#thisweekinpoetry: Every week I look back at the past few days and try to find a poetic quote to match. Or maybe the other way around, I find good poetry and try to match the week with it. Whichever works.
"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade."
From 'The Lake of Innisfree' by William Butler Yeats
It wasn't exactly a wattle-made cabin that awaited me (and I'm glad for it, because I prefer to travel princess-style) but a sober room in the Volksabdij Ossendrecht. I was there on a long awaited retreat: a weekend dedicated to just writing.
For writers like me, who have to work on their Work after the trials and tribulations of the daily life as wage slave, days like that are solid gold. Especially when food has been taken care of as well, you have 1 or 2 or maybe even 3 days where all that needs concern you is where to take the next verse and will you go on a walk now or rather once this scene is done. I try to go on these retreats a couple of times a year. In doing so I also have discovered beautiful places in my own country, in my own backyard even. Maarssen, for instance.
This time however, peace came dropping slow (as Yeats continues his poem). I don't know why. Maybe it was because I was still recovering from a fierce flu. Maybe because this time I hadn't so much creative work to do but had to work on the launch of Ghosts of Old Virginny. Maybe it was just the weather, which was dull and grey and definitely not very inspiring.
Out of the funk, into the forest
The best thing I can do when a funk like that hits, is go on a walk. I always forget how beneficial a stroll in nature can be. In Martha's Vineyard I used to go to the beach with a book of poetry and just listen to the waves crash on the shore (and occasionally get dragged in a battle of wills with a territorial gull). In the Netherlands I often find myself in forests. In this case it was heathland forest near the border with Belgium. As I walked the trees creaked and groaned in the wind and I thought of smugglers.
And the coolest thing happened. As soon as I set foot out the door, inspiration hit. A poem started forming in my mind and during the whole walk it grew. Until finally, when I sat back down again at the desk, I had a long poem about a modern Rapunzel. Once at home there followed one about Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty) automutilating herself with needles and Litte Red Ridnig Hood trying to hitchhike her way to a better life, as the wolf watches. And that's how I got my princess-style on after all.