Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Nose To The Ground

In Women Who Run With The Wolves Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes:

Wolves never look more funny than when they have lost the scent and scrabble to find it again: they hop in the air; they run in circles, they plow up the ground with their noses; they scratch the ground, then run ahead, then back, then stand stock-still. They look as if they have lost their wits. But what they are really doing is picking up all the clues they can find. They're biting them down out of the air, they're filling up their lungs with the smells at ground level and at shoulder level, they are tasting the air to see who has passed through it recently, their ears are rotating like satellite dishes, picking up transmissions from afar. Once they have all these clues in place, they know what to do next.

Writers also lose the scent from time to time. We stare out windows and crane our heads to listen to distant winds. We grab random books off library shelves and sniff the pages for clues. We start a scene only to stop halfway then start a second and a third. We look a bit balmy.

No worries. Stay in the work even if all you do is rub your snout against the pages. Continue collecting data and do not give up hope. Estes explains, "As soon as she processes all the information from the clues she's gathered, she'll begin moving in an intentional manner again." Like the wolf, you will find your way.

Do you ever lose the scent? If so, what do you do?


Shelagh Cosgrove said...

If I'm even halfway sane, I'll stop, breathe, listen. Nothing else seems to work. :-)

Deborah Ling said...

I do what I did today. I go to the woods, to the river. I walk with my dog. I leave offerings of tobacco. I have a really good meal. I pat myself on the back for taking the hard road.