“Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind.” *

In a work outlining the psychology of art and the creative process the issue is raised whether writing was more the result of inspiration or hard work. I came across the following statement, “What precedes inspiration?–A slow period wherein the subconscious mind takes hold of the subject matter.” My comments are in response to this statement.

For me writing is ninety percent hard work and ten percent inspiration. Writing is like a woman with whom I have a great passion. I will do anything to satisfy her, and when she calls me to sit before her I respond. Only writing cools the passion that I have for her. She is both my curse and my blessing. If I did not have this burning passion for her I could live a normal life. I could sleep at night; I could take holidays; I could spend time with my family.

I could be a person. Instead, every moment of my life is consumed with how to satisfy her. She drives me into solitude; She squeezes every drop from me and turns it into a word. But then she gives forth and bares a wonderful fruit for me and a great ecstasy develops within the mind. I love her and I can never leave her.

Writing is a state of mind. It is my meditation. When I write I work for just a few hours and then spend some time to allow my sub conscious mind to “chew away” at the issues. Long japa walks are essential for the creative process. Japa shuts down the conscious mind and allows the sub conscious to take charge. As strange as it may seem motorcycle riding aids the creative process. I used to take long rides into the desert to work out the issues at hand. There is a rhythm that develops when I write. It is a slow “clicking” of the mind, a tap tap tap of consciousness as the mind works its way through the creative process. A great ecstasy flows out of from this slow metering out of consciousness. I seek solitude to achieve and maintain this state of consciousness.

I live in two worlds. As a priest my life is outward; as a writer my life is inward and it is a torture to move between these two worlds. Sometimes I boarder on madness as I struggle to balance these two worlds.



* Catherine Drinker Bowen

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