Return of the Muse

Getting back into a creative thinking mode after wearing my “business” cap for a while, as I’ve already written, hasn’t been easy. I have gone forward knowing that the well runs dry from time to time, and eventually the juices flow once again. Sometimes we plod along for days, weeks, or months, doing creative exercises and writing wooden, boring prose, waiting, sometimes patiently but more often not for the muse to show her face.

Of course, sometimes when we look back during those plodding moments, we realize that we did some of our best work, or at least created the foundation for it. When we write for a period of time, we know that our relationship to our work is much like our relationships with our spouses. There are times of intense romance, times of slow, steady flame, and times of just getting through–but if we hang in there, those moments of “just getting through” can deepen our commitment.

Still, I admit to loving the romance! So I’m happy to report a reappearance of the muse. And it happened in an instant.

It was Saturday, Rosh Hoshanah, the Jewish New Year. This is always a difficult day for me, because twelve years ago on RH, I learned that the child I was carrying was dying. Over the years, my grief has diminished considerably, but on Rosh Hoshanah and Mother’s Day, I give myself permission to be a complete, sobbing mess. This year was no exception.

By afternoon I was feeling better, and we decided to go to our storage unit where we keep my late mother-in-law’s art. Since Patchwork and Ornament is done, I wanted to put the piles of journals I had used as source material into storage…it’s quite a stack that has occupied my living room for the past nine months.

Within five minutes of completing our task, I felt lighter and happier. I remembered an old creative project that could be a lot of fun to finish. I started to talk to Henry about going to Sorrento, Italy, where my mother-in-law conceived her “Blossoms” art series, to develop some text to go with the 100+ drawings in the series. Ideas flowed easily, and along with them flowed a deep river of joy. We stopped for a glass of wine and a plate of cheese, and I talked nonstop about all the fun things I wanted to work on.

Working on Patchwork and Ornament, I have worked on my own grief about Jenny Feldman’s death. Perhaps in putting away the journals, I was ready to put away some of the sadness. Perhaps the tears had washed away enough pain that I could feel new again. Or maybe I just plodded along enough, keeping the faith, until the switch of creativity came on again.

Who knows?

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