Inky Fingers

I had a great discussion with my friend Anna last weekend, one of those rambling conversations about creativity and life, cultural politics and the way we struggle to remain real and compassionate. The thing I’m realizing about creativity lately is that it requires Time. Time to slow down. Time to observe. Time to get down and dirty with the pen. Inkysludge on your fingers time.

My favorite scene from the 1998 Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman written movie “Shakespeare in Love” is when Will’s at his desk, absorbed in the creative moment, fingers smudged with ink (the quill he stores in a tomato). It’s messy. Manuscripts are full of cross-outs and arrows and the signs that a human intelligence, a human heart is at work. Beautiful. Also, smudges on fingers are sexy.

Being on deadline after deadline — well, it’s productive, for sure. But space without boundary, time to Dream and hear what’s moving inside us…ahhhh. *slow breath* How can we write about life if we don’t take time to feel it?
That same impulse, that same moment to moment energy, I’m learning that this is a manifestation of the F L O W, the current of The Story. Whether it’s creative nonfiction (in the form of journalism) or fiction (in the form of historical epic), I still seem to really crave, need that time to hunker down, get quiet, and let the Story take over.
When there are oil pastels on my fingers, or the gel pen’s leaking (yes, soft rubber grip, black ink, fat tip), or it’s raining outside and life is spilling out, drumming on the roofs and sidewalks, those are the times I get absorbed in the creative process. Mmmmm…
– MGB

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