The creative process this week was a rather terrifying and sometimes lonely journey, and I thought of my literary touchstones, like Louise Erdrich who choose to bravely venture out every time a book needs to be birthed.  Last year, I read “The Blue Jay’s Dance,” her memoir on motherhood, and it got me through a period that required crazy courage, like the one described in the title.  As the bigger hawk encroached, the blue jay outside the author’s window would go into this whirling dervish so odd and ludicrous, she observed, that it bordered on the humorous.  Although the jig never guaranteed the predator wouldn’t kill the lesser bird, the latter demonstrated it wouldn’t give up without a fight.

Later in 2010, I read Erdrich’s most contemporary work of fiction to date, “Shadowtag,” and its astounding power bowled me over that I completely stopped reading literature altogether.  Maybe it’s because my dream was often intertwined with her lyrical, achingly beautiful prose, and the pause made me reevaluate what was keeping me from breaking free at the end of the year.

Now, halfway through 2011, I’m feeling a little jumbled, but at least I broke my self-moratorium on fiction-reading.  I rediscovered Anne Tyler’s books, most notably “The Accidental Tourist,” and I realize the creative process doesn’t have to be so black and white.  There are so many other stories to be told by other voices.  As I write this, I am reminded of these guys, Denis and Francis (, explorers who traveled the ends of the earth, following their historical touchstone.  Indeed, it is all about the journey, which is, for now, being present and moving forward in a haze of uncertainty.

About Rachelle Ayuyang
I am a writer feeding my soul by doing something I love, mining some of the deepest parts of me to dig up gems and sometimes diamonds in that rough.

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