Last week I talked about learning to release our emotion, through words, in a controlled and alive way, rather than in a way that overwhelms us and sabotages our writing. When talking about this subject I often use the metaphor of a caged tiger. Our words can sometimes feel like they are a captive animal struggling to break free from its confinement. But, what would happen if you unlocked a tiger’s cage, threw open the gate, and told him jubilantly, ‘you’re free, at last!’?
Probably, he would do one of the two following things. Either, he would cower in the back of his cage, afraid to come out, or, in his terror he would attack and maul you. He wouldn’t take these actions just because he’s a wild animal, he would take them because he’s a wild animal put into an unfamiliar and frightening situation.
Let’s bring this metaphor home to our situation as writers:
Neither the words cowering at the back of the cage (writer’s block) or the destruction of the writer’s psyche by overwhelming emotion, is the outcome we are seeking- obviously.
We need to build a relationship with that wild animal, with ‘the wildness’ inside of ourselves. If we can do this, we can facilitate a slow contained release of emotion, and imbue our words with passion and power. This is much safer and more productive than throwing open the gate on our fears and vulnerabilities, and hoping that this will somehow make us more creative.
After all, we want to write words that are truly wild, not words that we call ‘wild’ but that are, in fact something quite different, that are ‘crazy’.
More on what it means to be ‘crazy’ next week…
The Weekly Prompt: Remembering Times of Caged Words
A. Think specifically about a time you were writing when you restricted, blocked, or unable to express yourself as you would wish. Write for 15 minutes about this: When was it? Where were you? What were you writing? What were the problems?
If you have difficulty recalling a specific occasion, use your imagination to create the scene. Whether real, or imagined, immerse yourself in the feelings as fully as you can
B. Now make use of a different point of view, a different voice of narration. Imagine the caged words are speaking to you. Write for 15 minutes, no more and no less, from their perspective. What do they say?