A few days ago at sunset the sky was unearthly. The Painter came home, grabbed his camera and tripod and headed to the beach to take a bunch of photos. My internal, unspoken take on this, having never seen him take a sunset photo before: You had a frustrating day in the studio. Nothing was working with your paintings. You feel blocked, so you’re trying something new, to change up the energy and get things moving again.
Talk of things like a muse, or writer’s block, makes me uneasy and impatient. But I deeply understand what it means to be stuck in a rut, retreading the same ground, unable to make something that feels wild and new when wild and new is what you crave. What the Painter was trying to do by varying his routine is what I’m trying to do when, on my daily list, I add “change something up.” It’s what William Stafford meant when he talked about the sunlight bending. It’s a kind of salvation that you have to search for and find, search for and find, your entire life long.
When I Met My Muse, by William Stafford
I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing.
like a locust on the coffee table and then
Her voice belled forth, and the
I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched.
“I am your own
way of looking at things,” she said.
“When you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.”
And I took her hand.
For more information about William Stafford, please click here.