Arugula or Poetry?

The time to hesitate is through.
Jim Morrison

It is very misguided to have an intelligent and curious idea that you believe is worth developing and to think that you can just sit down and burp it out in a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. On the other hand, waiting forever and not getting started does not work either. It is not through burping or waiting that novels, philosophical treatises, clever parodies, or even haiku-inspired contemplations ever come into being.

A good idea is like a life, or at least like a major chapter of a life. It takes a long time to learn what the idea wants to say to you, and how it wants you to express it into the world. And then, once you think you know (roughly) what you want to say on behalf of the particular idea, additional time is required to bring the idea out of the dark realm of interior thought and illuminate it with the exterior light of communication.

Depending on your particular tendencies, this light may be given to you in the form of a poem, a story, a canvas, a sculpture, a stage, or a musical instrument. It also may appear in a garden, a kitchen, or between two knitting needles. Without these vehicles of expression—as varied as they are—the idea remains dormant. Only when it is put forward by the creator in some physical manifestation can others read, see, hear, eat, or wear the idea in all its mysterious and beneficent glory. This is what human endeavor in the world is all about, right?

As I contemplate all the work that Georg finished throughout his life (and the many things he started but did not complete), I cannot help but look at my own creative output and wonder what am I doing here? As I take stock of my writing and the many projects that I have begun and not even come close to finishing, I am increasingly aware that it takes a lot of time, not to mention a lot of additional thinking, planning, and sweating—yes sweating—to create something out of nothing.

arugulaTo take an idea and turn it into a story, painting, or poem takes practice and effort. Some forms are more abbreviated than others, true. And, if I thought my idea could be best-stated by whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies before nightfall or by growing some arugula this summer, then perhaps I could stop right there and be satisfied with my output in one cozy day or one growing season.

But the ideas lurking in my “dark interior” all require a clarity of mind and an investment of time that I have not yet been willing to commit to the task at hand. Believe you me, it is no cake walk to take a multi-layered (and sometimes only half-baked) idea and express its labyrinthine nature in a way that will be meaningful to others.

Back in October, I started this blog ostensibly to honor Georg, but also with the notion that this enterprise was “one woman’s quest to make sense of everything.”

That would be me. That would be my quest. Can it be done? Only mind and time will tell. As Georg would testify if he could: mind is unlimited, time is not.


2 thoughts on “Arugula or Poetry?

  1. thank you. thank you for sharing these wonderful insightful words.

    articulating such thoughts with grace.

    you have a gift. you are a gift.

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