You know that feeling you get when you’re sitting with a blank notebook, a sudden urge to write? I don’t have it.
With apologies to Captain Jack Sparrow, this misquote exactly summed up my state of being over the past few days. It wasn’t writer’s block exactly. I knew what I should have been doing, and I knew how it needed to be done, essentially. But there I was, teetering on the edge, staring down into the abyss, and I was overcome by a dangerous mix of not wanting to mess up, believing I needed to know where I was heading before I could begin, and all sorts of silly rules and regulations I made up in my mind about how to go about putting words on paper.
I told myself these attitudes were silly, and that I should have been over all this nonsense by now. That, of course, didn’t help any, and I found myself reading prose poetry this morning instead of writing; completely bound up and unable to take the plunge.
And then in came an excerpt of Kora in Hell, by William Carlos Williams, to save the day. A single quote stopped me in my tracks.
“Having once taken the plunge the situation that preceded it becomes obsolete which a moment before was alive with malignant rigidities.”
Malignant rigidities. What a phrase. It goes beyond fears to get at all the other things that can keep us rooted to the spot, not experiencing the joy of free creation.
It reminded me of the experience of zip-lining; the seeming impossibility of ever leaving the platform, and then the exhilarating freedom of “why not?” as soon as you do.
And it’s true, isn’t it? As soon as we take the plunge, all of those silly things cease to have any power.
I wish there were more that I could share about this, like how to identify our own personal malignant rigidities, or how to go about digging them out of our lives permanently, but I don’t have any of that figured out yet. If I ever do, I’ll let you know.
In the meantime, isn’t it good to know how easy they are to vanquish?