Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Let the silt settle

The main character of the book I'm currently reading is (among other things) a musician.   At one point, when fretting over the composition of a song, he remembers a saying of his father's (also a musician) about creating in the right time:

Songs choose their hour & their own season
When your tune's tin, there is a reason
The tone of a tune is your heart's mettle
And there's no clear water from a muddy well. 
All you can do is let the silt settle
Or you'll sound sour as a broken bell.

Kind of childish in a way, but something about these lines struck me.  I had to read it several times over.  Though obviously talking about music, I think this advice applies well to writing.  There is a tension between writing for the discipline of it and waiting for the silt to settle.  There are times when the creative synapses overtake the normal functions of my mind.  I've been walking somewhere and had to dash to find a place to sit and take out my journal to keep a thought from flying away.  There have been late nights when I've thought, "No, really, Samara, you need to pause now."   But I know enough to strike while the iron's hot, because I've also been the one sitting, staring at a blinking cursor, waiting for the words to spill.  Even worse, there are those time-sensitive pieces that don't get the attention they deserve and are, therefore, unequal to your wits.  They are a concoction made out of hurried phrases, gaunt emotions, obsequious idioms.  They're evidence Miracle Max spoke truth: "Don't rush a miracle man, you get a rotten miracle."

I've still got so much to learn about weaving a "miracle."  Learning not to rush, but to tread lightly, take pauses, inhale before I exhale.  It's a strange tension to walk - and even harder to forecast creative downbursts - but I am trying.

And I'm waiting for some things to settle.

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