It’s been a while, almost two years now, since I had a semi-regular writing practice. Scratch that. A semi-regular sharing practice. I’ve been writing aplenty, but keeping my ideas hidden in the confines of my journal (I heart Day One), in emails with friends, and in tiny digital walled gardens, also known as Facebook groups.
I have your typical excuses: no one wants to read the crap inside my head, I don’t have time, where do I even post this thing, and isn’t there enough content in the world already?
Yes, maybe, no, I don’t know. No matter which way I land, there’s a voice inside me that says, “You have to write and share.” Try as I might to quiet this voice, or tamp it down with the white noise of distraction, it simply will not stop communicating with me.
In prepping for this post, I scanned the contents of my “writing” folder, filled with scads of ideas I’ve collected over the last few years. Nothing fully formed, just random thoughts. Bits and bobs that I email to myself as quickly as I think of them, knowing that the ones that don’t get captured immediately will float back into the atmosphere like cosmic space dust.
I started grasping this concept when I first heard Liz Gilbert’s TEDTalk, Your elusive creative genius, describing American poet Ruth Stone and how her poems showed up like “a thunderous train of air” that she had to catch so they could thunder through her. And again, in her book, Big Magic, when she describes the passing of an idea between her and Ann Patchett through a kiss.
Ideas are energetic forces that are in constant motion, floating and flying, sometimes at the speed of light, and sometimes as slow as mud, but always moving. Wikipedia defines energy as “a property of objects which can be transferred to other objects or converted into different forms, but cannot be created or destroyed.”
What if ideas themselves could not be created or destroyed?
What if ideas belonged to all of us, at all times, and all we had to do was reach for them, inhale them, dance with them, or let them thunder through us?
What if instead of coming up with excuses, and hiding our brilliance from the world, we met our ideas as allies and friends, partners on our path to creativity?
I like to think of all those ideas that I’ve collected over the years like tiny fireflies that need to be set free, released back into the wild night, to be caught and released again by the next caretaker.
And so, I take the first step, a big release, a long exhale, and perhaps even a bit of thunder.
And then I play this song.