How often do we find ourselves guilty of focusing too much on the product of our work and banging our head against the wall every step of the way through the beautiful but odious creative process?
This year alone? More times than I’m going to admit.
So, in an attempt to stimulate my creative juices, I attended the JustThis: Zen Writing meetup at the Austin Zen Center earlier this week. The group begins with a short meditation followed by a prompt, then 30 minutes of writing whatever comes up. Finally, we go around the room, sharing whatever we’ve written, and the rest of the group can offer feedback.
The prompt was a short piece entitled Finding the Lego by Maryann Corbett of St. Paul, Minnesota, about turning up one small object loaded with meaning.
Nothing really resonated with me in the piece other than the idea of the lego. This was also my first time attending the meetup, and I was late, so I identified with the missing lego piece, feeling like the outsider who tries to fit in at the last minute.
The 30-minute session began, and I had no clue what to write. I was already allowing myself to feel uncomfortable because of my tardiness (I arrived right in the middle of meditation portion. Awkward.). With a smile from the organizer, I assured myself that it was OK that I was there, and that I was welcome. So, I focused on the lego:
I am the lego
I am the lego who shows up late
asking for its chance to connect with the others.
Aren’t we all legos?
Lego represents the building blocks of matter
But even Lego has legos
Specially designed to make it into a lego
How far can we go?
How far can we go
‘til we are no longer lego
and more of something else?
Then, my mind veered off into all kinds of directions. Stream of Consciousness. Danny Kaye. Lego doodles. If lego spoke Spanish: Soy el lego que llego tarde… then, finally writing the words “I don’t even know what I am writing anymore.”
I was about to give up and just sit there for the remaining 5 minutes, just staring at my skirt… when one small gem popped out:
Legos in my dress
Legos in my chest
I am a kingdom of legos
Building nations of dreams
Creation it seems
is but a thing of legos
Huh. Process does work.
I’ll be hosting my own poetry meetup tonight at Friends & Neighbors on E. Cesar Chavez at 6:00, and we’ll be honoring process. Event info here: Eastside Poetry & Coffee.
Photo credit: Paul Hudson