Yesterday I came across this u-tube video of Elizabeth Gilbert talking about her own creative process. She says that she has found it helpful to think about the process as overseen by an attendant spirit, a daemon or genius, as the ancient people taught. She goes on to describe an encounter she had with the poet Ruth Stone who described her own process as "poem catching". When she was young and working in the fields, she said that the poem would come to her rumbling across the earth, shaking it. As the poem approached, she would race to her house and grab a paper and pencil to catch the poem before it stormed through her and past her. The poem would be intact.
This might seem odd to some people, and we might dismiss this as Stone's metaphor. But I'm not so sure because last year I had a very similar experience. As I was walking from my home to my office, I was overcome with a poem. Its echo was thunderous and it was all I could do to run all the way to my office and grab a pen and paper and write it down before it was gone. It came to me intact. This is what I wrote down:
the gardenHave any of you ever experienced poem catching before or know of someone who has? I'm curious now that I realize my experience is not an isolated event. I'm not sure that I would say that it is the result of a muse, or a paranormal event as Gilbert suggests. But whatever happened was overwhelming and there was no option not to run and write it down. I find that once the creative process is really engaged on a regular basis, that it takes on a life of its own, almost pushing me to bring to life whatever it is I am working on, a book, an article, a painting, a textile piece, a poem.
out of the darkness
ready for tasting
heavy upon the branches
what is it that is secreted away, ruah?
sweet fruit in your hands
gnosis in the bite
juice on the chin
hide away eve
the nemesis of god is upon you
Here is the u-tube video in case you are interested: