Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm Listening

Twas the night after Solstice
And all through the townhouse
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse.

The notebooks were hung
By the chimney with care
In hopes that Big Mama Muse
Soon would be there.

The kitties were nestled
All snug in my bed
While visions of novels
Salsa-danced in their heads.


Not to worry. I won't continue turning a bad poem into an even worse one, even in the winter darkness. Snow is everywhere. It's in places where it shouldn't be and places where it should. In Prescott, snow is still on the ground from last week's storm. The heavy gray clouds are dropping lower over Thumb Butte as I write this. More snow tonight.

One of my favorite things about teaching is the time off. :-) Seriously. But if I had my way, I'd teach in the spring and summer, and take off during the fall and winter. I love the darkness, the yin time, the shedding of the old so the new can burst forth. I'd just as soon be inside when the sun shines brightest.

Solstice is a time of change. It's a time to listen. To let the distractions fall away. To be quiet, still, and connect with what is important inside of you. The winter is my time for listening. I try to stay open for the characters to come and visit. I try to leave milk and cookies by the metaphoric fireplace so they'll stay awhile and sustain me during the semester. I look for the ghosts in the bare tree branches. Who's still here from another time? Who just showed up, looking for a voice? Who is stuck, scared, and waiting?

Beginning a new novel is kind of like e-harmony for the spirit-world. Who's a perfect match for me? Who can help me mine my own darkness? Who can I help to release? Who can help release me? Sometimes I get a match the first time out. Sometimes there are bad dates, false starts, a hundred pages going nowhere. I get frantic sometimes. Panicked when I can't hear the voices. Fearful there will come a day when I can't hear them. When I get frantic, my head gets loud, and I try to quiet it down with distractions -- e-mail, internet shopping, telephone conversations. Of course, that only feeds the chaos. I am intensely lonely when I don't have the ghosts with me. No matter what is going on in my life, if I have a gaggle of ghosts following me around, I feel connected. I know I'm part of something I don't yet understand. I know that once again, I have shown up and the characters have shown up. But it's hard to remember that during the waiting phase.

Anybody out there hanging onto the alligator juniper outside my door want to come inside? I've got a Newman's Own oreo cookie and a glass of organic milk. Hunker down and stay awhile with me.

Please. I'm listening.


Jeannie said...

Is it the winter's cold and dark that stills us, causes us to turn inside ourselves and renew?

We bring the darkness closer during these winter months because Nature is in transition; a balancing point between death and renewal. We embrace the darkness and the ghosts, feel their breathing against our goose-fleshed skin, and listen for the new buds of growth.

Jeannie ML

ALMA said...

Gata- I love the 'salsa dancing novel music' poem, and you know I agree about los espiritus (remember Guanajuato?), the worlds we hold within. And I also love the gata paw unlocking the cage, go gata go...
Almaluz xoxo