The writer at her best does not come up with ideas. Ideas come to her.

When an idea comes—an image, an emotion, a point of dialog, an entire, mind-blowing plot-turning revelation—it comes, sometimes, from the ethers beyond in the head. A sweet-roiling pool. A vast, living cloud, like the cloud where data lives.

Receiving the idea is like touching a greater universe in which all ideas are present and waiting.

Sounds crazy, I know.

I’ve posted the sensation before, what it feels like, that place in which all one needs to do is open one’s soul and take dictation. The connectedness to wonder as one channels ideas from that infinite reservoir of possibility that exists in the out-there. The serene, tingling excitement of it.

When one pulls an idea toward the heart from that glittering place, one reaches past the door of humanness.

And sometimes the universe shuts the door in your face.

Lately, the door has been shut. I reach for the story and bump my knuckles against blank silence. I can read back the progression of a chapter’s lines from memory…but the bigger thought—and the place it came from—are denied me.

At times like these, practice does not make perfect. The writing wheels, greased by the work of blogs and commerce, rarely propel the rest of the creative mechanism.

Craft and fiction are close relations who are no longer speaking to one another.

I haven’t figured the way around it, yet. The things I’ve tried in the past, the walks, the silences; the cupping of the idea in sheltering mental hands, like carrying smoke; the willingness to be taken over by the emotion of a scene as if I were channeling a spirit at a séance… none of these has worked.

They will. I know they will. But for now, I’m fidgety for my view of heaven, and bereft in the quiet of myself.

Sometimes silence is not possibility. Sometimes, it’s only silence.