May 24, 2018No Comments

A Thousand Tiny Universes

According to Buddhist cosmology, space is infinite. And this infinite space is occupied by an infinite number of systems. A thousand such systems make up one small universe; a thousand small universes make up one middling universe; and a thousand middling universes make up one great universe.

WildflowersUpon waking, after pouring the first cup of coffee, and sitting in my old camp chair, I try my damnedest to quiet my mind, to stop thinking about the work for the day, or the stressors. I focus on the seemingly random and insignificant before me - the robins that return to the same spot every spring to nest; the wildflowers growing in the yard; the chipmunk that has fattened himself on birdseed and made a home under a wall in the garage. This act quiets my mind, and clears it, and helps me visualize the necessity of all that is around me.

Wildflowers

January 22, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Winter #1

Photo by Roger Hoover

Winter

Fog ghosts up the gravel
revealing crows in their murder,
peppering deep furrows
of broken husks.

of withering winter wheat.
of autumn bootprints and tire tracks.

November 16, 2017No Comments

Writer’s Block


We have all experienced some form of writer's block - the dreaded condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing. Whether writing a song, an essay, poem or prose, when you hit that wall, blankly staring off into a void, you have one of two options. Quit, or wait until something comes (I've heard Barry Hannah and Larry Brown call this "ass time" as in "put your ass in a chair and don't get up until you write.")

Charles Bukowski, writer's block

Charles Bukowski, writing.


writing about a writer's block is better than not writing at all
- Charles Bukowski

Breaking Writer's Block - Discover Your Cycle

Over the years, I have discovered that I have a natural cycle of writing. Songs either come, or they don't. I jot lines, ideas, and experiences down in a journal until the moment comes when I am inspired, begin to see a theme develop, or discover a melody.  I don't push it. When I push it, that's when I sense that thing called writer's block.

I wasn't aware of this cycle as a young songwriter. There were times I was infuriated. I would wonder if I had lost it, or if I never had it in the first place, or if I would ever manage to string a few words together ever again.

I tend to work exhaustively when I see a theme develop. Until then, I constantly record bits of songs on my iPhone. As an artist, you are probably objective of your work, self-aware, and critical at some level. Start looking for cycles of inspiration. I have learned to let the creative well fill with water. Then, I drain it and repeat the process all over again. It could take years to discover your cycle. Continue being aware. Most importantly, stay positive when you aren't able to work.

Don't Rush It - Redefine Writer's Block

I've gone as long as four years between albums despite having written hundreds of songs in between those releases. Writer's block? No. Patience? Yes. But songwriting is different than, say, copywriting a page of SEO-worthy content about liquid crystals. When that happens, and you're on a deadline, its write or not get paid. If you're an artist, you're in luck. You're not bound to guidelines or deadlines. Write a little every day. It could be one line, it could be one page.

Don't Censor

Write, all the time, everyday until it becomes an extension of yourself. These are for your personal use. Nobody will what you've written. Don't censor or self edit through this process. Let the work settle a bit. Come back to it at a later time after you've removed yourself and any personal attachment from the work. Look at it from some other perspective. Play with words. Find new ones. Add more detail. You can always erase. That's why pencils have erasers.