Books, Encouragement, Health, Wisdom, Writing

Is Your Well Dry?

Dry Bucket-Marco Vacca
Dry Bucket-Marco Vacca

Feeling a little dry today?

Burnt out, used up?

I am. It’s been a full week.

Maybe you feel like this, too.

This morning I woke up too early, barely four o’clock. I fumbled for a book from the eight on my nightstand. I didn’t particularly care which one, I just wanted to fall asleep again.

My fingers chose Julia Cameron’s book “The Right Way to Write.” I hadn’t read this book for a few days. I had used the book cover as a marker, so I opened it to the last place I had read.

The title of the chapter was “The Well.”

“As writers (insert your word choice: mom, dad, student…)we draw on an inner fund of images that I call ‘the well’…an inner pond, one that must be kept both stocked and free flowing. We have simply overfished our inner reservoir…”


“YES,” I blurted out, there in my bed, and waited for a second wondering if I had awakened my son in the next bedroom.

“Yes, I’ve overfished,” my words now in a murmur.

There is no more fish, and the water has evaporated much like that in my beautiful terracotta fountain in the patio, neglected during this cold season.

Imagine your mind, body or soul emptied. Not a healthy picture.

To restock the pond, Cameron suggests an “Artist Date.” You can name it a “Mom Date, Me Date, Dad Date,” but whatever you call it, it’s for you alone. It’s a once a week date for one hour. Your AD or MD must be a solitary expedition to some event or place that interests you: a museum, the garden nursery, a movie, etc.

Go alone, that’s the deal.

You are to romance, flirt, court, woo your creative consciousness. Allow yourself to soak up the images, aromas, colors, textures, sounds. This is self-care, nothing to feel guilty about.

You don’t have to document anything on paper. Just BE THERE. 

You are there to fill up your well, not fish from it.

Makes sense to me. I fell back asleep for 90 minutes.

In the early morning I peeked into my backyard filled with shadows of slate grey sky and flicked on the patio light. The wet flagstone surrounding my triple fountain brightened up.

After an hour, with hot coffee in a gloved hand, bundled in a bathrobe with my tennis shoes on I visited my fountain. Rainwater filled the smaller bowls up with some in the largest bowl.

I hit the switch, sat down and listened to the water move up the center, over the top spout, trickle to the mid bowl, spill into the last. I sat for half hour, just listening to my well filling up. The air chilly, but it was worth it to be out there. (I’ll go back for another half hour later on today).

Right now I’m reflecting on the sound and image of one of those old-fashioned wooden waterwheels, its baskets dipping into a slow running river, scooping up water on a bright blue skied day. When the basket moves to the top it sprays cool water over me. My dry skin turns moist. My emptiness fills. I feel replenished. So much so that I’m now a mermaid.

Mermaid-Maria Bell
Mermaid-Maria Bell

Now go find some place to fill up your well and have a delightful weekend.

7 thoughts on “Is Your Well Dry?”

  1. Thanks for your blog about the well being dry. I don’t think the well is dry, but the motivation to drink is lacking. I’ve only not written for a day, so I’m not concerned. That book you are reading sounds fascinating. Keep up the great work.


  2. I have that book! I love what you wrote here…I have to say Ms. alvaradofrazier, we have much in common! I too awake at 4 AM, and reach for one of many books stacked to my left on the bed. Usually a mix of books on writing, novels, and other non-fiction I’m studying. My well is dry when I have done too much, but can’t stop “working” which is really just being creative and keeping up with my personal commitments to write, read, cook, and make art. My life is full, to brimming over with it. I feel exhausted sometimes. Taking personal breaks is mandatory. Thank goodness for my son Ben. He has a film degree, and tells which movie to see this week…On Sundays I take myself to the movies, and shopping in Fort Collins. Such a nice release of stress, and relief from the demands I put on myself. I too describe myself as a mermaid. I will be positing my mermaid poetry soon…but it is hard to know what to do next…and with your inspiration, I now know what comes next.
    Thank you for your encouragement! You have been such a force in my life! Suzi


    1. Ah, Suzi, you’re a mermaid too! My friend Florencia loves mermaid poetry. Once you post I’ll have to ‘link’ up with you and share poems.
      I’m so glad these postings are meaningful to you. Tonight I’m going to go see Monument Men, I still need to drink from the well.


      1. Yes, we mermaids have stick together! Let’s do share poems! Oh, I am so thrilled!
        Monument Men has deep meaning for me, will see it on Sunday. I worked for an attorney in Bev Hills who had the largest collection of German art in the world. I lived with his collection every day, as his curator worked on the 7th floor. He is the man who inspired me to go back to college and study German art….the Art that Hitler deemed “Degenerate”. Well Mr. Rifkind purchased MOST of it in the 1950’s and 60’s. Those Monument men saved it!!! Anyhow, my first exhibition was based on German expressionist art and poetry because of his influence. I can’t wait to see it! The entire art collection is now encased in a special wing at the Los Angeles Museum of Art on Wilshire! People don’t understand the meaning of it….it’s not getting great reviews……But to me, The film must be terribly inspiring!


  3. I love The Right to Write. I read it last year (I think) as part of the WSS group on Goodreads. The well also got me. And it’s such a good excuse 😉 Sorry, not up for your party, I have to go tend my well. Leaves them mystified and I can go to the gallery or for a long walk in peace.
    A little fallow time never hurt anyone.
    Here’s hoping your well springs up full of creativity and ideas to spare! Maybe in time for Valentine’s? Lovely gift from the writer to herself. Peace of mind.


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