Monday, July 11, 2016

Write into the Waves

"Here is a man who is turning the emptiness of space into a sheet of paper, the waves of the ocean into an inkwell and Mount Sumeru into a brush."       
   - Hoyen of Gosozen, 12th century

"The shot will go most smoothly when it takes the archer himself by surprise." - Eugen Herrigel, Zen in the Art of Archery.

A Zen view of how to write advises that "artless art" must flow out of the subconscious. Doing is not doing. Technical knowledge does not provide enough. Practice and relenting to the process make it happen.  

We write until we've created our own rules. Moving out of our own way, writing spurts and splashes in the stream of rain or water.

Like a muscle, the more we write, the more we gain strength and momentum. Fortunately, with age our writing muscles become stronger regardless of the aging process on other body parts.  

If we pay attention to our "every day mind" and moments in movement,  we will happen upon ways to express our emotions and thoughts.  

Awareness makes us alert to all possibilities.  

What just zoomed by?  

How does that connect to the aroma of coffee in the morning?  

What does sleep feel like when tired?  How does satisfaction taste?  

What if. . . and then what?

How can the write art become purposeless?  Aimless?  

If we attempt to intellectualize it, we've lost the moment. 

We need to write. It's that simple. 

Lao Tzu wrote, "The highest motive in life is to be like water. It fights nothing or no one. It flows from and back to its source and in the flowing smooths and wears away all resistance."  

The Taoist water metaphor fits the writer's life. Go with the flow. Trickle or rush around obstacles. Gush! Exert and deluge. Yielding will overwhelm all.

Writers need the surprise that delights when swimming in words.  Let it happen . . . just write.

Take a day without a goal.  

Write to float, swim or splash about in words without a destination.

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