According to Natalie Goldberg you need to clear away the garbage and get to the third or fourth level thoughts, or what I refer to as primal thought. The fresh stuff with new perspective and genuine creative flavor. Primal thoughts are the beginnings of things. The root source which branches off in all directions and gets hard to untangle on the usual conscious level. Primal thoughts are symbols, archetypes, and liquid dream images. When they come to the surface they feel brand new and have a bit of the “wow” about them. The surprise of “where did this come from?” They come from inside and although they feel brand new, they also have the sense of being just right, and just a bit of the familiar to them. It’s a bit like mining. You have to create a tunnel down to the mother lode or the primal thoughts have no way to surface. You dig by writing what’s at the surface, sort of shoveling it out of the way. It’s work, but worth the effort when you strike gold or silver or any precious metal.
Although this is an excerpt from those first morning pages (that gold mine), I’d like to give you a very fresh example of what Natalie and I are talking about. The day before yesterday, I sat to begin writing on that big project that got me back to these much earlier pages. And I sat, staring at that empty white page and then sat some more.
I finally began writing. It was hesitant, chunky, without any real flow, but I was determined to fill that page. Eventually, I did. When I read it, I wanted to cry. It was a mess because it was simply me whining about not knowing where to start, unable to find a beginning point. I saved it anyway and went on to other things.
Yesterday, I awoke to an idea about exactly how and where to begin. I got on the computer and finished that new first page in about twenty minutes. I’d dug down below the surface level, the day before, and found exactly what I needed: the vein of gold that would allow me to launch the project.
Want to share a poem I wrote several years ago about all of this digging business. You will find it here, on my poetry blog: http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/canto/
Hope you enjoy.