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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Have You Caught the Writer’s Alleluia Lately?


alleluia_warfield_large

When you make your music right, you catch a ride with the Divine

By Rosanne Bane

A fellow writer, who wants to remain anonymous, introduced me to the idea of catching the Alleluia. She in turn caught the idea from a choral director who, as she recalls, “told his students there is always an ‘Alleluia’ going on in the Universe and when you make your music right, you get to catch onto that Alleluia for a while. I feel that way about any art, or maybe about any truth – you know it when you feel it, you know it when you create it. It comes from you, but it’s more than you. I believe this is catching a ride with the Divine and I’m glad to say I have experienced that a time or two.”

I believe that most writers and artists do what we do because we caught the Alleluia at least once. We’re like dedicated surf bums who won’t hold a regular job because it would interfere with catching the next great wave. We’re always looking and hoping to catch another Alleluia.

Creativity is one way of coming to spirituality. Creativity feels so good, especially early on, because it is a lure designed to call us to begin a spiritual journey that will challenge us profoundly. I’ve always said that being in the flow – where the words come effortlessly, we lose track of time and space, our ordinary, petty concerns fall away and the writing is bliss – makes us aware that we are so much more than the little ego-self we usually see ourselves as. In the flow, we have a glimmer of understanding that the art and the work comes not so much from us as through us. That glimmer also gives us a sense that we are so small in the universe and yet so much more connected and part of the universe than we ever realized. We catch a glimpse of unity and eternity. We catch a few bars of the Alleluia.

When we come back to ordinary reality after being in the flow, we think “Wow! That was awesome, terrific, amazing! I want more of that!” For our spiritual selves, it was truly wonderful. But some part of our ego-self intuits that just as ‘horror’ is the root of ‘horrific,’ ‘terror’ is the root of ‘terrific.’ There is something very unsettling and frightening about how we get into the flow and how out of control we are when we’re there.

So it shouldn’t be a big surprise that even though we desperately want to be back in the flow, we also resist the terror of surrendering control. This is the origin of the “I want to write, but I don’t want to write” duality. Part of us knows it’s just not safe to give up control and throw ourselves into the flow. Our egos are constantly trying to get the bliss without surrendering control. We want to know exactly where the writing is going at all times.

But as any surfer worthy of the title will tell you, you can’t catch a wave sitting safe on the shore. Any true surfer will tell you that a day spent in the ocean, wiping out on every wave, getting scabbed and rolled by sets, never really catching a wave, never getting to the Green Room (the interior of a tube wave) is still infinitely preferable to a day spent inland.

You can’t catch the Alleluia knowing exactly where you’re going. That’s the whole point of it – the Alleluia expands your horizons, it takes where you can’t go alone. There’s no doubt about it – writing takes courage. And a bit of foolhardy risk-taking.leap

Are you willing to spread your arms wide and dive off the cliff into the ocean in the hopes of catching the Alleluia? Are you willing to risk drowning in your own mediocre words for the chance of entering the flow that will give you a glimpse of the infinite?

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2 Comments on “Have You Caught the Writer’s Alleluia Lately?”

  1. Troyann November 14, 2009 at 3:05 am #

    Hi Rosanne, Coincidentally I caught the “Alleluia” today. It wasn’t from writing, it was from helping a client get to the next level, but certainly an “Alleluia” just the same. I love that label…It feels so right! Thanks for sharing!!! Troyann

    Like

    • rosannebane November 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

      Thanks Troyann. Creativity comes in lots of forms… working with clients and being a part of their growth is one my faves.

      Like

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