“Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I’m trying that today. In the middle of catching up with long neglected mindless household chores, I can “wool gather” as my best-friend’s mother used to say. I think about writing and what it means to be a writer. I think about how often I neglect writing, giving first priority to cleaning up the messy desk (which I only start to do until I get distracted by something I find there that’s s-o-o-o-o interesting or that leads me on to some other project). My mind works in mysterious ways.
I think about writing poetry and how I’m always disappointed when I see what I’ve produced. I think about the re-writes and the multiple revisions that often are even more disappointing than the original. I think about Slice Tuesday and “what am I going to share this week?”
The “changing color of the waves” today are shades of gray. I look at my journals, and I find some snippets that might lead to a poem. Snippets only. I wish for inspiration. I wish for talent. I wish for the right words. But nothing comes to me. I leave my desk when the dryer summons me. When I return, I re-read the Longfellow quote: “Sit in reverie…” I have not been doing the “sitting.”
So I sit. Nothing. I try meditation: “Empty your mind.” My mind is already empty. Or it’s like a balloon, filled with air and at the mercy of the wind, flitting here and there as each new stimulus moves me to new thoughts. More shades of gray. I’m hopeless. It’s April—WRITE A POEM for Pete’s sake!
So, I revert to a grammar exercise:
An abstract noun
Two prepositional phrases
Rolling, undulating, ceaseless
Crashing against the shore line
Over broken shells on the beach
Repeating its motion
Thrilling our senses
Well, that’s something anyway, though “ceaseless” isn’t a participle, and the last two lines aren’t gerunds. But…
It will still be April next week.