The Creativity Workshop is coming to an official end – and this is where those graduation speech sentiments come into play: the end of something meaningful, but more importantly, the launch pad for something newer, more exciting, bigger. blah blah blah.
I belong to a women’s group that meets monthly on the Tuesday night closest to the full moon. Last night we did one of those rituals where you pull a seemingly random card out of a deck, read what the accompanying guidebook says about the card, and make connections to your own life.
We used The Celtic Tree Oracle: A System of Divination. The cards themselves are beautifully rendered – each depicting a different tree that represents a certain mythic concept described more fully in the text.
Sometimes I’m pretty prosaic, so my first thought was, “Oh, good, trees. I’ve been writing about trees.” My first Creativity Workshop story turned out to be a love story – between a house and a tree. My last CW story, Timbre – the one I’m working on right now – focuses on people cutting down trees in a suburban neighborhood. It’s a hate story, I suppose.
I pulled the Ash card. In Celtic cosmology, the Cosmic Ash “connects the three circles of existence… which can be variously interpreted as past, present and future, or as confusion, balance and creative force.”
I’m not so sure yet about balance, but I’ve certainly moved from confusion to creative force – and back again – with my writing in general, and through the challenges of this workshop in particular.
“The Ash can be seen as spanning both microcosm and macrocosm, the little world and the great world… Since the Ash itself carries ‘keys’ (winged fruits), choosing this card is a key to a more universal comprehension of how all things are linked, everything being connected; earthly and spiritual; yourself and the cosmos; lowest and highest. Your deeds form part of a far greater, even endless, chain of events, and your own inner pathways have their reaction in the outer world.”
This resonates with my belief in and respect for the interdependent web of all existence so I’m nodding and smiling while reading/typing the above quote.
But the prosaic kicks in again, and these words stand out in flashing lights for me: Deeds ==> chain of events. Inner pathways ==> reaction in the outer world.
I suppose these are obvious to everyone else, but right here and right now, they are the focusing guideposts I need for completing Timbre and moving forward. What can cutting down a backyard tree set in motion? What can refusing to cut a backyard tree set in motion? Who is affected, and how? How can I entice you, the reader, to care about it?
I see a more nuanced, original story evolving from a fallen tree as part of a cosmic chain of events that reverberates through the universe — or at least through the cul de sac. The story is getting deeper, richer and I can see roots (sorry!) of a larger, interconnected web of — what? deception, possibly, nastiness, most definitely — growing beneath the surface.
So, yes, I will finish this final CW story. And, yes, I will move forward with a tangle of ideas that wiil, I hope, weave themselves into a larger narrative, a bigger universe. NaNoWriMo 2010, can you hear me?
I just looked back at my original intent for this final segment of the Creativity Workshop:
Taking the mythic journey through the heart of darkness, er, suburbia.
I am so there.
[And another shout-out for the fabulous Merrilee Faber for getting this whole inspirational writing workshop rolling. Thank you, and thanks to everyone who slogged along for the journey. It’s been real. :)]