska. A poet and writer, her most recent poems appear along the Beluga Slough estuary trail in Homer.