Monday, June 7, 2010

The Seat of Artistic Delight

Although we read with our minds, the seat of artistic delight is between the shoulder blades. That little shiver behind is quite certainly the highest form of emotion that humanity has attained when evolving pure art and pure science. Let us worship the spine and its tingle. Let us be proud of our being vertebrates, for we are vertebrates tipped at the head with a divine flame.

Vladimir Nabokov

I love this quote. Love it, love it. It reminds me what I'm doing here. Why if I skip my writing time, if I'm not reading something I absolutely love, I go jittery and stupid and more than a little blue.

It buoys me, reminds me that worry has no place in this process. Don't allow it to settle in. Don't try be too clever; try not to apologize. Don't fidget. This writing-thing doesn't happen in our intellectual selves nearly as much as we think it does, and I don't think it's a matter of heart so much either. This is instinct. It's gut. Writing is tough, absolutely, and just because there shouldn't be any worry doesn't mean there shouldn't be struggle and hard work. But the worry is counterfeit. It's ego. The struggle, though, the wrestling the story onto the page, the fight to find that spot--the place where art, not mere smartness, comes from--is real.

I don't know who I am if I'm not writing, and especially if I'm not writing from that space--the spot between my shoulder-blades. Any time I try to use any other part of me to do the work, it comes out something else. I don't know what it is, but it's not writing. It's the stuff you skim off jam. It's an overly practiced smile. It's plastic and it smells funny and it's gumming up the works.

This practice of writing from the spine, it is an act of worship. It's soul-habit; writers (and readers) are, more than anything, seekers.

Oh, I guess I'm a little dreamy this evening, thinking through all these things. Drifting away from what Nabokov was trying to say. I'm just so blessed, you know? I love to write. There, how simple.

1 comment:

Jessie Carty said...

maybe that is why i need to do regular yoga stretches...working my creativity too much :)