Poetry used to visit in the later hours of the night.
Between 11 pm and 2 am, I would take advantage of the empty family computer room (the corner of the dining room) and I would write poems.
I must have had music playing in my headphones because I know I’d write the poetry in time to the latest song I was obsessed with, the latest boy I was obsessed with.
And I’d write about heartache. I’d write about reclaiming my power.
I’d write about all the things I was angry about. God, mostly.
This ritual would go on for hours and hours, most nights. I was knee-deep in inspiration and surrender to the muses.
I don’t keep those hours anymore. And I don’t need to sneak away to a corner of the house. I don’t smoke cigarettes not-so-stealthily in my bedroom anymore.
I still write. It’s just different now.
Watching for Inspiration
I once attended a talk by Thomas Moore that gave me the concept of the daimon.
“For the ancient Greeks, a daimon is an unnamed urge that pushes you in a certain direction. It is the force behind the passion and tenacity of your yearning. If you experience the daimon of love, your whole life might be centered on the quest for a perfect mate. If the daimon were beauty, you might … pursue ways of caring for the body. There are also daimons of aggression, home, sport, and creativity – the possibilities are endless.” – Thomas Moore
I have held that my daimon is truth, and writing is where I share my truth — even the pieces that are ugly and unfinished and imperfect. Even if/when I find a new truth later on.
In the talk, as I remember it, there was a clear message about showing up for your daimon. You don’t wait for it to come to you. It is your duty to show up and in seeing your resolve, the daimon will show up and push you forward.
“The Greeks understood the daimon as the intermediary between gods and humans, the guardian spirit assigned at birth that connects heaven and earth. These messengers come as agents of inner transformation.” – from a book description of “Embrace of the Daimon: Healing Through the Subtle Energy Body/Jungian Psychology & the Dark Feminine”
As someone who is completely on board with an entity coming from the gods to humans to act as a being of inspiration, I recognize and embrace the fact that my writing, my truth requires I show up.
It requires I look around. I listen. I look. I linger when a curve and shape of a phrase echoes in my ear.
I take notice.
Showing Up for Poetry*
I write every day.
I write when the mood strikes me too. I will stop all of my plans to write when I feel that I should write. I will speak the words into my phone if I’m driving (sorry) and stop running if I catch a glimmer of inspiration, the muses, the deep wild of collecting images that evoke feeling.
I have thousands of pages of poetry, of prose, of stories, of letters to myself and others, of fantasies, of promises.
I show up. And then more shows up. Inspiration is easier. Flow is flowy-ier. I understand why something arrives.
It’s not about sharing it all. Some, yes. Not all of it.
The changing of my conscious experience into a form is a ritual you do not need to beg me to attend.
The wonder of hearing words fall into my hands reminds me that magick is all around if only I show up. If only I say, “I am here. I am ready. I am willing.”
I offer this to you because this message came to me as I was sitting at my computer, ready to write. I had no plan. All I knew was that my body felt ready to birth something.
So I waited. And something tapped at me.
It’s not earth-shattering. It’s not dramatic. It’s just a creation from silence and space. It’s just the wonder of muses and allies and ancestors and a daimon who may be patting me on the back when I am truly, honestly, and completely at the service of whatever inspiration offers.
Maybe you have something you want to show up for.
Show up. Take a seat. Be with that feeling, that moment.
It need not be loud and large. It need not be anything more than a settling of feeling into meaning. Or meaning into a feeling.
You do not need to call yourself a poet, a writer, a creator, or an artist.
But there are things that can bring you to where you want to be.
To where you must be.
*not just poems
PS – I also work with Iris, so this makes even more sense to me. She is a messenger between the gods and humans, and she has been vital to my own transformation.