Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pool or tree, we all need a place of stillness and inspiration

I recently finished reading Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story which features a novelist character who talks about the “pool” we all go to, as humans, for inspiration and language, for our shared stories I suppose. King says he got this term from his College English teacher and mentor, Burton Hatlen

"Burt was the greatest English teacher I ever had,” writes King in the book’s postscript. “It was he who first showed me the way to the pool, which he called ‘the language-pool, the myth-pool, where we all go down to drink.’ That was in 1968. I have trod the path that leads there often in the years since, and I can think of no better place to spend one's days; the water is still sweet, and the fish still swim."

I thought about this today because it is joyously sunny, clean like someone’s been out overnight with the Enjo cloth and really given the sky and surrounds a good scrub. I threw on my runners and headed out for a walk and to do a few flights of stairs at the local running track but a primary school was having school sports day there – little bastards – so I had to take an alternative route.

This brought me to my favourite local spot – a huge ghostly gum tree in a local park, set amidst a ‘natural bush setting’ that has – naturally – been planted and cultivated near a football oval here in suburban land. The spot is divine though. It smells like gum and lemon myrtle and this tree, with a bench placed in a perfect viewing spot, has become my new focus of meditation. Even when I am far from the tree I conjure it up and use it as my focus. It’s got lots of visitors through its branches and the leaves are always moving. It is NEVER still. Today I hugged the tree. So now I am officially a tree hugger.

As I sat in the sun and stared at said tree I began to think about a story I am working on - a fictional, non work-related piece. Ideas started to bubble and I realised that this tree may start to become my pool; the place I go for ideas and inspiration and the place that is sweet and still. I hope my path there becomes well trod.

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