Because I learn in a different method than some (possibly most) people, I find learning hard to quantify. I run around trying to figure out “rules” to things such as how to write, but all I learn are rules. And, for me, it hinders expression.
When I started to dance tango six years ago, I knew nothing. Actually, I knew plenty about dance posture from a history of dance, but thought none of that applied to tango. And if you’d asked me what I knew, I’d have shrugged and said not much. Because once I’ve learned something (or more accurately, once something clicks for me), I just do it without thinking about the how or why.
For the first three years dancing, I spent forever thinking about things like how much to bend my knees (not at all in reality), or when and how to collect my feet. I’d wind up concentrating so hard on what I’d learned that I couldn’t even dance. At least not well.
Then I went to Buenos Aires. A few fellows were gracious enough to dance with me. But what made the most difference were intensive private lessons twice a week. Eduardo would dance with me, and his partner, Marissa, would analyze my footwork. She’d correct my feet, he’d correct my connection. There is something in that perfect milonguero embrace much like the zone I reach when writing–it’s like a disconnection from reality and everything goes but what you are doing. A place where “rules” cease to exist. All you know is what you are doing, how it feels, not how you should do it. It’s a hard thing to explain, but a thing I know when achieved.
For the last three years in my writing (ooh, is there something about that three year mark?), I’ve been thinking about my writing. Thinking about rules. Laying on instruction after instruction. And learning nothing. And doing less.
What I need to do is trust myself. Let go a little and fall into the embrace of writing. Because once you’ve had that connection, nothing else feels right.