"Ideas in their shimmering forms..."

Ideas in their shimmering forms, in spite of all our conscious discipline, will come when they will, and on the swift upheaval of their wings...
— Excerpt from 'Upstream' by Mary Oliver

When I first read this quote I thought, ‘what a beautiful writing prompt this would make.’  I imagined sitting down and letting words flow in a stream of consciousness kind of way.

And I want to offer it up to you to do just that.  If you get no further in this piece that would be a great thing to do. 

But before I got around to using it as a writing prompt I recognized it’s relationship to something else I’d read.

In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book ‘Big Magic’, she wrote a section about ideas having consciousness of their own.  I like this notion.   When I came across it, it made me stop, and think, and wonder.  It opened up a realm of possibilities I’d never considered.  In fact, it delighted me.

Imagine if Ideas travel the universe, searching for a partner to inspire so that they can turn into form.  Just imagine… is that what actually happens?  Of course we’ll never know for sure but I do like this.  It makes a great idea less about personal brilliance and more about connection and partnership.  The latter are kind and generous.  The former is exclusive and hard for most of us to attain.   


So I leave you with this excerpt from Big Magic to mull on and enjoy:

Sometimes – rarely, but magnificently – there comes a day when you’re open and relaxed enough to actually receive something. Your defences might slacken and your anxieties might ease, and then magic can slip through. The idea, sensing your openness, will start to do its work on you. It will send the universal physical and emotional signals of inspiration (the chills up the arms, the hair standing up on the back of the neck, the nervous stomach, the buzzy thoughts, that feeling of falling into love or obsession). The idea will organise coincidences and portents to tumble across your path, to keep your interest keen. You will start to notice all sorts of signs pointing you towards the idea. Everything you see and touch and do will remind you of the idea. The idea will wake you up in the middle of the night and distract you from your everyday routine. The idea will not leave you alone until it has your fullest attention.

And then, in a quiet moment, it will ask, “Do you want to work with me?”