Refilling the Well of Creativity

Alone on a beach in Surry with an overturned boat.

Kate Flora here, remarkably tardy with today’s posting, because my brain is full, and currently disfunctioning, and so I took on a road trip to restore my creativity and make me feel like a writer again.

I don’t know if this is a problem for the rest of you. I often think it shouldn’t be a problem for me. As I told the audience at the Ellsworth library last night, right after imagination, my favorite word is discipline. But despite my love of the word, and of the practice of keeping myself in the writing chair until the work is done–here’s a simple truth: the writing is never done. And eventually, have gone from project to project for months on end, I will hit the wall. I will run out of steam. My eyes will hurt from so many hours and days of staring at the screen, and everything I think or write will begin to sound like gravel.

Enter the road trip. Of course, those who follow the MCW summer schedule know that we’re all over the place all the time. Last week it was in Stockton Springs, at an amazingly creative library that collects returnable cans and bottles to furnish it with a book budget. Later in the week, it was South Portland. I carried home e-mails of new resources, and some very thoughtful questions, as well as fewer books. And this week, when I was due to be in Ellsworth with Lea Wait and Katherine Hall Page, I took advantage of needing to drive that far, and kept right on going.

John Clark has already written about the pleasures of Hancock and Washington Counties, so you know where I’ve just been. I haven’t just been out smelling the roses, thought the scent of beach roses rises in the heat and drifts on the wind, I’ve smelling fresh-cut grass, and the muddy brine of salt marshes, and the Christmasy tang of balsam. I’ve been staring at the rocks on Schoodic Point. At heaps of sun-bleached driftwood.

Quiet enough almost to hear the moss grow on a gray July afternoon.

I’ve walked in the slanted light of late afternoon along the Downeast Trailway, passing cyclists and joggers, walkers and photographers, and been passed by the occasional ATV. Watched vultures hover and seagulls gather and squabble and a stately troop of Canada Geese float ashore like a miniature flotilla, pausing to stretch and flap before moving on. I’ve followed a line of short, ancient telephone or light poles along a dike, while motorcycles whined in the distance and trucks shifted loudly as they headed uphill.

I bought no scented candles, balsam pillows, sea glass or items decorated with blueberries, but I did drive through miles of blueberry barrens and imagine how gorgeous they will look in the fall when they all turn red.

One the way home, I stopped in Belfast and admire Neal Parent’s photographs–one of which I’m pleased to own, and watched a jeweler craft some copper earrings, a pair of which now dangle from my ears.

I’ve taken silly photos of moss and rocks, and of Bad Little Falls, in Machias, which gave their name to Paul’s new book. I’ve hiked up The Anvil, eaten fantastic lobster and corn cakes at The Surry Inn, and had my one permitted chocolate milkshake of the summer.

Lots of driving. Lots of Maine, way down east, though sadly, not all the way to Eastport.

Sometimes the flagman says stop. Look. Listen. And then it's time to go on, back down the highway to my desk.

And now I’m back in the chair. A blogging delinquent. But full of sights and smells, and with ideas percolating again.

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