There's a lot of arguing about whether or not people should write every day. Some people feel guilty if they don't. I used to, but I don't anymore. If I write before I'm ready to, I just write junk, and it has no redeeming value at all. I'm not saying that I don't sometimes have to fight fear and procrastination and make myself sit down and write. But I am saying that if my spirit is dry as dust, I know I won't have the energy it takes to write anything good. So I wait. I read, I think, I pay attention.
That's what I mean about Buddha's corn. He paid attention, and he found himself something unusual, something out of his ordinary experience of sticks and limbs and rubber toys. He carried the corn around for a while until it felt like it was really his. He was pretty proud of it, too. He slobbered it up real good. Then when he was ready, he buried it in our field. He dug a hole and then used his nose to push the dirt over the corn. He looked back at us, Allen and I, and this dog's nose was very dirty. He pranced and snorted. He was very content.
So that's what I do, find myself a prize, some unusual happening or observation, a great metaphor that shivers me timbers, and after I've carried it around a while, played with it, pranced with it, ran through the field with it, I bury it for later. I bury it in my memory or plant it in one of my many notebooks or blogs. Then, when I'm good and ready, after other stuff has happened and I maybe have myself a little epiphany, after I understand how special my prize is, I dig it up and use it.
Sure, this is messy. You get your nose pretty diry. It's not systematic. It's not a sure thing. You won't write a ton of books like Joyce Carol Oates does (who, bless her, says she does write every day). But you can go about your days contentedly, searching, like Buddha, for more prizes. Pretty soon, it accumulates. It starts to grow, maybe, green shoots at first, and then a big tall plant. Sooner or later, you'll make that little find into something great. Patience!