This morning while I was taking my walk, sweating in the eighty degrees (it's not the heat, it's the humidity - yeah right), I was thinking, as I usually do. Lots of varied thoughts ran through my head, including ideas for stories and poems. Which has not happened lately.
At times I think that it would be nice to be able to just turn on my writer's mind with the flick of a switch. I can't seem to do that. A lot of writers say they do that, they just "put in the time" and are able to crank stuff out. It's not because I only wait for inspiration (well, sometimes I do wait, but it never comes), but that if I set myself a schedule and say "I'm going to sit down at x o'clock and write for xyz minutes/hours," then what tends to happen is I sit there. And sit there. And sit there some more.
Oh, I've heard about various rituals that writers have to get into that space. I'll make a pot of tea or a cup of coffee or a mocha with whipped cream (a cool weather ritual). I'll clean off my desk. I'll sit in another room and put music on. None of that guarantees anything. Even my tried and not-always-true method of taking a walk often results in nary a scribble in my little notebook.
I don't usually suffer from insomnia, so there are rarely wee hours for me to spend with the blank page. Oh, I've tried getting up early and writing, but just like when I was in college, anything before 8:30 AM or so that requires the use of language, is not likely to produce any good results.
And I was thinking about all this on/off business in relation to writing, because I got an idea for a poem (while walking) that involved a realization of how I turn off other parts of my psyche. And for some reason, it's a hell-of-a-lot easier to turn them off than turn them on. Sorta like old fluorescent light bulbs. You can flip that switch and turn them off quick, plunging you into darkness. But turn them on, and they flicker and buzz and only very slowly come to life. It takes awhile. Didn't used to.
And I was wondering, is it just age? Or is something more going on?