the heart tends to get away from us . . .

“The heart tends to get away from us, and we write from wherever we last left it.”
–    Peter Jurich, Writers Digest, 2/11

The moment I read this quote I fell in love with it!! I love its playful attitude, the image of the wandering heart so independent, leaving us bewildered or bewitched or somewhere in between. It reminds me of my daughter, my dog, so many things I’ve witnessed in my life. I guess it even reminds me of me, how I wander away from my own thoughts, my own center, when I’m not paying close attention; when I need release, a change of pace; when I want out; when things overwhelm me; when I want another solution to a complexity that demands, demands, demands and I’m tired of giving, giving, giving.

I love its truth – how beautifully and simply this single line captures the essence of the writing process. We think we’re writing one thing, but then it wiggles away, morphs into Something Utterly Other, maybe even thumbing its nose at us or challenging us to follow with reason rather than just, well, letting the heart respond.

I also love how it speaks to aging – how often Things in general get away from us, usually of course because we left them somewhere; but how often it seems Things have a mind of their own, ambulate on their own accord either to annoy and frustrate or to test us – our patience, our creativity, our memory. In this case, we tend to try to find them, of course. And in the search, follow just this course of action: retracing our steps to what we last remember in an attempt to be led to the current location.

‘The heart tends to get away from us . . .’ As a  mother, I have felt this true over and over again. How often have I led with my heart, oozing empathy to the point of re-living my own experience, AGAIN, drowning AGAIN in an offspring’s adolescence.  Good grief! does one learn NOTHING about the vagaries of the heart?

For a writer, of course, it’s a good thing for the heart to get away from us, to lead us where we would never, in our reasoned mind, venture. That’s how we reach creativity, uniqueness, feelings we can open into.

I find myself fixated on this notion of the heart as I strive to open, fully and without reservation, to all the wanderings of heart, mind, and creativity. Maybe even to prod them now and then outside my usual parameters of place and people. I have no goal  – no push to publish the products of my pen; no demand to delve deeper into dream destinations; no evaluations announcing arrival at outcome central. Nope. Just the desire to write from the heart, wherever I last left it.

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