Thursday, March 22, 2007

Nature's Design and Loneliness

By Lynne

The water droplets scattered all over the sky, known to scientists as altocumulos clouds, can provide hours of fun. I remember lying in the grass trying to make out shapes, arguing with my sister. I pointed to a mass of fluff and called out, bunny. She said it looked more like a cat. The presence of these cotton balls of moisture, there in the morning hours, quite often meant late afternoon thundershowers.

Shapes. Patterns. Nature's designs. I like them. This week's blog posts have subtle themes, but they are connected nonetheless. Lisa, and Hannah wrote about the characteristics of the muse. Call it motivation, call it divine intervention. The muse is inspiration, and she can be a fair weather friend. Amy wrote about the intensely personal, "tilted perspective" each writer brings to the art form. Emily Dickinson was quoted as saying, "Tell the truth, but tell it slant."

When someone asks me about my writing, they want to know about my writing routine. Do I write at a predetermined time, schedule a visit with the muse? Is the truth I'll uncover, decided upon in advance?

Anyone who writes knows intimately the sentiment coined by Robert Burns, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, oft go awry." As Amy wrote earlier in the week, this is a common theme for mothers.

In my opinion, there is only one way to be rewarded with the inspiration to tell my story slant. Heather Sellers, in Page by Page, calls it butt in chair. Elizabeth George, in Write Away, calls it the value of bum glue. I prefer the shape of inspiration described in Natalie Goldberg's, Writing Down the Bones.

The pattern for me is to beg, borrow, or steal any time I can. As often as I can. Sometimes just once a day, less often than I'd like for a whole day, I sneak away to my chair, coffee in hand, of course. Then I allow loneliness to find me.

"Use loneliness. Its ache creates urgency to reconnect with the world. Take that aching and use it to propel you deeper into your need for expression--to speak, to say who you are and how you care about light and rooms and lullabies."

Do you welcome loneliness or fear it?


Anonymous said...

Hi Lynne-

I love that loneliness--literally and figuratively. For me it's knowing the house is empty save for the dog and me and emtying myself of "being in charge" of my characters and just letting them flow from my pen.

Anonymous said...

I too, love that quote on loneliness. I read Write Away and loved Elizabeth George's "bum glue." Helps me when I need to apply myself to the chair. I welcome loneliness. Separates the girls from the women, imho.

Aprilynne Pike said...

"the value of bum glue"

Hehe, I've never heard that one before! Hilarious!

As a SAHM with two liittle kids (and one on the way) who want my attention almost constantly, I wish I had a bit more loneliness.:) We'll see how I feel at the end of the summer though. My hubby will be working part-time, and part of that will be from home, and we've decided to have him be the "mom" for much of the time so I can make use of my "bum glue" and get a good chunk of writing done. I am so looking forward to closing that office door and not worrying about what's on the other side for several hours a day.:)

But maybe I will get lonely. I guess we'll have to see.:)


Lynne Reeves Griffin said...

Judy, I love the sound of silence, too. And when I allow my characters space and time to tell their stories, there is nothing like it. Thanks for dropping by.

Maia, the loneliness quote is one of my favorites. Goldberg's Bones is a beautiful book. It's a great gift for an emerging writer. Which really means any writer, doesn't it?


Lynne Reeves Griffin said...


Congrats on your growing family! As one mother to another, make the time for your writing. You'll be a kinder, more patient mother when you come out of that office. My teenagers respect my writing time, because they know I need it in my life as much as they need their music.


Larramie said...

Loneliness can be the most perfect companion, silently wrapping itself around you while providing the time and space to dream.

Lynne Reeves Griffin said...


Thank you for sharing those lovely words. I love the image of wrapping myself in silence. Unfortunately, today I'm a bit chilly. There are those days when my visit with the muse is far too short.

Therese said...

This is so interesting to me...because while I am often alone when I'm writing, I never feel lonely.

I don't feel an ache, don't seem to need one to propel me "deeper into [my] need for expression." That propulsion comes from someplace else. I'll have to give some thought to exactly where, though.

Such thought-provoking posts here this week!

Lynne Reeves Griffin said...

Hello Therese,

Yes, it is an interesting word choice. I often think that states of mind, and matters of the heart and soul can be both positive and constructive forces. It's freeing, I think, that loneliness doesn't necessarily mean sad. What do you think?

Thanks for your compliment about our posts. We've been a bit introspective this week. Next week we will probably blog about lighter things, especially since Grub Gone Silly has been rescheduled for tomorrow night.

Are you still thinking about coming to The Muse Conference?


Therese said...

Hi Lynne,

I suppose I better just commit to the conference--and register! A friend of mine may go as well; I'll have a good fix on things by Monday and let you know my plans.

Therese said...

Oh, and as for the equation, or not, of "loneliness" and "sad," I do agree they're not necessarily one, and that IS freeing.

Perspective is everything, isn't it?