post by Lynn
Each morning I write in a corner of my living room, on a chaise covered with chenille and curved so that your legs bend gently as you sit. With a pillow and journal on my lap, I grab a pen and place it on the page.
This is my Morning Pages routine. It’s a simple assignment, given by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way… just three pages of writing, in long hand, on anything you want. Or on any question that burrows in and demands your attention. Like this one:
Why have I chosen writing as my creative endeavor?
Why don’t I take up crochet, or art history, or the guitar? Quite simply, I write because the impulse has landed before me in my life’s turning like a commanding bird of prey. “Write!” it caws, and won’t be shooed away. It holds its ground, moving from talon to talon impatiently… “Write!”
Fine. But what do I write about? I look around for an answer.
On the wall across from my chaise is a picture I picked up when I was in the Peace Corps in West Africa which portrays two women pounding millet. Each has a baby strapped to her back, and a baobab tree spreads above them. The images are formed not with paint on canvas, but with butterfly wings on a plain sheet of white paper. The wings are snipped into shapes and arranged to create the scene.
“Why did the artist use butterfly wings instead of paint?” people ask me when they see it.
“Well, he had no paint,” I answer, “but he did have lots of butterfly wings. The artist used what he had.”
As I look at the picture today it speaks to me and says, “Use what you have. Write about whatever is in abundance in your life.” I close my eyes and do a mental scan of my days. What do I have in abundance?
Family, I think. I have family in abundance. Wonderful, complex human beings who know me and give me love and worry and hope. I have plenty of memories too, of a life that has lurched along through fifty-six years. And imagination – that deep well that everyone can dip their bucket into, no matter who they are or where they live.
So this is what I draw from, whether in fiction, nonfiction, poetry or a blog post. It’s my abundance. What’s yours?