Emily Carr, forest lover and Canadian icon, wrote in her journal about the job of a writer:
"You yourself are nothing, only a channel for the pouring through of that which is something, which is all. Your job is to keep that channel clear and clean and pure so that which passes through may be unobstructed, unsullied, undiluted, and thus show forth its clear purity and intention."
I grew up in British Columbia, where the old-growth forests were a constant muse to Ms. Carr in both her painting and writing, so I can fully appreciate how the tall evergreen giants called to her. She often responded to the call by painting the soul of them. In 1928, she said, "I clung to the earth and her dear shapes...I wanted her volume and I wanted to hear her throb."
Most days, I don't feel the way Emily describes how a writer should approach his or her job. When I do, it is glorious. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when I sit down to write, I am a vessel, a channel, a clear sieve for all the best-thoughts-turned-best-words that eventually land on the page or screen before me. It is up to me to tune in, to turn my ears and eyes and skin and hair toward the source.
I quiet the monkey mind, the inner critic, the naysayers of my past, and open myself to the inspiration that streams through me. The stories that pour forth are the vitality that sustains me, especially on the days when the channel is grey, full of swirling static, and mostly unintelligible.
NaNoWriMo 2014 is right around the corner and I know I'll get stuck and need help. I believe if I call on the spirit of Emily Carr for inspiration, I know she'll hear my plea and help me paint the soul of my stories with the very best of words. I am a channel, pure and simple.