Journal Entry 20 Feb/2017
7:58 a.m. So blocked. Couldn’t sleep worth a hoot last night. The day’s just begun and already I’m exhausted. My novel’s heroine, once so full of promise, is stuck in a happy marriage (what had I been thinking?). I can’t even come up with a first obstacle, except for the clichéed widowhood, loss of a child, discovery of a terrible secret . . . How did the creative juices get so dammed up? Whither hast flown, like a flock of winter sparrows, the billiant ideas with which I began this project?
8:13 a.m. Oprah suggests I’d benefit from a guided creativity meditation, so here goes. Am now at the ready, phone turned off, door locked, headphones firmly on the noggin, and all tabs closed except for Youtube.
8:14 a.m. It’s night. I’m sitting crosslegged on the grassy bank of a stream, listening to the flowing water and looking up at the stars.
It’s so tranquil here. The air smells like moss, and the starry sky is a glorious visual feast. Is it wood tick season here in Meditation Land? Will the grass stain my pajamas? Oops– must listen to the voice and do what it says. Shut up and listen, Wanda. Foooocus.
8:17 a.m. The sun is coming up and the sky is slowly becoming lighter. The voice tells me to rise, turn, and walk along a little path that meanders through the tall grass toward a large Victorian mansion with many windows.
Ah, there it is. It looks like a prison, kind of. No, it looks more like one of those girls schools Charlotte Brontë used to describe. No– what it really looks like is that old abandoned almshouse in Nova Scotia that we used to ride by every day on the schoolbus, a great hulking reminder of the horrors of Dickensian poverty. It was the only thing that kept some of us going to school, so terrified were we of following the fate of the unemployable. Marie Comeau said that at night you could hear the moans of the indigent old folks who used to live there. Come on, Wanda, focus, damnit!
8:21 a.m. I’m to go inside. I recoil (why did I have to remember the almshouse?), but I change the look of the front door a bit to resemble that of a grand country manor, and go inside.
8:22 a.m. There’s a large hall with walls decked in heraldry.
Way to flaunt your alleged superiority, upper class twits. The Watermans have a coat of arms, too, you know. It features a knight’s helm, an elk with its tongue hanging out, and a bunch of dry oak leaves. So there.
8:24 a.m. I’m told to walk to the end of this hall and enter a door that opens onto a narrow corridor. At the end of this corridor is a large staircase, spiralling downward. I’m to descend.
Seriously? Walking down to the basement of an abandoned house is going to relax me and bring me to a zone of imaginative freedom? Stop it. Trust the process.
8:27 a.m. I go down the staircase, landing in a large room whose walls are lined with tiny drawers. The voice invites me to open a few and look inside. I find string too short to use, rusted bolts, empty pill bottles, and and dust.
9:33 a.m. I wake up. Youtube has long finished the creativity meditation and has moved on to another meditation that promises to show me my spirit guide. The thought of meeting my spirit guide frightens me more than did the prospect of entering an abandoned building, and besides, I’m dying to know what was in all those drawers.
Did I eventually find one that contained something precious, mysterious, or revelatory? Was my novel’s climax in one of those drawers? Or was I apprehended and taken to another room where I was tortured until I swore to uphold the Sovereign Magistral Order of the Temple of Solomon? This last suspicion is confirmed when I try to return to the creativity meditation and find that it’s disappeared.
10:00 a.m. I think I’ll give my novel’s heroine a job in real estate. It’ll be her task to find buyers for scary old buildings. The possibilities are dizzying.
Wow, I guess this works.