Monday, May 04, 2009

A Little Help from my Friends


Last night we got together with our musician friends Katharine and Jim (with whom we'll also be having a gala end-of-the-semester dinner tonight). Both of them have extraordinarily fine literary taste, based on the fact that they both adore The Necessary Beggar. (What: me, biased?) Jim, who's a composer, even wrote an art song based on a poem in the book; Gary and I got to hear its world premiere at a campus concert a few years back, with Jim playing the piano while Katharine sang. Very cool, especially since these two are world-class performers.

More reliably than anyone except Gary (and Dad), they keep encouraging me to write new stuff. Last night I told them that I'm really blocked, for a lot of complicated pyschological reasons I won't go into here, including but not limited to Dad's death. Jim sometimes teaches his students light self-hypnosis to help them get past stage fright, so I wondered if he could do the same thing to help me past writer's block.

He may be able to do that, and I'd like to try it. In the meantime, though, Katharine's decided that what I need to do is to reread a chapter of TNB every night before I go to bed, to try to get back to the creative space in which I wrote that book.

I haven't started this yet, but I sure hope it works. Writing that book was definitely one of my peak experiences, ten and a half weeks of bliss. If I could find a way to get back there, I'd never want to come out. (Which may, actually, be one of my fears about going back, although as Katharine points out, I can write -- and have written -- in less ecstatic states, too.)

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:00 AM

    Dear Susan,

    I'm sure I speak for all your friends and fans when I say that I hope that some of your strategies are starting to work to get you around your writer's block.

    In the meantime, I'd be very curious to hear your friend's art song. Is there sheet music out there? or at least a set of lyrics?

    Wishing you well,

    Jean

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  2. http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

    You've probably seen this, and if you have, I apologize. As an artist (of a different sort) I understand how personal demons can keep us from the joy of creation. I wish you many blessings as you muddle through.

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