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"Sitting on my hands, waiting for inspiration" by Dawn Gale Prince, Inspirations


Just a year and a half ago, I had been sitting on my hands—waiting for that surge of inspiration where the words you are trying to write get ahead of you on the page because you are so full of words—so full of everything. I hadn't done it in so long that I'd almost forgotten that my bliss was writing.

What did Joseph Campbell say? That the meaning of life is finding one's bliss. My bliss is writing. It is as necessary as my breathing. Sometimes, I can't wait to get home from the day’s battering to pour myself into some sort of semblance on the written page, when the words pour from me like sand seeping through closed fingers—needing a receptacle to catch the fall out. It is the purging of my soul that brings about the balance that, at times, slips away from me. Writing is my way of bringing it back...

Soul Bird 2, by Marie Olofsdotter
Soul Bird 2,
by Marie Olfsdotter
I don't know why the writing stopped. It wasn't as if I had nothing to say. I was fat and full with the usual disappointments and jubilations of life and love that they threatened to burst right out of me. And yet, they would not form into the words necessary for me to express them. I couldn't communicate in my native tongue—and it felt as if my tongue had been cut out, and I could not communicate well enough to feel fully understood in the world. And if I could not communicate my soul, it was as if I were not fully out there. There was a part of me missing—the part that is central to my existence. The part that is as necessary as my breathing. And without that breath, I was afraid that I would simply suffocate, or else slip into quiet complacency about my world.

And yet, I would wake up every morning with the thought that I should write something—to steady and ready myself for the day's battering. My mantra was: Today, I will write something. Today, I must write something. Today, I will add a chapter to the novel. Then when a chapter became too ambitious, I lowered my expectations to a paragraph. Then it was, maybe the novel thing isn't just happening. Maybe, I had some poetry in me. I would think about writing throughout the day. When the words refused to show themselves or to be forced out, I would feel guilty as if I had neglected my soul or that I was purposefully starving it in a sort of conscious anorexia of the soul.

I had experienced dry spells before, but this was something different. This was as if that part of me had died. I couldn't find the soul of me. I wasn't depressed or in a funk—although, there was nothing exhilarating going on in my life that warranted celebrating. By choice, my life had become routine and increasingly solitary, but I wanted to think about life and chart out my path if I were to have the amazing life that I longed for. The life that was still forming in my head—that was always on the tip of my tongue or fingers. I could never quite put my expectations of that life into words—or make the leap required to begin that life for myself. I wanted the life that, my alter ego, Delores lives in my imagination. In the novel, she is the kind of woman that takes chances—that dances with that leap of faith. But, I couldn't further her story because mine was somehow stalled.

I still saw and felt my world with the same wonder as before. I still marveled at the rhythm of the universe. I still noticed the rising and setting of the sun and wondered about the rhythm of our lives. I still saw the poetic beauty of existence. And while I marveled at this sequence of death and rebirth, I began to wonder if that precious part of me had somehow died, and would I ever get it back again. Had the part that I had relied on to interpret my reality for so long run out of substance? Was I ever really a writer? I never really was dedicated to it—not really. Maybe that was why the inspiration had left me. I often tried to call out to it, but the response was always so hollow and faraway that I felt foreign to myself at those times.

And so for almost two years, I had been quietly sitting on my hands, waiting for the rebirth of myself. I was hoping for the resurgence of that quiet inspiration that guides my hand effortlessly, waiting for the signal to let me know that, indeed, the true definition of me is that I am a writer, and I hadn't been fooling myself all these years. Then, it hit me that to make the life that existed in my head materialize on paper, I had to start living outside of my head and begin writing about those experiences. That was where the inspiration lay. I had to do more than just think about the life I wanted—I had to live it. I had to do more than just think about writing—I had to write. I had to live and write as if it were as necessary as my breathing. And there in lies the passion of words.


Author Bio: Dawn Gale Prince is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Canada. Through poetry and personal essays, she’s pleased to share her voice and simple truth. Visit her website,, to read more of her writings and thoughts. She may be reached at

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