Friday, February 04, 2005

Writing from the Inner Self

I own a collection, a lovely eye-catching array of bound notebooks, whose pages have been filled over a thirteen year time span. I stopped writing in those books, my journals, the night I got engaged. That was about 11 1/2 years ago. I signed off the last page of the book -- how apropos that I'd reached a last page in a book, while closing off a chapter in my personal life, as well -- with "Chazak, Chazak v'Nitchazek." This is said when you finish reading a book in the Torah, and also start fresh.

Blank books were easily filled. Flowery scrawl dusted the pages with the vibrancy of youth, the streamofconsciousness always there for me. My motto of that time period was: "To read is human, to write is divine."

These days, however, the writing doesn't always flow. I look to my shelf and see a handful of books that are supposed to help me on my way in all matters literary. I have my standard thesaurus, Chicago Manual of Style, Merriam-Webster's dictionary. But then, I also have: The Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspirations for Writing, by Monica Wood, published by Writer's Digest Books ( a prize I won in a contest) ; The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron ( a gift from my brother who tried to ease me on my way to writing); Ideas and Images: A Creative Journal for Authors, Artists and Lovers of Children's Literature, published by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Ilustrators ( a prize for my creative suggestion for a literary contest...of all things!); and lastly I own a book, bought by me in July 1991. It is called Writing from the Inner Self, by Elaine Hughes. It is a book that combines writing with meditation exercises and emphasizes the importance of looking to our inner selves as a source for our writing. The dust jacket reads: "...leads you to delve into your limitless supply of creative material, helping you dip into your memories, feelings, body sensations, observations, and imagination, and make something exist that was not there before."

I'd like to think that I do have a "limitless supply of creative material." Only problem is that the supply forgot to tell me where in Pearl's warehouse it's being stored! I'm waiting for some clues here...