I am a writer and an editor. It’s what I do for a living, and I’m good at what I do, according to my clients. But I have never been a creative writer. Quite honestly, I’ve never desired to be a creative writer. Writing the next great American novel? It never entered my mind. Long days at the computer? Yeah, I do that now. No guarantee of getting paid for them? Um, no. Not my kind of gig.
So I didn’t take poetry or short-story writing in college; instead, I focused on what I thought were practical pursuits (as far as writing was concerned, anyway). I enjoyed analyzing other people’s creative writing and writing about that, but I was never inspired to create something original of my own. I can count on one hand, one finger actually, the number of times I’ve been truly inspired to write: as in completely overtaken by the creative impulse, without my mind trying to take over, as it almost always does.
It finally happened this fall. The inspiration? A high-heeled shoe. Well, more accurately, a painting of one. Hollie Chantiles’ Carnivore: Foot Fetish No. 3 was on display at YorkArts as part of the Biological Aesthetics: Investigating the Art in Science exhibit that ran September through November 2011. I stood there and studied the floral shoe on its wine-colored wood backdrop, intrigued for several minutes, and then I went on about my gallivanting around town.
I had no intention of writing anything that night, certainly not a poem, and yet, around midnight, it began. The concept happened on the paper in front of me, and I ran with it. When my brain took a look the next day, only a couple of words needed to be changed. I didn’t write this poem: this poem happened. I was merely the transcriber. I’m just glad I was open to the moment with a pen handy.
Jimmy Choo vs. Downward Dog
Piercing stilettos wobble on unsteady ground.
Calf muscles threaten to shorten permanently,
arches aching, lumbar crunching.
Toes are squeezed into submission.
Life shifts on us, throwing us off balance.
Fear contracts us into inertia,
self-confidence faltering, willpower failing.
We are enslaved by invisible walls of the past.
Bare feet solidly connect to the floor, heels (almost) down.
Calves and hamstrings stretch with every breath,
hips rising, spine elongating.
Toes luxuriate in unlimited space.
Circumstances change, but the soul is constant.
Love expands us into courage,
heart opening, spirit soaring.
We are freed by each moment’s infinite possibility."