And it was like a dream. It just came out of nowhere, something entirely unexpected, without warning and it felt utterly surreal. We were about 11 writers seated in lime green chairs with black wheels that would help us scoot next to a partner or scuttle across the room. We were nearly done with our open discussion of selected passages from Elbow’s Vernacular Eloquence, when our attention was brought to a section in which “flow” was brought up.
I had read this passage and hadn’t thought much of it as I had struggled to just gather some meaning from the book. Sure, my mind had tried to make sense of it, but I let it go. Now, here we were in our circle discussing this miracle. For some of us, finding yourself in “flow” was scary as it meant avoiding family and neglecting personal care and just being utterly consumed in the writing, in “flow.” For others it meant being with the writing, finding yourself in there. This is when I thought I was having an out of body experience and realizing suddenly that I was not alone.
Yes I had felt “flow.” I feel it whenever I write and yes, it happened to me when I was just toying with an idea while walking. But I never knew this also happened to others, that others experienced this. How was I supposed to know? How would I know that this was what other writers experienced? I had never thought to ask someone. How would I do that?
Me: So, I have a question for you.
Friend: Yeah? What is it?
Me: Ummm, so when you’re writing, do you… uh, do you ever get lost in your writing?
Friend: Lost? What do you mean?
Me: Yeah, like you are in there, like everything around you is forgotten about and you don’t even realize you are you and you feel like you’re with your characters or the words whisk you away…Like you are not you, but rather living in the writing.
Friend: (squinting, lips turned down, eyes looking at me oddly) hmmmm…
Me: Yeah, I don’t know what to call it, but you just get lost in your writing. And it happens even when you are just thinking or coming up with ideas. You could be walking down the street and you’re not there, but rather in the writing.
Friend: (still frowning)
Me: (feeling like an idiot) Ummm, I was just wondering, so let’s get some coffee…
But now, I know that I am not the only one. How comforting to hear that my fellow writers feel this too. That they have experienced flow and that they knew what it was like to live in the writing. It gave me chills, because now I am convinced that I am in the right place after all. That I am indeed a WRITER.