The following quote accurately describes the past 25 years of my life. Having read it leaves me with a mixture of emotions. On the one hand is a sense of relief that I’m not alone and certainly not crazy. On the other hand is an odd sense of remorse that I fit so readily into a bucket (regardless of how positive belonging to that bucket may be).
The days before I am ready to write seem colorless and slow, not bad, just different, minus the spark. Sometimes I sleep more than usual and feel sluggish. I read, I wander about in a mixture of things. I might spend hours in the garden or planning a party, or reading everything that catches my attention. Most of this looks like it has nothing to do with my lyric writing, like I’m just goofing off. I do my regular job like I’m not really there some of the time even though I get things done. It’s something I’ve adjusted to in spite of how strange it seems.
Then the clock seems to start ticking faster. My mind clears out some of the cobwebs and ideas start to surface, usually while I’m running or in the shower. There it is, right in front of me, but still like unformed clay. My feelings and thinking start to join forces and off I go, somethings at the most inconvenient times. I hate that part, when I have to delay, but that’s part of it, too. People like me don’t have the luxury of a patron, so we have to respond to every vision and notion that pulls on us.
When it works out I notice that I’m in a strange space, neither good nor bad, and that time has been altered. I’m going into my work as if I were on the tracks of a roller coaster. I’m excited, afraid, nervous, and ready as the process builds. I wish I could just squeeze it out of my head because as soon as I put pencil in my hand and get down to the business of writing the words, I know I’ll lose some of the purity of my inspiration.
Then I go into some sort of trance and get pulled down into my ideas. It can last anywhere from a few seconds to weeks. Some of it is awful. Looking for that “just right” combination that only comes after several rewrites takes what feels like an eternity. People think creativity just blasts forth like a volcano, but that feeling of ecstasy, when I’m off the ground with inspiration, passes in a flash, and then the clock slows down again. I miss it when it leaves. When I land again I feel as though I’m somehow larger and I’m waking from a dream adventure.