Two snowmen in a field; one turns to the other and says “can you smell carrot?…”

I haven’t written a poem in a little over a month and a half. Well, 57 days to be exact (yes I counted-what’s your point?). This time last year I was on such a poetry roll. From June 2013 everything I saw, every conversation I had, every emotion was inspiration to me. This continued well past Christmas and I started to become nervous. I started to wonder when all these words in my head would run out. I didn’t want to miss anything because I knew that the longer this continued for; the sooner the end would come. I’m not a poet who can write as and when; my poetry comes in peaks and troughs. An occasion, incident, emotion will trigger the poetry in me and that’ll be it. For an unspecified period of days/months (in one case, years) I shall have nothing but words spilling out of my head and filling my notebooks. And then; just as quickly as it started, I am empty. The well of inspiration has dried and I’m alone again. This transition is never easy and even now I struggle from having a “full head” one day and then bereft of inspiration in another. I always have something else to help get through this. Recently it’s been my novel and the editing stages. However, I have recently found myself lost from that too. So here I am; the editing for my novel is done, and my poetry has run away….and then it happened. That erratic, spontaneous moment when my brain has absolutely NOTHING to think about or work on. It was left alone with itself. Now, I work damn hard to ensure that situations like this never occur-my brain lives for these moments and I spend everyday scuppering it’s plans to be left alone. The reason is; my brain enjoys it’s own company too much. It needs this time in order to come up with it’s completely “ingenious” schemes which it will than attempt to convince me are brilliant. Because I know that my brain would be successful in convincing me that it’s ideas are fantastic, I work on ensuring it never gets to that stage; but sadly it hasn’t always been so successful.
One day I went out to get some shopping for my mother and drove back in a different car then the one I left in.
I passed a dealership and my brain went “ooooh Jen; there’s a shiny blue car over there….you could afford it with your job….plus it’s shiny” So I did (and my brain was right; it was and still is an incredibly shiny blue car).
Another occasion; I switched my degree speciality mid way through my year because I had an epiphany about teaching junior school children. I had shown NO interest in teaching up to that point (and none afterwards) but my brain was left alone. It told me that it’ll be great, “you love books and poetry…what would be better then instilling that passion into children in order to encourage them from their earliest years?…plus; everyday you get to have some carpet story time and play with toys in the afternoon…what more do you want from a profession?šŸ˜ƒ it’s a win-win Jen” I’ll do it! I remember exclaiming to myself….in a car park, and immediately went to change. Four months later I’m writing to the Dean of Literature on tear-soaked note paper begging to come back home. What was I thinking?
And now you see; these are just two examples of how dangerous my brain can be when left to it’s own devices.
So here I am; re-reading every book I have in order to see if some lost chapter from Charlotte Bronte’s Villette or a missed Emily Dickinson stanza will propel me forward into a world of inspiration. Their genius will unlock something in me that I can then work on, surely? It’s worked before-I mean you aren’t looking at an amateur; I once read Jane Eyre 25 times during a six week school summer holiday! I have the patience and commitment of a saint when it comes to understanding the written word. I didn’t memorise Shakespeare and Marlowe plays for fun you know! Well, I did actually…but that’s besides the point and for another time. So, hopefully I can sort this out – before my finger presses on any teleshopping channels and I find myself convinced that I need a flexible garden hose (I have no garden) and a quick set-up tent which sleeps twelve. Wish me luck!