By Mary Cucarola, 1/24/21
“Listen to your broccoli, and your broccoli will tell you how to eat it.” Mel Brooks
I opened a book the day after Christmas, given to me by my cousin as a gift, and started reading. I recognized the author, Anne Lamott, but had not read the book. Bird by Bird was written in 1994 and is about writing. But it is not like any other of the many books I have read about the writing process over the years or the writing classes I’ve taken recently.
It is poignant and hilarious at the same time. It is simple and complicated, both. It is a panacea of opposing truths. It held my attention, made me laugh out loud, and I couldn’t put it down. I read it in two days and listened it to it on audio, too. Anne Lamott calls her intuition “broccoli” for Pete’s sake. How can you not love it?
She goes on to say you need your broccoli in order to write well. Otherwise, you’re going to sit down in the morning to write and only have your rational mind guiding you. Your rational mind does not nourish you because it does not give you the truth. She says the rational mind squeezes out all that is rich and juicy and fascinating in writing. I have to agree rationality kills creativity.
To say I have had writer’s block over the past year is an understatement. I don’t know if it is the isolation from COVID or if it is the messy political climate or if it is because I never thought to name my intuition a vegetable. All I know is that I lost my voice over this past year and have had to force myself to write anything at all. Most of the writing has been mediocre at best.
My cousin and I belong to a book club together, plus we help each other out with our projects. She is, let’s say, always looking for a project like me. She likes to be busy and productive, and we are always commiserating with each other about what we are up to. And, the most endearing thing about Tawnya is she encourages me to write. She asks about my writing classes, quizzes me about the misuse of adverbs, and is genuinely interested in my writing.
I have to make space for my intuition and creativity and that space is created by letting go of trying to control my mind and other things in my life. I talk about this letting go process in our family program every week, and I need to pay attention to my own advice. I don’t have to let go of my son’s addiction anymore, but I still have to let go of things in my life that are out of my control – like isolation from COVID and messy political climates. Letting go is a universal truth for all sorts of life’s challenges of which we all have.
I have a vegetable in mind to name my intuition. Butternut will help me to know what to do and I am going to start listening to it.
Mary Cucarola – 1/24/21