Sometimes you have to clear space in your life for creativity to happen. I've wandered away from serious attempts to write for quite a while. In the past year, I focused more on reading than writing. Plus, I began to experiment with photo collage. I also needed time just to be myself during a year where my job changed suddenly, significantly adding to my responsibility without any warning. Anxiety seems to build in me whenever I have to cope with sudden change.
It took me a while to feel comfortable again.
And I do need to feel a sense of comfort in order to be a writer. Writing is not necessarily very easy for me. I find research much easier than writing.
I have this mental image of being in the middle of a dense thicket, where the path is obscure and there are so many brambles that you need to avoid. Slowly as the trail winds past the last bushes, the way becomes open again. There is a clearing ahead and you are surrounded by a grove of trees stretching upwards, taking your heart and mind with them as they reach skywards.
The picture at the beginning of this entry is a modified photo taken last autumn in Pennsylvania, where I stayed for a weekend among friends. It represents the vision of the clearing that I see before me now.
I feel more at peace now for waiting until I had the energy and calmness to think clearly. No doubt I will continue to wander because it is in my nature. But I now have a sense of purpose and a few solid plans. It has been a long way down the path to reach this grove of trees, but at least I am out of the thicket for the moment.
Perhaps my tendency to have these struggles through the thicket is why I love the quote by J. R. R. Tolkien from The Lord of the Rings so much:
All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.
I know that change is always going to happen. It is practically impossible to plan for all contingencies. But human beings have the gift of insight and the ability to change their sense of perspective about an idea, a problem, a value. Flexibility of perception is an important aspect of my life that fuels my creativity.