Glimmers vs. Thunderbolts

April 5, 2014

National Poetry Month.5

Nearing sunset, Golden Gardens

“When ideas do come, they are, at least in my case, rather tiny.  They are not thunderbolts, but glimmers.”
— David Travis, At the Edge of the Light:  Thoughts on Photography & Photographers, on Talent & Genius

I like the notion of creative ideas starting small for that means ideas are accessible to even me.  But it also means being tuned to their frequencies so that when they appear on the wing, I can recognize, capture and make something of them.  How to listen for that still, small voice.  For me, that takes solitude and attentiveness and discernment.

“You do not need to leave your room.  Remain sitting at your table and listen.  Do not even listen, simply wait.  Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary.  The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
— Franz Kafka

Creative ideas need to be protected and sheltered at this embryonic stage.  They can be fragile and so easily set aside to languish or die.  I like what poet Donald Hall says about keeping young ideas and drafts held close to the vest:  “When a poem, any work, is private to me, its spirit and possibilities are limitless.  Once I show it to anyone . . . somebody else’s spirit, psyche, tone of voice, has entered that poem. . . . This holding back is essential to me.”
— Donald Hall, “An Interview with Marian Blue,” AWP Chronicle, May/Summer 1995

 

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