Creative tension

On acknowledging resistance

On acknowledging resistance

During some downtime at Vortext, the writing salon I attended earlier this month, I jotted into a notepad, trying to put a tail on the thoughts I’d started to gather on the ferry ride to the retreat grounds that morning. To pin down the questions I wanted my book to ask and to illustrate why they mattered by sketching out its opening scene.

I had resisted writing those words. As I let the questions take shape, however, I realized that my resistance needed its own place on the page. That the struggle to frame the questions was an essential part of the story too.

On observing the ordinary

On observing the ordinary

Bigger happenings naturally invite us to make record of them. Births, graduations, weddings, deaths — all the events that can be looked up in the archives of a newspaper. But I’m drawn to the ordinary moments, the ones that risk being forgotten, like the details in a dream. They have a tendency to blur, to fade, to merge or fuse with other memories, leaving faint impressions at best if I don’t note them with intention. Maybe it’s because they are so easily lost that they cause a certain sort of anxiety, a creative tension that wants to be unwound on the page. I’m afraid of waking up one morning with a deep sense of ordinary time spent — but no way to make meaning from my fuzzy recall of how I spent it.