Whether you’re a creative writer or just someone who’s ever faced a term paper, you know that the blank page is a wonderful and terrifying landscape. If you’re not writing by choice, don’t feel passionate about your topic, or generally feel awkward with words, it can be like having two left feet on the dance floor. But for a writer a blank page can be the gateway to a sense of infinity and awe. Anything can happen. Something rising up or through you.
In her brilliant TED talk on creativity, Elizabeth Gilbert cites a poet out in a field who hears a poem come thundering on the air towards her, and who feels her only purpose in life is to run like hell towards pencil and paper to write it down, to be taken by its mystery, to give the words shape, lest they blow through and past her towards another, readier poet.
How do we catch those wise, insightful, whimsical, and challenging thoughts that come knocking at our door on their way through the cosmos? By listening with every part of us that we can keep present and open. By seizing the moment and by allowing ourselves to be seized by it. By paying attention to new possibilities, and being less focused on what we think we know or want or how life is supposed to turn out.
We need to engage in the dance the universe regularly invites us to. Fearfully or fiercely. Whether we think it’s the right time or not, that we’re ready or not, that time is now.
This is not a new message, from me or anyone else. But it’s one that, no matter how often it is said and heard, bears listening to.
If we are very lucky, life’s creative, not dry. I know the joys of a task list accomplished and getting one’s chores done. But I’m a much bigger sucker for the messy, unpredictable, anything’s-possible-on-this-blank-page invitations of the muses. Because when life feels like that, whether the form is words, music, art, love, or cooking, you’re part of the rush of creative inspiration that this week’s reading invokes. You can live with beginningness.
Great quote from a recent book: A good book invites you to read it again. A great book compels you to reread your soul.
That’s how I see I see the annual re-rolling and re-opening of the Torah, which happens this week. Now is when everything that is was and will be is created out of chaos and void. Now is when all is most fertile, when everything new is possible. We have another chance to get it right. To improve and heal as we trek through our own soul turnings.
One more time we are offered beginningness. The beginning of Genesis is the thundering poem about to grab us by the ankles, the heart, and the soul. It’s an invitation to go on a ride of self-examination, self-discovery, and self-recreation. One more time. Lucky us.
So invite whatever parts of your soul are aching to dance. And invite whatever guides and muses you believe in to inspire you, to fill your own blank document with joy and creativity, as we enter the new unknown.