Not long ago I was paranoid about jury duty, absolutely convinced that it would have interrupted the flow of my research and broken God only knows what mystical quality I think I possess once I am, finally, writing. Yes, of course it did interrupt the flow because, instead of reading and writing every single day for two weeks, I was elsewhere, away from all books and papers and not quite thinking about my ideas and their development at all.
Yet, I also did scribble a few notes between court takes and consolidated them at the end of last week, when they appeared to flow incredibly well within a piece that, I must incense myself, I had thought, up until that moment, a little stilted and not very good. Now it’s Monday and I am on frigging fire. I rolled out 1500 words in less than one hour and a half. I then sat back and stared for a while wondering what every creative person wonders in those rare occurrences when you enter The Zone and work as if possessed by an alien entity (whom is really called The Muse): why is it not like this every single time?
There is no answer to that. There never has been and never will be, even though Twyla Tharp, whom I mention often, as you may recall, is adamant in stating that you will enter The Zone at will provided you build The Creative Habit. I’ve always been a little sceptical about that one, as I was saying not long ago when I concluded that there is a middle way bang in between The Zone and the lingering no man’s land when things Just Are Not Working.
But today I started wondering whether the fire can be re-ignited at will provided one has reached a certain intellectual maturity and reassurance. I know it’s easy for me to say so, as this PhD has been part of my life for years and therefore, in its entirety at least, it really isn’t something new to conjure up out of nothing. Yet, of course that is not entirely true either; even though the project itself has existed for a long time, what I wrote today did not come to mind until the precise moment I sat down and pulled the words, and eventually the argument, out of nowhere.
It may sound incredibly conceited of me, but the truth is, I didn’t know I was going to write what I did when I sat down. I’ve never been big on note taking, plotting out and planning, mostly because I’ve always worked under the assumption that it just happens and that writing is not like taking figures from a document, inputting them on Excel, writing a macro and running it. That’s a step-by-step process, writing isn’t, and certainly my writing, which I’ve often referred to as off the cuff, isn’t. I don’t know where this inspiration is coming from and I don’t know why it is coming right now and didn’t four weeks ago. Whatever it is, wherever it is from, I really hope it sticks around.