I anticipated riding a wave as monstrous as the surfing delights found on Oahu’s North Shore. Instead I’ve been floating in the bathtub that is the Gulf of Mexico post-hurricane season.
Last July I rode a huge creative wave out of my first-ever MFA residency, seemingly unlimited energy that carried me through two “packets” of creative writing, or 60 sparkling pages over two months’ time. I’ve been back from my second residency for eight days now, and the words are coming about as willingly as a male pit bull follows Bob Barker into a veterinary hospital.
My residency was far from a disappointment; it was a phenomenal creative experience, and I suspect the energy I felt came through in my dispatches from Vermont. But my time there lacked the newness of my first residency. I suspect I’ve been trying too hard to replicate the harmonious magic of that initial experience, as the director and screenwriters did with The Hangover Part II.
I’ll have my packet of creative writing done by the end of the month. And I suspect there will be some compelling prose in there; the last couple of days I’ve actually felt pretty good about some of the passages I’ve produced. I know from experience that if you force yourself to produce creatively every day, some decent results will emerge despite any doubts or disappointments you bring to the moment. Those glimmers of promise will make it easier for me to sit down at the keyboard tomorrow and start typing.
Have you ever tried to duplicate a moment of creative magic, only to have it fall short of expectations? Perhaps you returned to a place of great inspiration, or resumed a routine that once provided a creative spark? How have you reacted when your creative energy was lower than anticipated?