Letting the mind wander

Inspiration can sure take its damn time. You could be sitting there looking at a blank screen, or white canvas, or any number of things. And there is nothing.

Step away to take a shower or walk through the woods. BAM! Inspiration hits.

Wandering minds can be good for you. You should embrace mental meandering. There is no finish line. Just a long path leading here and there.

Finding inspiration

Something I heard long ago was about a songwriter who would frequently hear tunes  while driving. Like, original tunes, only in the mind. And it was frustrating, because while driving it’s hard to write down music (this was before cell phones and inexpensive voice recorders, but you get the idea).

The moral was, train your inspiration to come when you’re ready for it. Not when it’s convenient for your muse.

Somewhere in Stephen King’s On Writing, or perhaps in one of the interviews he’s given about writing, he says that the way he writes is to start at the same time every morning, write the same number of hours, take the same breaks. His inspiration comes during that time.

Certainly he may get ideas while showering, or taking out the trash. Notebooks and recorders are handy in that way. But mostly he puts ideas to paper during that time when he’s set down to write.

Thankfully, we are never lacking in ideas. Good, bad, indifferent, we think things up every day. Many aren’t original. Some are. Of the original, many are terrible. Some aren’t.

As Seth Godin says, ““If you put enough bad ideas into the world, sooner or later your brain will wake up, and good ideas will come.”

I thought of this because as I was waking up two mornings ago, I heard a whole song. An original song. I got as much of it down as I could, as I was just waking up and fumbling with the recorder. I unfortunately haven’t trained my muse in the same way.

An unfinished symphony

I come back to my questions, the uncertainty of who I am, what I see around me, and my place in the world. The great symphony that is creation is confusing, and I’ve no idea what instrument I am, nor do I know the notes to play.

An actor’s nightmare is showing up onstage unfamiliar with the show and not knowing the lines.

Showing up to class naked is another common nightmare.

But isn’t that what happens to all of us? We show up here on Earth to learn, to love, to fail. And we’re naked and uncertain. As we age, we think that we’re the only one unprepared, but that’s not the case. Everyone else is just as uncertain.

The great showmen, the sales team, marketers, educators – they’d have you believe that they had it all figured out. But it’s a ruse. What do they have figured out?

Time and again, technology shifts industry. Discovery shifts learning. Goods and services are transitory, as are we all.

I guess all we can do is a pick a note and play it loud. If it doesn’t happen to sound good, play another.

Purpose, it’s that little flame…

We’re here to learn, and these lessons are predetermined. It’s up to us to work through the past karmic debt we carry. We are all connected, aspects of an eternal force, the Godhead, Universe, or Source. We carry with us the possibility for understanding and love.

The meaning of life is to experience. It’s the only rational purpose I can assign to the mystery of it all. Why we suffer, why we grieve, why we continue to love and give of ourselves. It’s a spiritual existence having a temporary physical one.

In that interconnectedness, we must understand that what we do to others is manifest in what will happen to us. Karma. The golden rule. These are the elements of all faiths that show us that behaving well, caring for each other, is a righteous path.

The belief that power over others will somehow fulfill us causes us to seek out status. Financial gains, palatial estates, the ability to hire and fire as we see fit. An ego-driven force that tarnishes our spiritual efforts. 

We are born with a pervasive want, or need, driving us towards some goal. As children, I believe, we have a better grasp of who we are and our place in the Universe. It’s as we age, and become educated, that the neuroses begin to develop. What if we’re not good enough? What if we don’t succeed?

Yet, if happiness can be found in a job well done, and a life well lived, than the other trappings and accoutrement are superfluous. 

Why I write

I was cleaning out some drawers today, and found an old note, possibly ten or twelve years old. It made me laugh.

It said: "I’m struggling to write. I’m searching for inspiration in an automobile drive. ’91 Lincoln Town Car around Chicago. Lights, towering buildings."

Not sure what my Town Car had to do with Chicago, because I don't recall ever driving it there. But, it's possible. There were some crazy weekends back then.

The thing that stuck out was the struggling to write. I don't recall ever wanting to be a writer. But I liked writing. Always. I used to write poetry, and stories. I have numerous scripts and longer stories, started or abandoned. Ideas always popped up, but I never took them to fruition.

I was actually taking all these old papers out of the drawer and getting them on my cloud in a document called Collected Junk Writings.

But, in a way, this blog is the creative interpretation of my enjoyment of writing. Things I think about I get down in a post, I leave it up for whoever happens across it, and I'm honing an activity that I like doing.

I'm passionate about so few things right now, in this awkward between state that I'm in. Now I'm looking for a job, having quit my other one. I'm thinking about whether I want to stay in Central Florida or move away. About whether to try and start a Ph.D. program next fall, or wait another year.

All these things rattle on in my head, and still I give this blog weekly attention. Now, it's three posts a week, and I'm ahead (for the most part) by about a week. Which means I'm writing this on Tuesday, and you may not see it until next Friday.

I'm sure that when life comes crashing in, and the Universe points me in that direction, I'll not be so ahead on my blog. I'll probably be scrambling for deadlines.

51YdazcA5yL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_I love the bit in Terry Pratchett's A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction, where he describes what he calls "A bit of writing about writing."

"Get up, have breakfast, switch on word processor, stare at screen.
Stare at screen some more."

This staring at screen, plus elements of procrastination come in for about the next thirty paragraphs. Finally: "Midnight…"

"Stare at screen. Vaguely aware right hand has hit keys to open new file. Start breathing very slowly. Write 1,943 words. Bed. For a day there, thought we weren't going to make it."

This is my blog. I write I because I like it. It's not an exceptional blog, and it's not terrible. But it's mine, and I get to share with you, the reader.