A long-sought moment

There comes a moment in any creative project, whether writing, painting, composing, or anything else, when the work suddenly comes alive in your hands. What was a mass of disconnected materials mystically congeals and takes on a life of its own. You become almost an observer rather than a creator — you are a midwife to a new birth.

It is for this moment that all creators live. Instead of cogitating and anguishing, you rush around in a kind of dionysian frenzy. “Yes, this!” “No, not that!” Decisions come fast, seeming to be made for you rather than by you. You don’t want to sleep because the project inhabits your dreams. You don’t want to leave because you might come upon a discovery that cries out to be made at that very second.

I have reached this point on the Joseph book. I am no longer creating it, I am discovering it. I don’t know whether what I discover will be great or mediocre, or if it will have a good and successful life. But right now I don’t care. I am watching something come alive by my efforts, and that is enough.

I mention this partly to let you know, and partly by way of justification for the paucity of my entries on this site. I have not forgotten, I’ve just been overtaken.

The responses to my requests for ideas have been fascinating. They seem to fall into three areas: Open the door wider on Native American life and belief; write a kind of spiritual “mein kampf,” explaining my own personal struggles rather than addressing broad, spiritual themes; and write another book that speaks to the spiritual dimension of the ordinary. I’m chewing on all of this, and it will bear heavily on what I propose to publishers once Joseph is complete.

For now, it’s back to the manuscript, though. I’m so curious to see what will come out of this three-plus year effort. If, as Leonardo said, the quality of the work is in direct proportion to the gestation period, this should be something. Then again, it could be “a mightly labor for the birth of a mouse.”

But we’ll never know until it is born. So, I’m back to work. Catch you all soon with, I hope, more news on the headstone. It was supposed to be installed by Memorial Day. You’ll be the first to know.

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