Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep and doesn't know where to find them. Leave them alone and they'll come home Wagging their "tales" behind them.
I sit at my desk almost every day waiting for words to come. I probably should be doing something useful like dusting or cleaning the kitchen. But, I always promised myself that when my kids were grown I'd take all that energy I thought I had stored away for years and churn out story after wonderful story.
Now, I have not been totally negligent in turning out stories. I've turned out some that I quite like and others have shared my opinion by publishing them. Sometimes words come to me. Sometimes I wake up from a dream with an opening line. Sometimes I am in the middle of doing something useful, like dishes or laundry and I receive a word, a line, a beginning.
But, way too often I try to court words and story ideas and nothing sparks. Maybe I'm scaring them away by searching too hard.
I court words in a few ways: I play solitaire. Yep, dopey, minimally engaging solitaire. Sometimes it works, I think, because it makes my brain turn on just a bit to get the gears working thus allowing words that are streaming in my mind a chance to get together and form a sentence, a picture, a scene.
Recently I have added nursery rhymes to my method of distracting my "monkey mind" ( thank you Natalie Goldberg) long enough to let the undercurrents gain a little strength.
Bo-Peep was going through my mind this morning and I realized that some of my most ancient memories are of sitting with a book opened on my lap as a small child, reading the classics. The classics of children's lit, that is. Nursery rhymes are a lot like the Book of Proverbs for the pre-K set.
I think Bo-Peep showed up to tell me to let go, stop searching so anxiously. Leave them alone, and they'll come home, wagging their "tales" behind them..
Boy, I hope those nursery rhymes have as much wisdom as they're supposed to.