This writer does not jump into creativity. Creativity bumps into her on its way through the world.
I walk around, go to work, take care of my family, drive up a long, shaded city street and for just one moment the words drift into the brain from right to left. The brain sees them out of the corner of its internal eye, a phrase, incomplete, but unmistakably new. This is the beginning.
One who is not a writer does not pay attention, or sees and lets go of the gift. The gift’s living nature is to be ever moving. It has the quality of light. It is not a product of the human brain.
The writer has a tool called language by which she pins this light down on paper. There it listlessly flaps its beautiful wings, its shine vanishing. Then it dies.
The writer pins it to a board we call a document. Then the writer’s work starts. Using this tool and this board, the writer creates the world around this piece of captured light, this butterfly. When she’s finished with the construction, she pulls out the pin. The resurrected creature lifts its antennae, the wings fold up, and with a quick, tiny jump, it flies away.
Look, there is a reader with a butterfly net.
For the writer, there is only one word, the word of recognition: “hello.”
Elizabeth Myhr is a poet, editor and product development manager. Her debut book of poetry the vanishings & other poems, was published by Calypso Editions in October of 2011. She holds an MFA in poetry from Seattle Pacific University and lives in Seattle with her family.
This essay was originally featured in the Bereshit Bara Creativity Series, a blog series about creativity masterminded by SPU MFA alumnus Ross Gale. Read more contributions here, or listen to them on Gale’s podcast.