What it is…
It’s what powers the writer to write the exceptional thing.
It’s the high that comes from inspiration, from the elation in writing like mad, soaring atmospheres above the mundane self looking down at a body, at arms, at fingers flying, and recognizing the body as self, but not recognizing the extraordinary words flowing out. The words are above the writer’s natural ability, they’re way out of his or her usual league.
It’s what powers the writer to write the exceptional thing that, in turn, intoxicates the reader of that thing.
It’s phenomenally-written material that begins with the writer’s willingness to give away their very essence, their aura, if that’s what it takes, and in this appeal, this openness to go beyond, a connection is made and something beyond the writer takes over.
The deep parts of my life pour onward,
as if the river shores were opening out.
It seems that things are more like me now,
That I can see farther into paintings.
I feel closer to what language can’t reach.
With my senses, as with birds, I climb
into the windy heaven, out of the oak,
in the ponds broken off from the sky
my falling sinks, as if standing on fishes.”
–Rainer Maria Rilke
I can read anything written by Rilke or I can read this, for example, and I can feel it speak to something in me that responds by leaping joyfully in perfect harmony with a big all-around, “YES!” to everything about it—every meaning, every nuance, every feeling, every emotion. What is it that speaks through the words and what is it that leaps and answers? Does the soul of the writer speak to my soul and my soul answers? Or is it beyond even that? And what is that glowing feeling in my chest area, the heart area, that occurs when I read inspiring words? What is that abounding, glowing thing that’s almost too much to take? The chemistry of the purest joy and love combined, heating up and overflowing like lava?
Whatever it is comes to me out of the words themselves. It’s born from the words, and it matters not whether the writer is alive today or has been dead for decades. The meaning of, and the feeling from, the words never dies. It seems then that they’re not mere words, but more like code that links to something greater, that links to wherever inspiration comes from. And once the writer has got the words down, they always speak the thing they were set down to mean, and they are faithful to always deliver the same feeling that was present at their conception.
What’s involved in that process? It seems a circular thing, never explainable logically or sensibly. Circular, in that the writer receives inspiration from somewhere, then receives the most perfect words to express that inspiration, then he or she writes or types the words, and those who read the words get not only the meaning of the words, but what’s beyond the meaning—their hearts leap with the same inspirational feeling of joy and harmony that made the writer’s heart leap when he received the inspiration.
Looking for it…
It’s a perpetual desire to connect with this unnamed thing of a spiritual nature, to enter that zone, to open to it, invite it in, or out to play, whatever it wants, so that you can feel the rush of its inspiration and write the thing that’s out of your little league.
It’s a steady search for writers who can deliver the very same unnamed thing via books, magazines, newspaper columns, the internet. This is very often an even better high, when you find a writer who is better at opening to the source of inspiration than you are as yet. It seems there are degrees of this opening. And a writer can only hope to step out of his or her own way and let it happen.
The ultimate high…
If you are so fortunate as to find a writer that produces the material you think you need, and without it you feel you might possibly perish, then the closest thing to heaven is to be able to interact with that writer. Something extraordinary happens. There’s something like an instant transference of inspiration, red hot and ready to go, the crest of the wave already high and ready to ride. You read what they wrote and instantly you’re in the zone, that place of intense inspiration, and you are the flow, writing with the exact same, if not greater, intensity of force.
That ultra-rare phenomenon reminds me of something I once read. Something to the effect that we’re all made up of the same basic things and capabilities, both physically and spiritually, but it can happen that some individuals reflect back to us more intensely than others, the love, or the quality, whatever it is, that we’re looking for.
What do you get from writing? What, if anything, does it do to you?
If you get a rush from writing, where do you think it comes from?
And where do find the best high? From writing, reading, writing/interacting, or other?
All artwork and photos from Getty Images