Falling With Style: It’s Been a Dry, Dry Summer

This week, Helen shares with us her continued creative nigredo. Y’know, light stuff.

This is my first column in a few weeks, after an unannounced hiatus. I wasn’t anywhere special; I just couldn’t get the words to flow.

It’s been happening for the last few columns. My writing “process,” such as it is, ideally goes something like this:

1. Notice that a deadline is coming up.
2. Think to myself, “what’s important enough to me right now, that I want to
write about it?”
3. Choose 1-3 answers that seem right and set them aside to grow in my subconscious.
4. Return to those answers at some later point in time (a time that is still before the deadline) and see what my subconscious has done with them.
5. Write, edit, publish.

But you know this tune. Those steps don’t always happen, and when they don’t, I still have a column to write. And the feeling of performing (in any sense of the word: acting, writing, presenting) when the mojo isn’t there is excruciating to me.

The show must go on, of course — theatre-types know that better than most. Sometimes I don’t do my best work; sometimes I have to fake it; sometimes my well runs dry and I just have to perform anyway. It’s a bummer, but I skate by and hope that next time it’ll be better.

So here’s the scene as it stands today: my well is heart-wrenchingly empty, and I am deliriously thirsty. I have licked the walls dry. I am sitting at the bottom of the well and I’ve been waving my arms in a half-hearted rain dance attempt for days. I’m afraid to stop moving, because I know my eyes will close — to sleep or to die, I’m not sure. And because I can’t be sure which one it is, I’m torn. At this point, the sleep would be almost as refreshing as the water. But the idea of my creative self dying and leaving me forever is too terrible to face.

So I continue the rain dance.

Helen is a person who sometimes writes, sings, dances, cooks and breathes. She lives on the web at www.helenlaroche.com.