Monday, October 05, 2009

Writers: Kill the Dragon & Write Letters of Love


The Sarah Farmer Inn at Green Acre and a view from between the fir trees that stood on the grounds when 'Abdu'l-Baha walked there in 1912.

We began each writing day of our writer retreat with breakfast together, then gathered for inspiration from Baha’i prayers and passages, along with words of writing wisdom from other authors.
‘Abdu’l-Baha, who had in 1912 walked the very grounds we walked now, encouraged many an artist. To one He wrote: “I rejoice to hear that thou takest pains with thine art, for in this wonderful new age, art is worship. The more thou strivest to perfect it, the closer wilt thou come to God.” He exhorted individuals to "acquire knowledge and the sciences and arts . . . to be . . . piercing rays of the mind shedding forth their light in this, 'the first life.'"

One morning we read words from Joseph Campbell, reknown for his writing about mythology, who said about the writing process: “You have to suspend all criticism to do your work . . . Suspending criticism is killing the dragon Thou Shalt. Kill him. . . then think of someone you know who would resonante to your statement and write for that person. . . .
. . . . "The two things, then, that I’d say are necessary for breaking through what’s called writer’s block are, first to have a person to whom you are addressing yourself and, second, to set aside a couple of hours a day when . . . you’re writing letters of love to that person.” [A Joseph Campbell Companion]

Even in that small group of ten writers we shared resources, information, contacts. We had no idea of the value of these to one another until we came together. That is the bounty and wisdom of networking: one of the three core domains -- Knowledge – Endeavor – Network -- at the heart of a creative life. We simply do not know where we will find valuable nuggets, or what priceless piece we hold that will serve another. Networking uncovers pearls.

You might say networking, like friendship itself, is a form of love, and love is a reflection of the divine. “All things are beneficial if joined with the love of God,” wrote ‘Abdu’l-Baha, “and without His love, all things are harmful and act as a veil between man and the Lord of the Kingdom. When His love is there, every bitterness turneth sweet, and every bounty rendereth a wholesome pleasure.”

So what did I get out of this writer’s retreat? See my next post Resistance always has Meaning.

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