Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chapter Four - Part Three - Soil Consolidation

I think possibly that my field is suffering from soil consolidation. You may laugh at this writer who takes a metaphor to the enth degree but looking at my writer's life over the past 20 years, it is rather easy to say that I've been working underneath extreme pressure. Extreme pressure on soil, such as heavy equipment or even a glacier, makes soil compress to such a degree that it cannot absorb rainfall or nutrients. This increases soil erosion. Plants have a difficult time getting started because the minerals in the soil are so compressed there is little space for air and water. Beneficial earthworms can't get in there to move things around and help those new ideas.

The heaviness of my adult life feels like a bulldozer sat on my field for years. Every time I tried to plant something, the abuse increased, the space to focus on my own work decreased and the little plants barely evolved. Apparently soil recovers from this kind of compaction only with a balance of moisture, mineral and fauna. I was correct in believing that tillage is one of the answers, and that there needs to be a dry spell where emotions are not overwhelming the creative voice. But apparently, fauna are just as important. Earthworms must be introduced to aerate the soil on a regular basis -- to mix things up. What is the metaphor of earthworms to a writing practice?

This is what I think earthworms might be: studying new and alien ideas, but also space and time. Because earthworms are obviously not soil during their productive lives, but then they do become the soil itself, and in their productive lives they are mainly creating air gaps and paths for the root systems of plants. Julia Cameron, in The Artist's Way talks about "an artist date" where one is supposed to go out on a weekly basis and do something new for an hour to feed the inspiration of said artist, as a reward system and also a seed gathering system. I think that is certainly something to consider. I also believe that if the point of the earthworm is to create space and air in the soil, then part of what a writer must do is to create space and air in the mind somehow. I'm not sure filling the mind with ideas is exactly going to do it for me. In fact, it feels as if emptiness is what I'm seeking.

Meditation has always been a struggle for me, but perhaps it is because I really didn't understand what the purpose of it was. Now, if I think of meditation as a practice of earthworm-ing my soil then perhaps I can be more focused and determined to create that emptiness the sages espouse. I have a hard time sitting still for very long even though most people experience me as very calm. When really tasked to sit and do nothing I feel I will jump out of my skin. My thought of the moment is that I will have to walk first, as a pattern of meditation, and then move towards sitting in emptiness. That may seem like a cop-out. It is however the best I can do at the moment.

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