Wednesday, December 10, 2008
When Inspiration Isn't
The day is closed and gray. Rain splatters the earth, and the branches of the scarecrow trees scratch the sky. There's nothing in this day that hasn't been seen before, nothing that hasn't been felt before, nothing new under the sun. Futility infuses all effort. Writing without apparent inspiration is, well, work. There's the business of writing, the promoting of it. There's the art of writing, the windswept moments when you're swept away. Then there is the sheer labor of it that happens on days like this, days as closed to inspiration as a changed lock. Yet it's the work of the writer to labor, if not by the sweat of the outward brow, then by internal effort, which seems infinitely harder, the continual giving birth. If you know nothing of this and writing seems easy, wait. The days of apparent futility will come, days that separate writers from dabblers and make writers who they are. Like the caterpillar struggling to break the chrysalis, this is how butterflies are formed, how glory is put into the thing and into the work, and inspiration comes by doing.