Some nights, Raven descends on my sleep, spreads black wings over my head, inserts its obsidian beak into my ear and with the dexterity of a scalpel wielding surgeon, proceeds to pick my brain clean of all creative thoughts, swallowing them for regurgitation to it’s young, leaving my creative brain sterile as a bleached bone partially immersed in desert sands after being cleansed of all flesh by an army of pincered red ants. I awake feeling lost, exsanguinated of all nonlinear ideas, devoid of the creativity I need to entertain in the morning so I am able to emerge from my daily writing time as a fully functional human being.
The morning following these nights, I find myself, fountain pen in hand, sitting at the window of the coffee shops where I normally write a few pages, watching the early risers hustle by, speaking into their phones, sipping their coffee from red cups on their way to the office. Do these people feed on creativity? Is the need to create in their blood? Am I the only one that needs to ingest creativity like the flower absorbs sunshine so I, we, can express soft petaled flowers another day?
Creating is breathing. During those mornings I find myself barren of fresh ideas – any ideas – I feel out of breath. So, I sift through my notes – notes kept while reading books where I log those turns of phrase that won’t quit gnawing at my consciousness, won’t let me continue reading until they are highlighted or copied and stored to feed future brain masturbations.
I have notes everywhere – highlights in books, words on scraps of paper, in journals, in tiny notebooks bought to ensure random thoughts have a place to reside until they are needed, most recently, stored electronically in my kindle, in my phone, my constant companion, where they are stored in the cloud and easily accessible to all my devices, at my fingertips when I need to trigger inspiration.
These notes are my shadow world. When at a loss for words, I hold a seance with my shadows, convene with my shadow self until I find a captured phrase begging to be set free, a song lyric needing examination, a quote ripe for dissection. I set them free on a handwritten page. I copy a set of those words onto a blank page giving them the freedom to evolve, I trace their meandering flight with purple or red or green ink until it is played out, alights on a naked tree, and solidifies becoming a first, permanent a leaf on a branch.
Raven believed feeding on my creativity would stop the flow of ideas. But, it merely created a void, a vacuum desperate to be filled by new thoughts, new ideas. An emptiness forcing me to delve into my shadow world, come face to face with my shadow by new thoughts, new ideas. An emptiness forcing me to delve into my shadow world, come face to face with my shadow self, and learn something new about myself. In the battle between Raven and me, we both win.