Sunday, June 25, 2006

Practice Makes Perfect!

“Writer, Practise Your Craft!”  W.B. Yeats

And yes, that’s what their advice is – keep writing.  That’s the way to break through.  Automatic writing, that’s what Yeats called it; stream of consciousness was what Joyce called it.  Morning Pages what Julia Cameron calls it.  Entirely the same thing of course.  I love writing – I’m addicted to it and wish I could be so much better at it.  Yeats’ advice went something like this:  “Writer, practise your craft.”  Yes, we’ve all heard that old chestnut of advice – “practice makes perfect!”

Where to start?  No easy thing, yet one can start anywhere in drawing a circle and still end up with the one and the same circle.  So true.  And writing is a sure way to express the soul.  For me it is my main way.  I love to see words form themselves upon the page.  Anthony Burgess spoke of the attempt to make words behave.  They are rather like an unruly bunch of conscripts who must be beaten into shape to enable them eventually to enter the fray, to take up battle with the enemy.  The writer is the drill sergeant who must whip them into shape, get them battle-worthy.  No easy task this!  

And I write also to ease the pain, a pain that is almost indescribable.  I am almost loath to use the word “pain” because it is such a loaded word.  I am really referring here to the human condition, to our finitude, to our fragility, to our being incomplete, unsatisfied and yearning creatures.  We are creatures pointed at an unknown future.  We often face this future with trepidation and fear.  And yet we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

We are complex beings.  I am a complex being.  Things are only becoming clearer for me as I get older and work hard at making sense of the life I have been given by God- only-knows what power or force or drive to life that exists in this wonderful if at times tragically painful world we live in.  I write also to find a way to express my feelings, a way to reach out to a focused eye that may read these words or a listening ear that may hear them read.  I read and I write, I write and I read and hopefully I will become a better writer by virtue of my practice.

I love reading and hearing the stories of others.  That way I am open to the life experiences and the enriching insights of others.  This helps me on my journey through this wonderful if at times painful world.  I love the fact that sometimes I have been instrumental in helping others to become more themselves, to develop their potential.  Like the ganglions of the brain that reach from neuron to neuron in an infinity of possible connections, so also we reach out to all others with whom we come in contact and they to us.

Listen to the inner self.  Listen to the heart and soul.  Be open to the spirit.  Reclaim and look after the child within, take time to nurture the inner being.  Give your attention to your body and your soul, or give your attention to that complex mystery we may call the body-mind or the mind-body – have it as you will!  It is a unity, a oneness of being.  Gone forever is the Cartesian dualism that wished to separate them out, disentangle the very threads of life.  We are no spiritual prisoner within the machine of the body.  My body and my soul or spirit is inseparably that unity I dare call me!!!!

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