Monday, June 25, 2012
We live in a black well of interconnectedness.
Does that sound like a contradiction? It's not. In our age of fast food, rapid travel, instant communication and limitless information, we place walls around ourselves that can be difficult to breach. With our apparent luxury of technology we lose touch with an inner world; we forget how to talk to ourselves - and, more importantly, how to listen. In that well we huddle, dazed by bright lights and glowing screens, unaware of how they blind us to the dim stars far overhead.
This is why writers go on retreats.
Being off the grid is a tremendously liberating experience. I highly recommend any creative person makes a regular practice of it. There is nothing like the absolute freedom of gazing from one side of the horizon to the other and seeing not a single living soul. The mind shrugs off expectations and shucks worries about social conventions and day to day responsibilities. Inner voices clear their throats and no longer whisper - they sing. And what follows is a burst of creative energy unlike any other you have experienced.
While in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to push back against it or hold it in, creativity blossomed. I came up with no fewer than a dozen new ideas for stories, and an anthology concept with which to frame them. I can't remember the last time I experienced such a torrent of new ideas in so short a time.
Now, not all of these story ideas may come to fruition. They may be flawed, they may not take shape the way I envisioned them. But that is unimportant. What matters, ultimately, is that in solitude from the world I learned to tap a hidden vein of creative energy inside myself. It was waiting there, patient as an underground river flowing through the dark earth of my subconscious. All I had to do was give it unfettered space into which to flood.