Wednesday, November 26, 2014

writing from a sentence

The reason you keep your hand moving is because there’s often a conflict between the editor and the creator. The editor is always on our shoulder saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t write that. It’s no good.” But when you have to keep the hand moving, it’s an opportunity for the creator to have a say. All the other rules of writing practice support that primary rule of keeping your hand moving. The goal is to allow the written word to connect with your original mind, to write down the first thought you flash on, before the second and third thoughts come in. -Natalie Goldberg
So, this is what I've been doing lately when I write: keep the hand moving. I usually write directly after meditation practice so I'm starting from a clear mind. I often begin with "I remember" or "I see" or just some image that pops into my mind. Yesterday I didn't have a planned starting place but I wanted to try asking for a sentence at the end of my meditation practice. I did that before, and it was so interesting what came out -- that nearly-fainting-in-church experience wasn't something I had been actively thinking about.

So I was sitting there, still and quiet, and I had just asked for a sentence. Suddenly, my 2-year-old daughter shouts: "Mama! I. Want. Cheerios!" I had sort of forgotten about her (I let her watch TV while I meditate). Her voice sliced into my consciousness -- not like a sword, not drawing blood, but like a wedge, separating. I opened my eyes, surprised by the brightness of the room and something else light: I did not feel a tightness in my chest, a rebellion, that part of me screaming, "Leave me alone!". I'm very familiar with that voice. But it was quiet.

I held my sentence in my hands for a few minutes, then I got up to pour the Cheerios.