“Drink from your own well.” I take those words on board whenever I’m struggling to create. I believe they mean that each of us has to dig deeply into our authentic self as the wellspring for our best work. If we search outside ourselves we may neglect something that is essential to our art.
…when I get up I the morning and settle down to write, I do not reach for what is timely or is in style, but what suggests itself to me right at the moment. It can be any trivial word or even syllable, or a sound from the trees outside, or what day it is, or that the sun is about to come up––anything. And with nothing to live up to I can relax and catch onto a current within me. *
I found a typed page of Stafford’s poems in an old file recently. I’d clipped a photo of a wooden crow sitting on my desk as a talisman onto the graph paper.
To be ready again if they find an owl, crows
choose any old tree before dawn and hold a conversation
where they practice their outrage routine. “Let’s elect
someone.” “No, no! Forget it.” They
see how many crows can dance on a limb.
“Hey, listen to this one.” One old crow
flaps away off and looks toward the east. In that
lonely blackness God begins to speak
in a silence beyond all that moves. Delighted
wings move close and almost touch each other.
Everything stops for a minute, and the sun rises.
Every morning when I wake at 5:00 I hear the crows one jump ahead of me, outraging.
And I lie snug in my bed and watch the sun rise, listening.
And I commit myself once again this day to pay attention to my trivial, wherein lies my creativity.
I lie still and try to catch onto the mysterious currents that will surely flow into a day of creativity.
Sometimes it happens. Often it’s a bust.
But tomorrow will bring a new dawn and another chance to dip into the well.
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sister corita kent’s enduring rules for making + her art
chimero: ‘everyone is just making it up as they go along’