~ Hazel Harps On

In the Flow

There are days when inspiration flows and days when it doesn’t. I often think that living by a river helps. When I get stuck with my writing, time spent sitting and staring at a screen gets me nowhere. My ideas only return if I indulge in a little walk by the water, a little watching of light on ripples and a little listening to the voices of different currents. Afterwards the writing flows so much more easily.

‘Flow’ is actually a word used in neuroscience for that state when you are so fully absorbed in what you are doing that you are unaware of time slipping by. Stress and worries evaporate. Your surroundings disappear. Nothing exists for you except the song/book/artwork or whatever it is. Only when you come out of this state do you suddenly realise you are hungry, thirsty, desperate for the toilet, still in your pyjamas and freezing cold…. ‘Flow’ is losing yourself but at the same time gaining something timeless and invaluable.

I seem to have chosen two occupations where it is very easy to get lost in the flow. Hours unexpectedly vanish once I have a pen in my hand. As for the harp, it’s very flowy. I realised it particularly over this last week as I’ve been writing a song about a stream for our ‘Inspired by Exmoor’ Show. I didn't have far to go for some natural inspiration.

The harp is the ideal instrument for describing the movement of fast-flowing water. The sounds just seem right. I was spoilt for choice when it came to devising a sparkly accompaniment.

Of course a song about a stream isn’t just a song about a stream. It is also a song about time passing, and about the creative process. Although the stream’s water is always running away, the stream itself remains, constantly renewed - and creativity seems to work the same way. There may be seasons when inspiration is little more than a trickle, but somehow it always replenishes itself and suddenly we are in full flow once again. How Ex-STREAM-ly wonderful is that?

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