|Meryl Streep as the isolated and brooding farmwife Francesca in The Bridges of Madison County|
I have always been a daydreamer, observer and prone to brooding and I'm learning to not feel so guilty about it, either. I saw this quote today from writer Joyce Carol Oates and realized that it affirms the kind of 'work' that most writers and artists do. In order to create, you have to think about your creation. Or what you are planning to create or, in my case, write about.
'I have always spent most of my time staring out the window, noting what is there, daydreaming or brooding. Most of the so-called imaginative life is encompassed by these three activities...entire mornings can slip by, in a blissful daze of preoccupation.'
––Joyce Carol OatesI have many books in my head––not word for word, but scene to scene or chapter scenarios and outlines. Most of my ideas come to me like an unseen breeze across the ridge and, if I don't capture them on paper or for a span of time in my mind, then they are gone again.
'Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.'
––Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
|Image by Russell Lee, 1938, Corbis® Images.|
Much of the 'three activities' of 'the so-called imaginative life' are accomplished while sitting alone, or resting, or, when I'm especially blessed, while doing something strange like organizing a shelf. I can be thinking about the items I'm putting away, or finding a place to put something, and then it comes to me. An idea or a thought that I must write down. I've learned to carry a notepad with me wherever I go––even if it is a small notepad in my apron pocket.
Emily Dickinson did the very same thing. One of my first blog posts at In the Pantry mentioned the discovery of her way of jotting things down on slips of paper in her kitchen, while she was kneading bread or doing another domestic task. I do the same thing. Her cousin Louisa remembered:
'I know that Emily Dickinson wrote most emphatic things in the pantry, so cool and quiet, while she skimmed the milk; because I sat on the footstool behind the door, in delight, as she read them to me.'
––as quoted in Woman's Journal, 1904Sometimes it is a mere task or domestic chore that drives the creative spark. Other times it is when we allow the quiet or the moment to become more introspective. I have written amazing things upon waking or just as I fall off to sleep––I tell myself, I will remember. But I don't. So I need to count on the waking dream state to capture those sparks and ignite them into something that flickers and burns and takes hold. A good crackling fire of creation.
|Marjorie Main as the cook in one of my favorite movies (and a total weepfest), Meet Me In St. Louis [thank you to HookedOnHouses.Net for the image]|
In readying the cottage, setting up pantries and cupboards and my new office, I am having many flickers. It is exciting this settling in and the readying for new creation. I feel like an expectant mother preparing her nursery. I have rarely been so giddy!
You come back when you're ready!