The drug

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. 

“Moving Forward 

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. 


Double dose… 

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 

6 responses to “The drug

  1. This is fabulous. You described that “glow” so well. That’s exactly how I feel. And then you went even further and described the process as a circle – it is! But I’ve never realized it. So you probably know how I’m feeling after reading you saying that ;)

    By the way, the prompt for the Scribblings is passion and you could probably add this there because this is passion!

    Now to the questions:
    I feel how you feel when I read something inspirational: some words, some constructions of words seem to connect in a more direct way to my heart than most of other writings. Do you know how in the circulatory system there is a short path and a big path? The inspirational things go in the shorter circuit, they get there faster :)
    I get the most “high” from writing. It’s what keeps me up at night, having ideas after ideas and having crazy dialogues in my head. The process of getting pen to paper is harder for me. What I love is imagining. Finding the words is tough. Where does it come from? Fantasy, I suppose. Not being able to limit your soul to your own physical body and circumstances.

  2. Devil: the glow, the circle…I know how I’d feel if someone put into words what I knew but hadn’t quite yet put into words… The look would be like Romy and Michele looking at each other and having an epiphany, and the feeling would be supernatural Twilight Zone-ish! Am I close? ;-)

    I’ve never put any writing that’s come from me out there for god and everyone to see, and I’ve not shared my deepest of thoughts with many, so hearing that you feel the way I do is very cool! Confirmation…ahhh. And new input: the short path…neat analogy. Don’t ask me why your “…some words, some constructions of words…” meant something unusual to me, but for some reason they sparked an image of what’s behind how it feels, the enjoyment I get, headphones on, listening to my guitar heroes’ instrumentals as I write, blocking out all the other possible noise and thoughts and interruptions, keeping in this delightfully perfect womb space, with me, with the vastness of the universe, miraculously in this place I exist at the moment…the image behind it looked something like standing on a precipice, crashing waves, breathing in salt air, deep, squinting across a vast ocean, just looking, for a signal maybe, and finding a flash, a light of insight, delivered straight to my heart, my head, and I cherish it, and honor it by the perfect words, not from me but from a place I don’t know but trust wholly. Go and figure… Perhaps that’s a variation on how you put it, which was great, about the inability to limit your soul to the physical…fantasy…

    I also thought it interesting that an influx of ideas and dialogues keeps you up at night… It’s the opposite for me. As soon as my head hits the pillow, my brain shuts down! Once I’ve got some caffeine in me in the morning, though, watch out! That’s when I’m mentally available to do my best. And while you are content to have your thoughts circulating, I about stumble over myself to get to paper or to my laptop to get the stuff down before I forget everything! I do have a little night owl in me, so anything I don’t finish during the day, work or writing, I can do later in the evening.

    Oh yes, about Sunday Scribblings… I got my feed notice Thursday regarding this week’s prompt and I planned to do a piece for it come hell or high water. And I say that because at the time, I was still working on ‘The drug’ post, which was supposed to be published on Wednesday but it was giving me the worst of fits! It was as if it didn’t want to be written… And I wondered a trillion times during it if I should abandon ship or if the difficulty of it only meant all the more that it should be published, and that all the evil forces in the kingdom were trying to prevent me from writing it…as if! LOL! Anyway, so I was able to work up an SS piece today.

    Say, here’s an amusing idiosyncrasy you might appreciate: I notice you usually post your SS stuff not on Sunday but on…well this week it was Friday for goodness sake! and I have this thing where I won’t look at your Sunday Scribblings piece, or anyone else’s, until I’ve written my own… Just another of many indications of my neuroses! ;-) So as soon as I’m done here I’ll head over to your place to see what your scribblings look like!

  3. Now I can’t get Ronny and Michelle singing that song in the car out of my mind!

    Well, I think you ARE now putting your writing out there in the open for the world to see and I applaud that, Good for you!
    I don’t know if I can compare the love for words with the love for music. Music somehow takes me to a lot more places, it’s much more powerful. I’m a complete music-nutter ;)

    I wish I wasn’t the insomniac that I am but I can’t help it. I think best when I’m lying down (this isn’t a joke, it’s scientifically proven that some people do), I think best in the night. Then I keep a notebook nearby and scribble some incoherent words to remember the next day. Serious!

    I’m glad you didn’t abandon the ship of this post, as it’s really good. I write SS as soon as I get because I need that creative prompt to get me to blog about anything at all.

  4. I wonder if the reason music can immediately melt us down to a pool of ecstatic goo is because, in addition to the inspiration involved in the creation of it, it bombards an additional of our senses, hearing… Anyway, it’s such an awesome thing that I can’t be too bothered with the mechanics of it! ;-)

    I think it’s neat that you keep a notebook handy! I do understand thinking better lying down. I’ve experienced that, like when I’ve been so tired some late afternoons that I go to take a nap, and as soon as I lie down my brain floods with thoughts and ideas. I had a funny image regarding that, of having all these momentous ideas and in sitting upright to write them down, they all drain back down to inaccessible…like those doll’s bottles with the milk that disappears when you tip the bottle… LOL! I’m easily amused!

    Aw, now what’s this language, this business of needing a prompt to get you to blog about anything at all? Have you got blog expiration dates on your mind again? Now, Devil Mood, there’s an infinite supply of ideas just floating in the airwaves and all you have to do is snatch just one of those infinite ideas out of the air! ;-) I do know what you mean! BUT, in the interest of being helpful like I like to try to be, what about taking one thing you learned each day and using it as a topic? ? …something that’s been bugging you? …something you’ve been meaning to research but wouldn’t bother with if it weren’t for your blog? Or, if you like prompts especially, I’ve noticed many of the SS folks are participants of other prompt-oriented sites like Writer’s Island. And there’s always quotes to get you going, like I use to do the SS pieces (—pick a word that interests you, put it into the search field and BOOM, quotes. It doesn’t take much looking to find a quote that stirs me to action.

    All right, all right, I’m off… Ciao for now!

  5. Music – probably a chemical thing in our brain,maybe it works like antidepressants or other psychotic medication. Ultimately music is sinapses in our brains I think so…it’s beautiful full stop.

    LOL fortunately I haven’t lost any ideas while getting up to write them.

    I don’t like prompts that much ;) Plus sometimes using a prompt is like making your own dictionary or a cloud of meanings, this reminds me of this, this and this and that can be very boring.
    But no, I’m not concerned with the expiration date right now. But the truth is most of my blog friends aren’t posting regularly and that’s not motivating me to write neither.

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