Sitting down and writing is the most difficult part of sitting down and writing, yet it’s as easy to romanticize as it is starting a company, being in a relationship, or building a wedding cake. Then push comes to type and we quickly remember it all takes copious amounts of time and sucks the energy out of us no matter how passionate we may be about this eternal itch we need to lay down on paper. I can compare it to the act of reading books as well. Hell, the Japanese even have a word for the books one owns and hasn’t read yet. I have a lot of these "tsundoku" and keep on acquiring more without actually having made time to work through the majority of them; a library of intention left to collect dust - much akin to the library of ideas I have not laid out in verse.
Karl Ove Knausgård (My Struggle) lamented about his lack of prowess in respect to poetry, mentioning that poetry immediately gets down to the essence of an idea whereas it took him 600 pages before any comparable point was exhibited in his first novel. This may be why I have taken such a liking to poetry in comparison to other formats. It’s short, impactful, and at the very most takes me a few concentrated hours of work to accomplish. And maybe it also asks less of me because of its giving and nebulous form. I can say things like "I rode on the ams of is and maybes skipped alongside my befores". Funny thing is that I could counter your "What the fuck?" with a fully confident stride of a cubist painter. À la Cummings. That’s art for you. Boom. And there would be folks out there that would call me a genius. I most likely am, and it took me less than 3 seconds to prove it. Boom again.
But this isn’t at all what I wished to discuss!
Yes, sitting down is the most difficult part of the process, but once you do it’s a journey that can be as fruitful as you wish it to be. The cardinal law one must keep is simply to start, not necessarily finish, just to start.
I have been dutifully trying to figure out what inspiration feels like and how it evolves within the self and how once can capitalize on its kinetic force. There really is no formula, rather there is, but it’s banal and leads right back to what we dread the most; we need to sit down and do the work. Show up. It’s true that unexplained and disjointed ideas that align in our minds come at the most unexpected times, and that’s fine. (Carry a small moleskine notepad with a pen in your back left pocket for these moments.) Nevertheless one must fall into a state of uninterrupted creativity to give true birth to those ideas. By true I mean that gritty in the field, oh shit, I just had a baby in the most natural form, kind of way. Not the incubation chamber style. No no. We're about the organic life.
For me it’s as follows. I sit down with a general idea of what I will write about. Time turns into an interminable wormhole but I get that sentence out of the way in about 5 minutes. The choo-choo train leaves the station! I then have what Ayn Rand calls the "White Tennis Shoe Syndrome" where if there is even a speck of dust on those kicks, I will notice it now and brush it off before continuing to write. I have been getting better at maintaining my concentration recently. High five, me. But here is where the magic happens - you soon fall into a flow state where it’s almost as if a second self takes over and start to work in your stead. I trudge ahead and all of a sudden my mind is making all of these connections and beautiful metaphors I couldn’t even dream of before and it’s all orchestrating itself autonomously before my eyes. These moments are beautiful and rereading what I wrote completely justifies that preemptive romanticization I mentioned earlier. Pasha the writer, the artist, the creator became present for that short while, even though he’s a stubborn son of a bitch. What he made was pretty awesome, and I thank him for that.
The trick is just to get to work. The more you exercise that muscle the easier it becomes to flex. Repetition allows the installation of an entirely new system of software; habits! Just stay consistent because regressing to the mean of being a lazy, unmotivated, and a general waste of societal space is as easy as watching an entire season of a fantasy series on HBO after dusting off your high-school bong that you forgot wasn’t completely broken.
Point of the story is that I didn’t truly know what I was going to write about just now. Perhaps a half-idea at most. But once you get down to it, you can produce astounding work. It takes a little time to dust off the cob-webs of the mind and put yourself into a specific state, granted. But oh how greatly the rewards will compensate you. In the case that nobody appreciates it, well, fuck em, as my acting teacher used to say. You know you just killed it. And you did.