The blank page. It looms in the half-light of the computer, a sterile surface untouched by text, empty of emotion, quietly waiting. We’ve all faced it. Is writing supposed to be this hard? Is the muse so fickle?
It’s chilly and prone to extreme downpours right now where I am in the Netherlands. The summer started with beautiful sunny beach days, but now we are back in the ice-box.
The rain pours. A trapped hornet whines in the window. I cast around for something to blog about, and find only the blank page.
I’m thinking about inspiration and how to find it.
First, grab a cup of coffee. Then think about what grabs you. Google it.
History and poetry grab me, so I googled the earliest woman poet.
Have you heard of Enheduanna? I can’t believe I’m this many years old, and I’m only just hearing about Enheduanna.
Ancient Sumar, c. 2300 BCE. Enheduanna, the daughter of King Sargon of Akkad, is history’s earliest known poet.
“My king, something has been created that no one has created before,” she wrote. Her religious writing helped her father secure power in the south of his kingdom.
Echoes of her work resonate through history, in the verses of Homer, and the words of the Bible.
That’s the best part: She was a Moon Goddess!
When I wrote Moon Tide, a collection of Cape Cod poems, I was in thrall with the Moon and poetry. I guess I still am. At that point, inspiration was an open spigot.
Today I’m facing the blank page. It happens to us all, but not always.
For inspiration, try taking a walk a day in nature.
While I wrote Moon Tide, I walked the marsh and beach daily with my dog Daisy, and for every walk, Daisy somehow gave me a poem.
Inspiration and magic usually come together.
Daisy came from the Animal Rescue League in Brewster, on the north side of Cape Cod. If you are looking for a dog on Cape, start there.
One of my best friends went there looking for a cat but called me instead because he had inadvertently found my next dog. I drove down there the following day to check it out, and there was Daisy.
She was a pointer-lab mix, black with a white pointer stripe on her chest, and she looked like a classic Cape Cod black lab.
Daisy and I spent three years roaming the Cape, and the poems piled up. The inspiration to write was somehow dog-induced, and somehow a gift from nature.
It is still pouring here in the Netherlands, but I have let the hornet out and managed to write an entire blog.
“I, who am I among living creatures?” Enheduanna asked.
Writing is not always easy, and hitting it right is an uncertain science.
Think of it as a combination of magic and coffee and sheer persistence.
Inspiration is where you find it, people, and the best way to find it is to keep writing.